In The Challenge of Aristotle. Sofia, Bulgaria: Sofia University Press (2017)

Mark Sentesy
Pennsylvania State University
Of Aristotle’s core terms, potency (dunamis) and actuality (energeia) are among the most important. But when we attempt to understand what they mean, we face the following problem: their primary meaning is movement, as a source (dunamis) or as movement itself (energeia). We therefore have to understand movement in order to understand them. But the structure of movement is itself articulated using these terms: it is the activity of a potential being, as potent. This paper examines this hermeneutic circle, and works out a strategy for reading Aristotle based on his conception of our epistemological predicament. This hermeneutic approach helps us gain access to the phenomena of movement and its sources (potency, and energeia). The paper closes with a review of the conceptual resources we deploy to think about movement: homogeneity, space and time, impulse, relativity, the blend of sameness and difference, and being and non-being. Showing that Aristotle uses none of these clears the landscape for a fresh inquiry into his account of movement.
Keywords Aristotle  Physics  Metaphysics  Hermeneutics  actuality  potentiality  activity  potency  movement  Epistemology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Method of Philosophy: Making Distinctions.Robert Sokolowski - 1998 - Review of Metaphysics 51 (3):515 - 532.
.J. Sachs (ed.) - 1995 - Green Lion Press.
Making Distinctions.Robert Sokolowski - 1979 - Review of Metaphysics 32 (4):639 - 676.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Energeia and Dunamis.Stephen Makin - 2012 - In Christopher Shields (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle. Oup Usa. pp. 400.
Continuity and the Reality of Movement.John Francis Nieto - 1998 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
Los Sentidos Del Acto En Aristóteles.Ricardo Yepes Stork - 1992 - Anuario Filosófico 25 (3):493-512.


Added to PP index

Total views
201 ( #53,908 of 2,462,862 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
32 ( #26,919 of 2,462,862 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes