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[1013a] [1] (b) The point from which each thing may best come into being; e.g., a course of study should sometimes be begun not from what is primary or from the starting-point of the subject, but from the point from which it is easiest to learn. (c) That thing as a result of whose presence something first comes into being; e.g., as the keel is the beginning of a ship, and the foundation that of a house, and as in the case of animals some thinkers suppose the heart1 to be the "beginning," others the brain,2 and others something similar, whatever it may be. (d) That from which, although not present in it, a thing first comes into being, and that from which motion and change naturally first begin, as the child comes from the father and mother, and fighting from abuse. (e) That in accordance with whose deliberate choice that which is moved is moved, and that which is changed is changed; such as magistracies, authorities, monarchies and despotisms.(f) Arts are also called "beginnings,"3 especially the architectonic arts. (g) Again, "beginning" means the point from which a thing is first comprehensible, this too is called the "beginning" of the thing; e.g. the hypotheses of demonstrations. ("Cause" can have a similar number of different senses, for all causes are "beginnings.")

It is a common property, then, of all "beginnings" to be the first thing from which something either exists or comes into being or becomes known; and some beginnings are originally inherent in things, while others are not. [20] Hence "nature" is a beginning, and so is "element" and "understanding" and "choice" and "essence" and "final cause"—for in many cases the Good and the Beautiful are the beginning both of knowledge and of motion.

"Cause" means: (a) in one sense, that as the result of whose presence something comes into being—e.g. the bronze of a statue and the silver of a cup, and the classes4 which contain these; (b) in another sense, the form or pattern; that is, the essential formula and the classes which contain it—e.g. the ratio 2:1 and number in general is the cause of the octave—and the parts of the formula.(c) The source of the first beginning of change or rest; e.g. the man who plans is a cause, and the father is the cause of the child, and in general that which produces is the cause of that which is produced, and that which changes of that which is changed. (d) The same as "end"; i.e. the final cause; e.g., as the "end" of walking is health.For why does a man walk? "To be healthy," we say, and by saying this we consider that we have supplied the cause. (e) All those means towards the end which arise at the instigation of something else, as, e.g. fat-reducing, purging, drugs and instruments are causes of health;

1 This was Aristotle's own view,Aristot. De Gen. An. 738b 16.

2 So Plato held,Plat. Tim. 44 d.

3 As directing principles.

4 sc. of material—metal, wood, etc.

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