Aristotle - index for METAPHYSICA Book 9 Part 8

Actuality is prior to potency

Paragraph 1 From our discussion of the various senses of 'prior', it is clear that actuality is prior to potency.
Paragraph 2 (1) Clearly it is prior in formula;
Paragraph 3 (2) In time it is prior in this sense:
Paragraph 4 This is why it is thought impossible to be a builder if one has built nothing or a harper if one has never played the harp;
Paragraph 5 But (3) it is also prior in substantiality;
Paragraph 6 And while in some cases the exercise is the ultimate thing (e.g. in sight the ultimate thing is seeing, and no other product besides this results from sight), but from some things a product follows (e.g. from the art of building there results a house as well as the act of building), yet none the less the act is in the former case the end and in the latter more of an end than the potency is.
Paragraph 7 Where, then, the result is something apart from the exercise, the actuality is in the thing that is being made, e.g. the act of building is in the thing that is being built and that of weaving in the thing that is being woven, and similarly in all other cases, and in general the movement is in the thing that is being moved;
Paragraph 8 Obviously, therefore, the substance or form is actuality.
Paragraph 9 But (b) actuality is prior in a stricter sense also;
Paragraph 10 Imperishable things are imitated by those that are involved in change, e.g. earth and fire.
Paragraph 11 If, then, there are any entities or substances such as the dialecticians say the Ideas are, there must be something much more scientific than science-itself and something more mobile than movement-itself;
Paragraph 12 Obviously, then, actuality is prior both to potency and to every principle of change.

UPHOME HTML by RBJ created 1996/11/25 modified 2009/04/26