Entelechy

Entelechy (Gk. ἐντελέχια) is a philosophical concept of Aristotle that was later adopted by the biological thinker Hans Driesch. From "en" (in), "telos" (end, or purpose) and "echein" (to have), Aristotle coined it to denote "having one's end within", therefore, that something's essential potential is being fully actualised. [ [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entelechy entelechy - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary ] ]

Classical Philosophy

In Aristotle's "Metaphysics", the concept is contrasted with "energeia". "Entelecheia" is in some way perpetually "becoming itself" yet never reaching the goal of that "becoming" (and were it to do so, the entelechy would, by definition, cease to exist).

An individual's life can in many ways be regarded as beholden to various simultaneous and overlapping entelechies, for example, the life trajectories imposed by the biological limitations, our mortality, the norms and expectations of family and/or society, and the individual's ego-ideal. Externally imposed "entelecheia" and fantasized but unrealized entelchia can both be sources of frustration.

Societies can also be said to embody entelechia in their cultures; religious views, collective senses of entitlement, "mission" or "mandate" and even in their very languages. Societies/cultures sensing that their entelechial trajectory is reaching its terminus (i.e., sensing they are in decline) or that this trajectory has been deflected from its "proper" path by illegitimate forces - either internal or external - may exhibit violently irrational or even self-destructive reactions.

Modern Philosophy

In German Idealism, entelechy may denote a force propelling one to self-fulfillment. The concept had occupied a central position in the metaphysics of Leibniz, and is closely related to his monadology in the sense that each sentient entity contains its own entire universe within it. Entelechy is also referred to by Hegel in "The Phenomenology of Mind".Fact|date=May 2008

In the biological vitalism of Hans Driesch, living things develop by "entelechy", a common purposive and organising field. Leading vitalists like Driesch argued that many of the basic problems of biology cannot be solved by a philosophy in which the organism is simply considered a machine. [Mayr E (2002) "The Walter Arndt Lecture: The Autonomy of Biology", adapted for the internet, on [http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/e01_2/autonomy.htm] ]

Aspects and applications of the concept of entelechy have been explored by the American critic and philosopher Kenneth Burke (1897-1993) whose concept of the "terministic screen" illustrates his thought on the subject.

ee also

*ontology
*ousia
*hypostasis
*physics

Bibliography

*Energeia And Entelecheia: "Act" in Aristotle by George Alfred Blair University of Ottawa Press ISBN-13: 978-0776603643
*Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon by Francis Peters NYU Press ISBN-13: 978-0814765524

References

External links

* [http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/e5.htm Online Philosophy Dictionary]


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  • Entelechy — En*tel e*chy, n. [L. entelechia, Gr. ?, prob. fr. ? ? ? to be complete; ? + ? completion, end + ? to have or hold.] (Peripatetic Philos.) An actuality; a conception completely actualized, in distinction from mere potential existence. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • entelechy — c.1600, from Gk. entelekheia, from en in (see EN (Cf. en ) (2)) + telei, dative of telos perfection (see TELE (Cf. tele )) + ekhein to have (see SCHEME (Cf. scheme) (n.)). In Aristotle …   Etymology dictionary

  • entelechy — [en tel′i kē] n. pl. entelechies [ME entelechia < L < Gr entelecheia, actuality < en telei echein < en, in + telei, dat. of telos, end, completion + echein, to hold: see SCHEME] 1. in Aristotelian philosophy, the actualization of… …   English World dictionary

  • entelechy — entelechial /en teuh lek ee euhl/, adj. /en tel euh kee/, n., pl. entelechies. 1. a realization or actuality as opposed to a potentiality. 2. (in vitalist philosophy) a vital agent or force directing growth and life. [1595 1605; < LL entelechia < …   Universalium

  • entelechy — (Gk., to have perfection) In Aristotle, the realization of the potential of a thing, or the mode of being of a thing whose essence is fully realized, as opposed to being merely potential. In later usages the entelechy became treated as the… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • entelechy — noun (plural chies) Etymology: Late Latin entelechia, from Greek entelecheia, from entelēs complete (from en 2en + telos end) + echein to have more at telos, scheme Date: 1593 1. the actualization of form giving cause as contrasted with potential …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • entelechy — n.; pl. chies [Gr. en, in; telos, end; echein, to hold] 1. An actuality or realization as opposed to potentiality. 2. A vital force or agent directing growth and life …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • entelechy — noun /ɛnˈtɛləki/ a) The complete actualization and final form of a potency or potentiality, or of a conception. b) The final form as already in the potency or matter, and awaiting actualization …   Wiktionary

  • entelechy —  The act of changing from potential to actual, or a kind of vital force for living things …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • entelechy — [ɛn tɛləki, ɪn ] noun (plural entelechies) Philosophy 1》 the realization of potential. 2》 the supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system. Origin ME: via late L. from Gk entelekheia (used by …   English new terms dictionary


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