Toward a Dynamic Conception of ousia

The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 3:177-185 (1998)
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Abstract

This paper is an initial attempt to develop a dynamic conception of being which is not anarchic. It does this by returning to Aristotle in order to begin the process of reinterpreting the meaning of ousia, the concept according to which western ontology has been determined. Such a reinterpretation opens up the possibility of understanding the dynamic nature of ontological identity and the principles according to which this identity is established. The development of the notions of energeia, dynamis and entelecheia in the middle books of Aristotle’s Metaphysics will be discussed in order to suggest that there is a dynamic ontological framework at work in Aristotle’s later writing. This framework lends insight into the dynamic structure of being itself, a structure which does justice as much to the concern for continuity through change as it does to the moment of difference. The name for this conception of identity which affirms both continuity and novelty is "legacy." This paper attempts to apprehend the meaning of being as legacy.

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Christopher Long
Michigan State University

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