material cause

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Source: Wikipedia contributors, ""Material Cause,"" Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 27, 2006).
Material Cause is a philosophical concept proposed by Aristotle which describes the material out of which something is composed. Thus the material cause of a table is wood, and the material cause of a car is rubber and steel.

Material cause is one of four ""causes"" suggested by Aristotle. Each of these ""causes"" was a different sense of the Greek word aition, which Aristotle thought was ambiguous and needed to be clarified. Unfortunately, cause in English is not unclear like aition in Greek is, and thus the use of cause can be confusing. Only one of the four ""causes"" (the efficient cause) approximates the concept expressed by the English word cause. It has been suggested that an English word of parallel ambiguity is the verb ""make"". Thus the Greek ""x is the aition of y"" can be rendered in English ""x makes a y"". In the case of material cause, we could say ""wood makes up a table"" or in the case of a car, we could say ""steel and rubber make up a car""