4. Potentiality and actuality
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  1. Being in motion

   Heraclitus said that we do not bathe twice at the same river because water is different. According to this Greek philosopher you cannot say that something is, but is and is not. It is a thing and is stop being that thing to be another one, because it is changing, transforming.

   According to Parmenides being is and not being is not. It is impossible to be transition from being to not being and so there is no motion. Motion is apparent. In fact, being is unchangeable.

   Facing these opposite positions, Aristotle found out the right solution. He accepts that there is being and motion.

   There are two principles in being: potentiality and actuality. In every being there is something potential and something actual. The actual being: what really is, what already is. The potential being: what is not yet, but can be.

   We must not deny being nor motion. What exists in fact is being in motion, stay and change.

  A. Choose the right letter: a, b, c. (If the letter turns into red the answer is correct)

  1. Who said that we do not bathe twice in the same river?

    a. Aristotle
    b. Parmenides
    c. Heraclitus

 

  2. Who said that there is being and motion?

    a. Aristotle
    b. Parmenides
    c. Heraclitus

 

 3. Who said that being is and not being is not?

    a. Aristotle
    b. Parmenides
    c. Heraclitus

 

 4. Who said that being is changing, transforming?

    a. Aristotle
    b. Parmenides
    c. Heraclitus

 

 5. Who said that there is no motion in being? Aristotle, Parmenides, Heraclitus

    a. Aristotle
    b. Parmenides
    c. Heraclitus

 

 6. Who said that there is motion and being?

    a. Aristotle
    b. Parmenides
    c. Heraclitus

 

  2. Potentiality and actuality

   Every being is composed of two principles: potentiality and actuality. Potentiality is the capacity to do or receive something, and actuality is the fulfillment of potentiality. For instance, the chicken’s egg is at present (actually) an egg; but potentially is a chicken. The egg can become a chicken. Another example: a student is actually a student, but potentially can be a doctor or a lawyer or any other professional.

   Being moves but keeps being substantially the same. Being actually performs its own possibilities and discovers or updates gradually what was dormant in it.

  B. Choose the right letter: a, b, c.

  1. How many principles are there in being?

    a. Two
    b. three

 

  2. The capacity to be something new is

    a. actuality
    b. potentiality

 

 3. The fulfillment of potentiality is

    a. actuality
    b. potentiality

 

 4. An egg at present is

    a. actuality
    b. potentially (an egg)

 

 5. An egg can become a chicken. It is

    a. actuality
    b. potentially (a chicken)

 

 6. A student is a student. He is

    a. actuality
    b. potentially (a student)

 

  3. Relation between actuality and potentiality

   We can point out four relations:

   a) Actuality is worth more than potentiality. For instance: to be a doctor is worth more than to be a medical student; it is worth to be a chicken than to be an egg. That’s why it is said that actuality is perfection and potentiality imperfection..

   b) Potentiality is in order to a determined actuality. For instance: from a chicken egg cannot result a rabbit; a grain of wheat sown bears wheat, not a tree.

   c) c) Actuality is known prior to potentiality. We know that a chicken egg is potentially a chicken because previously we have seen chickens actually.

   d) d) Actuality is naturally prior to potentiality, due to the fact that actuality produces the change from potentiality to actuality. But in a particular subject (egg) potentiality or capacity is prior to actuality or fulfillment (chicken).

  C. Choose the right letter: a, b, c.

  1. Potentiality is in order to a determined

    a. potentiality
    b. actuality

 

  2. Actuality is naturally prior to

    a. potentiality
    b. actuality

 

 3. It is worth actuality than

    a. potentiality
    b. actuality

 

 4. What we know previously?

    a. potentiality
    b. actuality

 

 5. What is perfection?

    a. potentiality
    b. actuality

 

 6. What comes naturally first?

    a. potentiality
    b. actuality

 

  4. Consequences

   Men (male or female) are able to do a lot of things and are potentially able to develop their aptitudes, tendencies, etc. to get good and happiness for themselves and for others.

   To do so they have to make an effort to acquire the higher perfection in developing their personality, school performance and future professional competence.





| Educational applications | Philosophy |  For young | In Spanish | Interactive |





®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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