Indeed, many philosophical interpretations of possibility are related to a famous passage on Aristotle's On Interpretation , concerning the truth of the statement: "There will be a sea battle tomorrow". In philosophy, Potentiality and Actuality are principles of a dichotomy which Aristotle used throughout his philosophical works to analyze motion, causality, ethics, and physiology in his Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics and De Anima (which is about the human psyche). , The active intellect was a concept Aristotle described that requires an understanding of the actuality-potentiality dichotomy. It is a short text which presents, in some 90 paragraphs, a metaphysics of simple substances, or monads. , However, there was an adaptation of at least one aspect of Aristotle's proposals which has become part of modern physics. Motion is therefore "the actuality of any potentiality insofar as it is still a potentiality". This is an aspect of Aristotle's theory of four causes and specifically of formal cause (eidos, which Aristotle says is energeia) and final cause (telos). It stems from a verb related to possession or "having", and Jacob Klein, for example, translates it as "possession". . Noble, D. (2016). This stronger sense is mainly said of the potentials of living things, although it is also sometimes used for things like musical instruments. Using the term in ways that could translated as "vigor" or "energy" (in a more modern sense); for society, "practice" or "custom"; for a thing, "operation" or "working"; like vigor in action. That which is potential can theoretically be made actual by taking the right action; for example, a boulder on the edge of a cliff has potential to being pushed over the cliff that could be actualized by a pushing it over the edge of the cliff. For example, "sometimes we say that those who can merely take a walk, or speak, without doing it as well as they intended, cannot speak or walk". A potentiality is also determinate, meaning that it is the potential for a particular actuality and cannot realize some other actuality. . , Already in Aristotle's own works, the concept of a distinction between energeia and dunamis was used in many ways, for example to describe the way striking metaphors work,  or human happiness. Aristotle's concept of actuality and potentiality is striking for two reasons; its disarming simplicity, and following that its place as a fundamental to understanding many of his other theories. English words such as "understanding" are sometimes used, but three commonly used philosophical terms come directly from classical languages: νοῦς or νόος, intellēctus and intellegentia. Polybius about 150 BC, in his work the Histories uses Aristotle's word energeia in both an Aristotelian way and also to describe the "clarity and vividness" of things. Going further into modern times, while the understanding of nature, and according to some interpretations deity, implied by the dichotomy lost importance, the terminology has found new uses, developing indirectly from the old. In 1890 The Century Dictionary of the English Language devoted two columns to definitions of potential and potentiality — many of them written by Charles Peirce. Being is a concept encompassing objective and subjective features of reality and existence.  It is the source of the modern word "energy" but the term has evolved so much over the course of the history of science that noting the etymology of the modern term is not very helpful in understanding the original as used by Aristotle. , Plotinus was a late classical pagan philosopher and theologian whose monotheistic re-workings of Plato and Aristotle were influential amongst early Christian theologians. A soul, or spirit, according to Leibniz, can be understood as a type of entelechy (or living monad) which has distinct perceptions and memory. In philosophy, potentiality and actuality  are a pair of closely connected principles which Aristotle used to analyze motion, causality, ethics, and physiology in his Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics and De Anima, which is about the human psyche. Instead of physical things having their own tendencies, like the entelechies of Aristotle, Leibniz said that instead, force, power, or motion itself could be transferred between things of different types, in such a way that there is a conservation of this energy. The word is a 19th-century term formed from the Greek words ὕλη hyle, "wood, matter", and μορφή, morphē, "form". the capacity to heat and the capacity to play the flute, respectively), pointing out that the latter require desire or deliberate choice for their actualization. The term is used in a wide variety of fields, from physics to the social sciences to indicate things that are in a state where they are able to change in ways ranging from the simple release of energy by objects to the realization of abilities in people. Tell Me, What is the Difference Between Actuality and Potentiality? A Letter to M. Remond de Montmort, containing Remarks on the Book of Father Tertre against Father Malebranche". It includes the questions of how entities are grouped into basic categories and which of these entities exist on the most fundamental level. Sachs therefore proposed a complex neologism of his own, "being-at-work-staying-the-same". Using the term in ways that could translated as "vigor" or "energy" (in a more modern sense); for society, "practice" or "custom"; for a thing, "operation" or "working"; like vigor in action. While this has not become a consensus, it has been described as having become "orthodox".  Because of this style of reasoning, Aristotle is often referred to as having a teleology, and sometimes as having a theory of forms. The interpretation of Kosman, Coope, Sachs and others, The importance of actuality in Aristotle's philosophy, Essence-energies debate in medieval Christian theology, Entelecheia in modern philosophy and biology, «'Powers that Be': The Concept of Potency in Plato and Aristotle», https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E1%BC%94%CF%81%CE%B3%CE%BF%CE%BD#Ancient_Greek, https://biblicalgreek.org/grammar/vocabulary-frequency-list/, https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/dunamis.html, https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/ergon.html, "Gregory Palamas: An Historical Overview", "Change and its Relation to Actuality and Potentiality", "Leibniz's Theoretical Shift in the Phoranomus and Dynamica de Potentia", "Aristotle: Motion and its Place in Nature", "The Internet Classics Archive - Aristotle, "Once he has reached the other side of the room, his potentiality to be there has been actualized in Ross’ sense of the term". Dance to the tune of life: Biological relativity. This has been referred to as one of "the most intensely studied sentences in the history of philosophy". "A Note on Aristotle: Categories 6a 15". The mythological concept of primordial Chaos is also classically associated with a disordered prime matter (see also prima materia ), which, being passive and full of potentialities, would be ordered in actual forms, as can be seen in Neoplatonism, especially in Plutarch, Plotinus, and among the Church Fathers,  and the subsequent medieval and Renaissance philosophy, as in Ramon Lllull's Book of Chaos  and John Milton's Paradise Lost. All beings, simply as beings, are beings either in actuality or potentiality. In a more recent paper on this subject, Kosman associates the view of Aquinas with those of his own critics, David Charles, Jonathan Beere, and Robert Heineman. Modal logic as an named subject owes much to the writings of the Scholastics, in particular William of Ockham and John Duns Scotus, who reasoned informally in a modal manner, mainly to analyze statements about essence and accident. Pleasure is an energeia of the human body and mind whereas happiness is more simply the energeia of a human being a human. 