§26. Movement as ἐντελέχεια τοῦ δυνάμει ὄντος [296–297]

producing, having-been-produced is a determinate mode of being-there—only when one sees that it is possible to see what movement is: the being-there of a being that is in its becoming-completed, but is not completed yet. ἐνέργεια is κίνησις, but not ἐντελέχεια. Κίνησις is a mode of being-there displayed in ἐνέργεια.

The expression ἐντελέχεια can be broken down into ἐντελές and ἔχειν (just like νουνέχεια, νουνεχής, νοῦν ἔχειν). Ἐντελὲς ἔχειν—with the suffix –ες omitted, ἐντελ(ες)έχεια. The peculiar thing is that the suffix is left out. Diels pointed out an analogous word-meaning: ἐντελόμισθος, in Demosthenes, “he who receives full pay”—ἐντελέχεια translated as “possession of completion.”38

It is important to bring the meaning of the expression back to the context in which it functions: clarification of beings with regard to their being. Ἐντελέχεια, the mode of being-there as maintaining-itself-in-being-completed. Ἐντελέχεια μόνον: that which only maintains itself in being-completed, such that it is what excludes every δύναμις; a completed being that is there, which is always already completed, which was never produced, which never would be but is simply present. That which excludes the possibility of having not been also excludes the possibility of ever disappearing. The present of such a being is not thought up, but is seen in the movement of the heavens, indeed seen; yet not simply in mere observation, but experienced in fear, even if, in the end, this being-that-is-always-there did not remain standing, vanished from the there.

β. στέρησις

Aristotle previously named both of these characters in Book 1, Chapter 8 of the Physics.39 At the same time, we see here the context in which both of these determinations, δύναμις and ἐνέργεια, stand with regard to the question concerning the number of ἀρχαί. Within this discussion, he finds that there must be three ἀρχαί. And he also discusses movement, saying that the definition of movement must come about without δύναμις and ἐνέργεια; and only by way of the ἀρχαί, just as Plato had defined it, but carried through in a fundamentally different way than Plato, with the help of στέρησις.40 Taking the consideration of this passage as an opening, we want to see the extent to which the category of στέρησις is, according to the origin of its meaning, caught up in the basic categories of movement, δύναμις and ἐνέργεια. (Book 1, Chapter 4 of the Nicomachean Ethics: discussion of the ἀγαθόν and the categories.)

Aristotle introduces the pre-giving of the being-characters with: ἔστι δή τι τὸ μὲν ἐντελεχείᾳ μόνον.41 “It is a way of being of one, in the sense of a pure being-present.” This must be translated: “It is in its genuine being.”

38. H. Diels, Etymologica, in Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung 47 (1916), pp. 193–210, here p. 203.

39. Phys. Α 8, 191 b 27 sqq.

40. Phys. Α 8, 191 a 12 sqq.

41. Phys. Γ 1, 200 b 26.

Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

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