Formal Causes: Definition, Explanation, and Primacy in Socratic and Aristotelian Thought

Michael T. Ferejohn

Ferejohn, professor of philosophy and classical studies, presents an original interpretation of key themes in Aristotle's classic works. The principal historical thesis of this work is that Aristotle's commendation of the historical Socrates for "being the first to pursue universal definitions" is explainable in part by his own attraction to the "formal cause" (or definition-based) mode of explanation as providing justification for scientific knowledge.