Aristotle on God: Divine Nous as Unmoved Mover

  • R. Michael Olson


Aristotle conceives of God as an unmoved mover, the primary cause responsible for the shapeliness of motion in the natural order, and as divine nous, the perfect actuality of thought thinking itself, which, as the epitome of substance, exercises its influence on natural beings as their final cause. These two aspects of God reflect the two defining aspects of Classical Greek Philosophy: the experience of the intelligibility of the natural order and the search for the first principle(s) responsible for its intelligibility, on the one hand, and the experience of nous both as the capacity to behold nature’s intelligibility and as the source of order in the human soul, soul itself being a source of shapely motion in the natural order. This article comments on each of these aspects of Aristotle’s conception of God, indicating that he finds evidence for his speculative-metaphysical conception in the experience of the rational soul.


Natural Order Natural Thing Efficient Causation Human Intellect Shapely Motion 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySaint Michael’s CollegeColchesterUSA

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