Metaphysics

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By Stephen Makin

Stephen Makin provides a transparent and actual new translation of an influential and much-discussed a part of Aristotle's philosophical process, observed by means of an analytical and demanding observation concentrating on philosophical matters. In e-book Theta of the Metaphysics Aristotle introduces the suggestions of reality and potentiality--which have been to stay vital to philosophical research into the trendy era--and explores the excellence among the particular and the potential.

Part of the Clarendon Aristotle sequence.

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Extra info for Aristotle: Metaphysics Theta: Translated with an Introduction and Commentary

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And then for as many things as have [the origin] in themselves, [they are potentially] through themselves, whenever nothing external is interfering; for example, the seed is not yet [potentially a man] (for it needs to fall∗ in something else and change), but when through 15 its own origin it is already such a character, it is then potentially this; but the former needs a different origin, just as earth is not yet potentially a statue (for it must have been changed to become bronze). It seems that what we call not this, but thaten—for example, we call the box not wood but wooden, and the wood not earth but 20 earthen, and again in the case of the earth if it is in this way, not something else, but thaten—that is always without qualification potentially the next thing.

But because something of what is coming to be has come to be and in general something of what is changing has changed (this is clear in the discussions about change) the learner too must perhaps have something of the knowledge. But at all events it is also clear from this too that actuality is prior in this way to potentiality also, namely in respect of coming to be and time. But indeed actuality is prior in substance too, first because things posterior in coming to be are prior in form and in substance (for example, adult to boy and man to seed; for the one already has the 10 8 translation 1050b form, the other does not), and because everything that comes to be proceeds to an origin and an end (for that for the sake of which is an origin, and the coming to be is for the sake of the end), and the actuality is an end, and the potentiality is acquired for the sake of this.

In so far as Aristotle’s discussion of active and passive capacities in Θ1–5 is a consideration of a clear exemplar of the potentiality–actuality relation, he could just as appropriately have considered natures and the changes they give rise to. In fact, though, Aristotle says very little in Θ about natures as origins of change. g. Θ3, 1047a 7–10, Θ5, 1047b 31–2, Θ6, 1048b 1–2, Θ8, 1050a 10–11). But it is rare for Aristotle’s argument to turn on a point about natures (Θ1, 1046a 28–9, a corollary drawn concerning self-change; Θ7, 1049a 13–18, the account of what it is for something to be potentially is applied to the case of natures; Θ8, 1049b 5–10, and 1051a 2–3, a conclusion about priority is generalized to both capacities and natures; Θ8, 1050a 17–19, a conclusion is applied explicitly to natures).

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