Potentiality and actuality

In philosophy are understood to have under entelechy ( entelecheia ) the property of something that his goal ( telos ) in itself. The term entelechy is composed of three components ( en- tel - echeia ): en ( in ), tel of telos ( goal ), echeia of echein ( have / hold).

The term was, 8 introduced by Aristotle in Metaphysics IX ( see also act and potency ). It refers to the form that is realized in fabric, particularly in terms of the organism inherent force that brings him to self -realization.

In substance, the concept of entelechy occurs wherever teleological thought prevails, as in Thomas Aquinas, in the monads of Leibniz, Goethe and vitalism, especially in Driesch.

  • 2.1 entelechy and energy

Term Meaning

The term may be interpreted in various ways.

Entelechy as maturity shape

In this interpretation entelechy means an individual who has his goal in itself, that is a perfect single thing, an individual in the state of completion. For example, the butterfly is the entelechy of the caterpillar as the butterfly in relation to the caterpillar has reached the perfect shape.

Entelechy as those holding potential completion

Substituting the first two parts of words ( en- tel ) as Enteles ( completed ), it means entelechy as much as " the Perfected off", ie the ownership of of consummate skills that are in principle at any time. In this sense, entelechy referred a fortune of an individual, but not the individual himself For example, the butterfly possesses the ability to fly, therefore, able to fly / flying is the entelechy of the butterfly.

In this meaning can also be made between active and passive entelechy:

  • Active entelechy is a skill that can be exercised and thus corresponds to an action potential.
  • Passive entelechy is the ability to endure an external effect, and corresponds to a potential resistance, for example, the ability of a material to withstand the pressure.

Entelechy in Aristotle

The teleology, the doctrine of a target and purpose, had already developed Greek philosophers before Aristotle. He was therefore entitled to rely on the ideas of his predecessors as the Ionians, of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Socrates, or those of his teacher Plato.

Nevertheless, Aristotle is considered the founder of a specific teaching purpose, as he developed the general teleological thoughts on the immanent teleology. He believed that the pursuit of the organisms had not been introduced from outside, but rather in themselves have their origin and was anchored there. The fact that he transferred the general teleology on the image of the organism, so he founded the entelechy: A " every living thing carries the object and purpose in himself and unfolds his inner sense of purpose in accordance with this. " Only if it unfolds according to this natural, predetermined disposition, he will succeed to attain eudaimonia. Thus, self-realization is also a prerequisite for a happy, successful life. The purpose of a living being, therefore, is " to be realized in the whole range of his possibilities."

This phenomenon of self-realization rendered Aristotle then at his picture the whole of nature. They also aspire to achieve and to perfect. For this " urge to Vervollkommenheit " resultiere both the vibrancy and beauty of nature.

Entelechy and energy

The entelechy - phrase stands for Aristotle, therefore, closely related to the energy term. Energeia is another marked by Aristotle portmanteau of the word elements en einai Ergo ( in his work ). It refers to the vivid effectiveness in contrast to dynamis, of mere power or ability. Both terms, energy and entelechy, represent aspects of form - concept: The form ( eidos ) is firstly and energy as she closes the efficient cause in itself. The form is also the entelechy secondly, insofar as it includes the purpose of the activity.