Capacity and Potentiality: Aristotle's Metaphysics Θ.6–7 from the Perspective of the De Anima

Topoi 31 (2):209-220 (2012)
The notion of a capacity ( dunamis ) in the sense of a power to bring about or undergo change plays a key role in Aristotle’s theories about the natural world. However, in Metaphysics Θ Aristotle also extends ‘capacity’, and the corresponding concept of ‘activity’ ( energeia ), to cases where we want to say that something is in capacity, or in activity, such and such but not, or not directly, in virtue of being capable of initiating or undergoing change. This paper seeks to clarify and confirm a certain view of how Aristotle wishes us to see the relationship between the two uses of ‘capacity’ and ‘activity’. To that end, I consider also Aristotle’s employment of the terms in the De Anima , which sheds light on the key examples which direct the discussion in Metaph. Θ.
Keywords Capacity (dunamis)  Activity (energeia)  Fulfilment (entelekheia)  Change  Body-soul relationship  Instrument  Teleology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11245-011-9115-6
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
M. F. Burnyeat (2002). "De Anima" II 5. Phronesis 47 (1):28 - 90.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Pavel Gregorić & Filip Grgić (2006). Aristotle's Notion of Experience. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 88 (1):1-30.
Nicholas Denyer (2000). Aristotle on Modality, II. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 74 (1):163–178.
Stephen Makin (2000). Aristotle on Modality, I. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 74 (1):143–161.
Stephen Makin (2000). Aristotle on Modality: Stephen Makin. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 74 (1):143-161.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

83 ( #40,497 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #118,705 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.