Aristotle (Actuality)


What a mess trying to sort through in English what Aristotle actually meant by “actuality.” Turns out he used two words, energeia and entelechia and these have been both translated in Latinized translations as actuality. Which is not helpful sorting through the difference. Joe Sachs translates them as “being-at-work” and “being-at-work-staying-itself,” respectively. His translation conveys the philosophical action of the work, but makes for awkward translation. My guess is that in de Anima, his book on the soul, entelechia represents gradations of more or less completed or perfect energeia. I  will correct this post if anyone who knows better tells me I’ve got the relation wrong.


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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3 Responses to Aristotle (Actuality)

  1. mghamner says:

    Sounds like Hegel’s expressive force, energeia, and “force proper” (or force withdrawn into itself), entelechia.

  2. Jon Awbrey says:

    A mashup in my mind of long ago readings leaves me with the sense that an entelechy is something like a homunculus — I have an especially striking mental image of the one in Faust — and that the original word means something like “end in itself” or “having its end in itself”.

    Cf: Inquiry Driven Systems • The Formative Tension

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