(in Aristotelian thought) the pattern that determines the form taken by something.
- ‘Aristotle then links essence with his theory of causes, being identified variously with its final cause and with its formal cause.’
- ‘The four aspects are the formal cause, the material cause, the efficient cause, and the final cause.’
- ‘Aristotle, however, does not regard efficient causes as radically different from material and formal causes.’
- ‘The formal cause of the city-state is its constitution (politeia).’
- ‘In fact, universals are formal causes in relation to their individuals, and individuals are material causes in relation to their universals.’