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Francis Garden - 1878 - Table of contents

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden

Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

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Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

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Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
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Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy





Entelechy. The potential has two opposites according to the matter in hand, action or operation, and existence. Aristotle seems to have intended to denote the former by ἐνέργεια, and the latter by ἐντελέχεια. Energies, he tells us, tend to entelechies.(1) Entelechy may therefore, especially when we consider the formation of the word, be rendered complete existence.(2) The soul is defined by Aristotle "the first entelechy of a body having potential life."


But Aristotle does not adhere to whatever distinction he may have proposed to make between energy and entelechy. The former he says is not confined to movement, but includes repose. God everlastingly enjoys one pure and simple pleasure. For there is an energy not only of movement, but also of repose.(3) Again, God is οὐσία ᾀΐδιος καὶ ἐνέργεια ᾄνευ δυνάμεως. God is eternal substance and energy (act) apart from potentiality.

The meaning assigned to entelechy by Sir A. Grant seems the right one. The word, however, has been variously interpreted. Cicero, who may be thought to have confounded it with ἐνδελέχεια, explains it as meaning quandam quasi continuatam motionem et perennem.(4) Melancthon writes it endelechy, says it means continuitas, and vindicates Cicero's interpretation. It will, however, I suppose be admitted that ἐνδελέχεια and ἐντελέχεια are quite different words.

Bishop Hermolius Barbarus is said to have consulted the devil in order to find the meaning of the latter. He translated it literally perfectihabia.

Leibnitz calls his monads entelechies, as being each a perfected existence. The word is little used.


(1) Metaph. VIII. 8, 11.

(2) Sir A. GRANT, Arist. Eth. vol. I. p. 234, 3rd ed.

(3) Nic. Eth. IV. 9, 5.

(4) Tusc. Quœst. I. quæst. 1.



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