Friday, August 19, 2011

The Prime Mover

In contemplating the aspects of Aristotle's Prime Mover, I have been trying to determine what we can know. The first is the obvious conclusion that it is not a composite because a composite is made up of something else which is the material cause of that thing. Since the Prime Mover can have no cause, it cannot be a composite. I quickly realized that pondering just the nature of the Prime Mover itself would get me no where. I had to ask if the Primer Mover could have specific attributes.

Can the Primer Mover have emotions? Emotions are responses to stimulus. We become angry because of some external cause. Something external to us causes our joy and our happiness. So that Prime Mover must be emotionless.

Can the Prime Mover be the Christian God? The Christian God is claimed to be a Trinity, a composite of three beings in one. Since the Prime Mover is not a composite, such a thing could not be possible. However, there is the possibility of multiple Prime Movers, each responsible for a different causal chain. If the three beings in God are separate and distinct Prime Movers, this could be possible with the three acting together as a composite called God. However, neither of the three could become or change into a human. A human is a composite and a Prime Mover is not a composite.


2 comments:

Friar Tuck said...

“I quickly realized that pondering just the nature of the Prime Mover itself would get me no where.”
Why is that? You just established the Prime Mover's absolute simplicity, which is key to understanding any thing further about the Prime Mover. If you like, we may, through reason alone, consider other attributes of the Prime Mover, without reliance on revelation.

“Christian God is claimed to be a Trinity, a composite of three beings in one.”
There are some important distinctions that need to be made here in order to clear this misunderstanding up, but this concerns not what can be achieved through reason, but on the gratuitous revelation of God. First, the Christian God is an absolute Unity of three person. This does not imply a composite of three beings. There is only one being and three persons. In Christian revelation, Jesus says that He and the Father are one, not separate beings.

“However, there is the possibility of multiple Prime Movers, each responsible for a different causal chain.”
As I tried to explain before, this is not the case. Given what the Prime Mover is, there cannot be more than one.
Let me present the argument again.
Assume that there are two Prime Movers (i.e. Unmoved Movers), A & B.
Either, A moves B, or A does not move B (these are the only possibilities).
If, A moves B, then B is not a Prime Mover, because it is moved by another, contradiction our initial assumption.
If, A does not move B, then A is not a Prime Mover, because there is something that is unmoved by A, which contradicts our first assumption.
Since, all possibilities are exhausted our first assumption must be false.
Therefore, there is only one Prime Mover.

Further, your suggestion that multiple Prime Movers would move different causal chains is a contradiction. A Prime Mover is the absolute Mover of the entirety of existence, this is what it means to be A PRIME Mover. If there were different causal chain which it was not the essential first cause, it would not be a Prime Mover, and there would be something else more essential.

“However, neither of the three could become or change into a human. A human is a composite and a Prime Mover is not a composite.”
Again, here we are moving away from what is known solely by reason and to revelation. However, since revelation is true, any objection to it can be defended again through reason. Here there is a pivotal distinction that is necessary. So, what you are suggesting is that the Prime Mover became man in His essence. However, Jesus did not give up his Divine nature to become man, He took on the nature of man, without mingling, confusion, or alteration. So, Jesus remains absolutely simply in His Divine nature, while participating in the nature or form of man.

Friar Tuck said...

If you are interested in further argumentation for the attributes for the Prime Mover there is this:
Summa Contra Gentiles: Book 1 God