The role of actuality in Aristotle's first philosophy

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2014-05

Authors

Battiste, Brian

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Abstract

I show how Aristotle’s theory of the priority of actuality and his theory of non-correlative actuality help prepare the way for his own positive account of the separate, non-sensible substances. Aristotle argues that actuality is prior to potentiality in Metaphysics [Theta]8, and in particular that actuality is prior in substance and in a more authoritative kind of way. I show how both of these arguments are to be understood, and how the more authoritative kind of priority (which is not substantial priority, as usually thought) is again appealed to in Metaphysics [Lamda]6 in order to draw important inferences about the primary principles. I also show how the theory of non-correlative actuality used in [Theta]8 is, just like the more authoritative kind of priority, again applied in [Lamda]6 in parallel kinds of ways. It turns out that the traditional interpretation which ascribes the notion of “pure actuality” to Aristotle is mistaken, and this comes to light once Aristotle’s theory of non-correlative actuality is properly understood and the texts are properly interpreted.

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