PATHMARKS


But "appropriate for" means: tailored to the appearance of a table, hence for that wherein the generating of the table - the movement - comes to its end. The change of the appropriate wood into a table consists in the fact that the very appropriateness of what is appropriated emerges more fully into view and reaches its fulfillment in the appearance of a table and thus comes to stand in the table that has been pro-duced, placed forth, i.e., into the unhidden. In the rest that goes with this standing (of what has attained its stand), the emerging appropriateness (δύναμις) of the appropriate (δυνάμει) gathers itself up and "has" itself (ἔχει) as in its end (τέλος). Therefore Aristotle says (Physics Γ 1, 201 b4f.): ἡ τοῦ δυνατοῦ, ᾗ δυνατόν ἐντελέχεια φανερὸν ὅτι κίνησίς ἐστιν: "The having-itself-in-its-end of what is appropriate as something appropriate (i.e., in its appropriateness) is clearly (the essence of) movedness."

But generation is this kind of generation - i.e., κίνησις in the narrower sense of movement as opposed to rest - only insofar as that which is appropriate has not yet brought its appropriateness to its end, and so is ἀ-τελές - that is, only insofar as the standing-in-the-work is not yet within its end. Accordingly Aristotle says (Physics, Γ 2, 201 b31f.), ἥ τε κίνησις ἐνέργεια μὲν τις εἶναί δοκεῖ, ἀτελὴς δέ "Movement does appear as [356] something like standing-in-the-work, but as not yet having come into its end."

But therefore having-itself-within-its-end (ἐντελέχεια) is the essence of movedness (that is, it is the being of a moving being), because this repose most perfectly fulfills what οὐσία is: the intrinsically stable presencing in the appearance. Aristotle says this in his own way in a sentence we take from the treatise that deals explicitly with ἐντελέχεια (Metaphysics Θ 8, 1049 b5): φανερὸν ὅτι πρότερον ἐνέργεια δυνάμεώς ἐστιν: "Manifestly standing-in-the-work is prior to appropriateness for . . ." In this sentence Aristotle's thinking and pari passu Greek thinking, reaches its peak. But if we translate it in the usual way, it reads: "Clearly actuality is prior to potentiality." Ἐνέργεια, standing-in-the-work in the sense of presencing into the appearance, was translated by the Romans as actus, and so with one blow the Greek world was toppled. From actus, agere (to effect) came actualitas, "actuality." Δύναμις became potentia, the ability and potential that something has. Thus the assertion, "Clearly actuality is prior to potentiality" seems to be evidently in error, for the contrary is more plausible. Surely in order for something to be "actual" and to be able to be "actual," it must first be possible. Thus, potentiality is prior to actuality. But if we reason this way, we are not thinking either with Aristotle or with the Greeks in general. Certainly δύναμις also means "ability" and it can be used as the word for "power," but when Aristotle employs δύναμις as the opposite concept to ἐντελέχεια


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Martin Heidegger (GA 9) On the Essence and Concept of Φύσις in Aristotle's Physics B, I