Aristotle's Four Causes

Aristotle held that any contingent event (particularly a material event) was explainable in principle. That is, for Aristotle there are no uncaused contingent events in the universe. Much of his work in the Physics and Metaphysics is dedicated to articulating an exhaustive account of causation. He built on the work of Plato and the Natural Philosophers who had offered various theories to explain the observable universe. However, Aristotle believed all the previous accounts of causation were incomplete; they either failed to account for the rational element which explains order (nous) or they failed to account for the natural elements out of which order is formed (phusis). This commonly known as the hylomorphic composite, the explainable combination of matter (hulos) and form (morphos) that is the observable universe.

Aristotle attempts to bridge the seeming gap between mind and matter by synthesizing the previous accounts of causation into a single four-fold account:

According to Aristotle, to have knowledge of some event, to know a thing, is to fully grasp all four causes of the event/thing.