5, 430a10-25) and covered similar ground in his Metaphysics (book 12, ch.7-10). The Physics is a named text, written in ancient Greek, collated from a collection of surviving manuscripts known as the Corpus Aristotelicum, attributed to the 4th-century BC philosopher Aristotle. Greek for end in this sense is telos, a component word in entelecheia (a work that is the proper end of a thing) and also teleology. In a sense, a thing that exists potentially does not exist, but the potential does exist. Cambridge University Press. . In his Enneads he sought to reconcile ideas of Aristotle and Plato together with a form of monotheism, that used three fundamental metaphysical principles, which were conceived of in terms consistent with Aristotle's energeia/dunamis dichotomy, and one interpretation of his concept of the Active Intellect (discussed above):-, This was based largely upon Plotinus' reading of Plato, but also incorporated many Aristotelian concepts, including the unmoved mover as energeia. . These concepts, in modified forms, remained very important into the middle ages, influencing the development of medieval theology in several ways. , The concept of potentiality, in this context, generally refers to any "possibility" that a thing can be said to have. If someone thinks that they can be turned into something relevant to the subject of potentiality and actuality coherent, which is not already covered in other parts of the article, then maybe one day they can return. Sachs (2005) lists three major interpretations: 1. The principal subject is "being qua being," or being insofar as it is being. However Diodorus uses the term to denote qualities unique to individuals. Aristotle discusses motion (kinēsis) in his Physics quite differently from modern science. The unmoved mover or prime mover is a concept advanced by Aristotle as a primary cause or "mover" of all the motion in the universe. "As 'a science of power and action', dynamics arises when Leibniz proposes an adequate architectonic of laws for constrained, as well as unconstrained, motions.". Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. In contrast, entelecheia, in the form of "entelechy" is a word used much less in technical senses in recent times. . The potentiality to see exists sometimes as active or at-work, and sometimes as inactive or latent. As mentioned above, the concept had occupied a central position in the metaphysics of Leibniz, and is closely related to his monadology in the sense that each sentient entity contains its own entire universe within it. Aristotelian theology and the scholastic view of God have been influential in Western intellectual history. Aristotelian ideas have in the past been applied with mixed fortunes to quantum mechanics. Potentiality and Actuality. pp 53, 198, 210, 277. A soul, or spirit, according to Leibniz, can be understood as a type of entelechy (or living monad) which has distinct perceptions and memory. See below. For Leibniz, like Aristotle, this law of nature concerning entelechies was also understood as a metaphysical law, important not only for physics, but also for understanding life and the soul. "selfish gene"). While there are cases in which classifying a "cause" is difficult, or in which "causes" might merge, Aristotle held that his four "causes" provided an analytical scheme of general applicability. Leibniz's study of the "entelechy" now known as energy was a part of what he called his new science of "dynamics", based on the Greek word dunamis and his understanding that he was making a modern version of Aristotle's old dichotomy. Aristotle's logical work in this area is considered by some to be an anticipation of modal logic and its treatment of potentiality and time. The actuality-potentiality distinction in Aristotle is a key element linked to everything in his physics and metaphysics. In terms of Aristotle's theory of four causes, a material's non-accidental potential, is the material cause of the things that can come to be from that material, and one part of how we can understand the substance (ousia, sometimes translated as "thinghood") of any separate thing. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion. St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, elaborated on the unmoved mover in the Quinque viae. In terms of Aristotle's theory of four causes, a material's non-accidental potential, is the material cause of the things that can come to be from that material, and one part of how we can understand the substance ( ousia , sometimes translated as "thinghood") of any separate thing. The being-at-work-staying-itself of a potency (dunamis), as material, is thinghood. Joe Sachs renders it with the phrase "being–at–work" and says that "we might construct the word is-at-work-ness from Anglo-Saxon roots to translate energeia into English". For the film genre, see, "Dunamis" redirects here. Thus plants have the capacity for nourishment and reproduction, the minimum that must be possessed by any kind of living organism. But Leibniz' use of this concept influenced more than just the development of the vocabulary of modern physics. This is a type of. 78–79), in his commentary of Aristotle's Physics book III gives the following results from his understanding of Aristotle's definition of motion: The genus of which motion is a species is being-at-work-staying-itself (entelecheia), of which the only other species is thinghood. [cite book | author=Various |authorlink=Universal House of Justice |… … Wikipedia, We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. It examines what can be asserted about any being insofar as it is and not because of any special qualities it has. For other uses, see, The importance of actuality in Aristotle's philosophy, Essence-energies debate in medieval Christian theology, Entelecheia in modern philosophy and biology. The following is from the De Anima, translated by Joe Sachs, with some parenthetic notes about the Greek. 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