In John P. Lizza (ed.), Potentiality: Metaphysical and Bioethical Dimensions. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 29-48 (2014)

Mohan Matthen
University of Toronto, Mississauga
In this paper, I examine Aristotle's notion of potentiality as it applies to the beginning of life. Aristotle’s notion of natural kinēsis implies that we should not treat the entity at the beginning of embryonic development as human, or indeed as the same as the one that is born. This leads us to ask: When does the embryo turn into a human? Aristotle’s own answer to this question is very harsh. Bracketing the views that lead to this harsh answer, his theory of kinēsis still gives us reason for searching for a replacement answer. Aristotle’s own work unfortunately gives us no help in finding this answer.
Keywords Aristotle's theory of potentiality  Aristotle's embryology  Aristotle's physics  potentiality  beginning of life
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