Potentiality vs. Actuality

Potentiality vs. Actuality
Noumenan
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Posted Jan 1, 2010 - 9:57 PM:
Subject: Potentiality vs. Actuality
Do the principles have being in potentiality or in actuality?

Thesis; if they have being in actuality, there must be something prior to the principles, namely their potentiality, since potentiality precedes actuality.

Antithesis; if the principles have being in potentiality, everything which is could not be, since what is not yet has being only in potentiality.
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Posted Jan 2, 2010 - 6:31 PM:

When we say something is potential we mean it has a nonzero probability of occurance. WIthin the context of infinity all potentialities are actual somewhere in ontological space. If something can actually exist than it is already existing. Of course, I don't mean all logical possibilities are actual in our universe, but only that they are actual for the inhabitants of at least one other universe.
jedaisoul
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Posted Jan 3, 2010 - 6:46 AM:

Noumenan wrote:
Do the principles have being in potentiality or in actuality?

Thesis; if they have being in actuality, there must be something prior to the principles, namely their potentiality, since potentiality precedes actuality.

Antithesis; if the principles have being in potentiality, everything which is could not be, since what is not yet has being only in potentiality.

Please define "the principles", "have being" and "actuality". It is not clear to me what you mean by these terms...
Noumenan
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Posted Jan 3, 2010 - 7:09 AM:

I apologize for not being specific enough, I suppose the wording of the paradox is complicated.

The principles - underlying principles of existence.

Have being - exist in/'have their roots in'.

Actuality - whereas potentiality is an egg, actuality is a chicken.
jedaisoul
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Posted Jan 3, 2010 - 7:40 AM:

Noumenan wrote:
I apologize for not being specific enough, I suppose the wording of the paradox is complicated.
The principles - underlying principles of existence.
Have being - exist in/'have their roots in'.
Actuality - whereas potentiality is an egg, actuality is a chicken.

Eggs and chickens are real physical entities. The "underlying principles of existence" do not exist in the sense that eggs and chickens do. Hence how are the terms "potential" and "actuality", in the manner you have defined them, relevant to the "underlying principles of existence"?

Why do you refer to this as a paradox?
Noumenan
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Posted Jan 3, 2010 - 8:09 AM:

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at - the chicken and egg were simple examples of how an egg has the potential to become a chicken, I was not referring to them as relevant to underlying principles of being.

Potentiality and Actuality - basically I'm asking whether being came originally from the potential to exist or from existing itself.

And as far as my knowledge goes, I believe this to be a paradox in that there are two opposing solutions, neither of which can be justly claimed to be the superior.

If I may ask, could you please be a little more constructive in the way you criticize as I'm rather new to philosophy.
jedaisoul
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Posted Jan 3, 2010 - 12:31 PM:

Noumenan wrote:
If I may ask, could you please be a little more constructive in the way you criticize as I'm rather new to philosophy.

I'm trying to. I genuinely did not understand the OP. So I could have simply ignored it as nonsense. Instead I'm trying to help.

Noumenan wrote:
And as far as my knowledge goes, I believe this to be a paradox in that there are two opposing solutions, neither of which can be justly claimed to be the superior.

That is not a paradox, in my understanding of the term. A paradox is where a single agument leads to two incompatible conclusions. It is not where two arguments lead to different conclusions.

Noumenan wrote:
Potentiality and Actuality - basically I'm asking whether being came originally from the potential to exist or from existing itself.

Ok I understand.

Lets examine the statement:

Noumenan wrote:
Thesis; if they have being in actuality, there must be something prior to the principles, namely their potentiality, since potentiality precedes actuality.

This is an unsupported assertion. What reason is there to accept that "potentiality precedes actuality" is generally true? Also, even if it is true in general, what makes it an absolute rule? I would suggest that this statement is simply an act of belief. There is no reason to believe it is true.

That said, I think that there is a better argument against it. I think the answer lies in asking what potential is? Potential is an abstract concept. We abstract it from reality. If that is so, "potential" did not exist until there were sentient beings (us) around. Since we know that the universe has existed for billions of years before we came along, that suggests that being preceded potential.
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Posted Jan 4, 2010 - 2:39 PM:

Maybe divide potential into two seperate categories? The null potential as well as 'the one that just hasn't happened.'?
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Posted Jan 6, 2010 - 11:05 PM:
Subject: Actual and Potential Lexicons
This neo-Aristotelian paradigm of potentiality and actuality seems an example of what Russell named 'categorical errors'. Scholastic method has faded away a bit to be supplanted with analytic philosophy enough that it is reasonable to use W.V.O. Quine's ontological relativity as a way of recognizing that many of our questions pertain to our cognitive constructions rather than to things-in-themselves.

The lexical ontology wherein potential and actuality exist are word-referents corresponding to human use. There are some things in the 'empirical' experience with more reinforcement of object referent terminology than others. It is not a Platonic form that we are searching for in trying to define actuality or potential philosophically. It is not reasonable to suppose that actuality or potentiality necessarily exist outside of a word-game paradigm.

That existence is actual is plain enough--one must stipulate an axiom or two. Our effort moves toward an increasing awareness of what actually is as well as what actually 'works'. The effort discover what actually is of course has a simultaneous philosophical course of exploration along with the cognitive effort directed toward the given Universe. If the Universe is actually a ten dimensional hologram instead of physical dimensions there is a potential to discover that. The knowledge of what is true may or may not be known. Our opinion as Socrates pointed out may be true opinion. Our beliefs that our opinions are true may have the same effect on personal epistemology regardless of their veracity. About questions of life and values that are not immediately subject to inference through scientific method it takes some time to learn.

It is possible to move out of the analytic language paradigm whereby we answer questions logically and make the error of assuming that our abstract constructions model the physical realm invariably--logical validity is more a matter of tautaulogy or satisfaction of logical equation than observational report.

In the practical realm such as Pierce sought after the inflation of the Universe had in potential all that would ever become as this Universe so far as we know--there may be unknown extra-dimensional contributions or alteration after, or before all. The infinite nature of space-time in all directions permits knowledge and inference of a finite realm that reaches human cognition through a glass darkly.

While quantum uncertainty exists in order that the freedom of dimensions of temporality and structure may occur--duration of unit quanta of a Universe in variegated intervals inclusive of scale are meaningful for being comprise a simultaneous being and potential.

Instead of a realm of forms with incomplete, broken units and the perfect actualized materially, there is an experience of processes and events with temporal forms. If we want to know with Plato and Plotinus if eternal forms exist that points to The One for us as it did for those philosophers even if we use the non-mystical Hubble to view a deep field of galaxies 13.2 billion years of age some 600 to 800 billion years post inflaton commencement and read ideas of physical theorists regarding the Universe before a fraction of a centimeter bottleneck/near singularity.


Edited by garycgibson on Jan 6, 2010 - 11:20 PM
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