On Aristotle's Test for Energeia in Metaphysics Θ 6: The Tense-Aspect ReadingKyoungmin Cho
26th Annual Oxford Graduate Philosophy Conference
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford OX2 6GG
- Aristotelian Society
- Royal Institute of Philosophy
- Analysis Trust
- Faculty of Philosophy
In Metaphysics Θ 6, Aristotle presents the following test for distinguishing energeia from kinēsis: in the case of energeia, one is acting and has acted at the same time, whereas in the case of kinēsis, it is not the case that one is acting and has acted at the same time. Some interpreters argue that this Aristotle’s test for energeia is about the inference from an action statement in the present tense to the same action statement in the perfect tense. Other interpreters argue that Aristotle’s test must instead be of the inference between an action statement in the present tense and the same action statement in the perfective aspect. In this paper, I argue that if we properly understand the temporal and teleological nature of energeia, we can find that these two readings are indeed not incompatible. For energeia, an action statement in the present tense entails the same action statement in the perfect tense and the perfective aspect. This is because, I argue, energeia doesn’t occur in time: energeia is timeless in the sense that its completion is realized instantaneously. We can best understand this nature of energeia by recognizing that energeia is the actualization of the function (ergon) that generally holds for human beings as such.
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