Entelechy. The potential has two opposites according to the
matter in hand, action or operation, and existence. Aristotle seems to
have intended to denote the former by
ἐνέργεια, and the latter by
ἐντελέχεια. Energies, he tells us, tend to entelechies.(1) Entelechy may
therefore, especially when we consider the formation of the word, be
rendered complete existence.(2) The soul is defined by Aristotle "the
first entelechy of a body having potential life."
But Aristotle does not adhere to whatever distinction he may have
proposed to make between energy and entelechy. The former he says is not confined to
movement, but includes repose. God everlastingly enjoys one pure and
simple pleasure. For there is an energy not only of movement, but also
of repose.(3) Again, God is
ᾀΐδιος καὶ ἐνέργεια ᾄνευ δυνάμεως.
God is eternal substance and energy (act) apart from potentiality.
The meaning assigned to entelechy by Sir A. Grant seems the right one.
The word, however, has been variously interpreted. Cicero, who may be
thought to have confounded it with
ἐνδελέχεια, explains it as meaning
quandam quasi continuatam motionem et perennem.(4) Melancthon
writes it endelechy, says it means continuitas, and vindicates Cicero's
interpretation. It will, however, I suppose be admitted that
and ἐντελέχεια are quite different words.
Bishop Hermolius Barbarus is said to have consulted the devil in order
to find the meaning of the latter. He translated it literally
Leibnitz calls his monads entelechies, as being each a perfected
existence. The word is little used.
(1) Metaph. VIII. 8, 11.
(2) Sir A. GRANT, Arist. Eth. vol. I. p. 234, 3rd ed.
(3) Nic. Eth. IV. 9, 5.
(4) Tusc. Qust. I. quæst. 1.