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Potentiality from Aristotle to Rescher and Back

  • Jude P. Dougherty
Chapter
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series in Philosophy book series (PSSP, volume 15)

Abstract

Etienne Gilson once remarked that metaphysics has a way of burying its undertakers. Judging from the sparsity of literature on the subject, one would have thought that the notion of ‘potentiality’ had been laid to rest a long time ago. Even in those circles associated with classical metaphysical pursuits, few studies of the subject have appeared in the last twenty-five years. Prodding, then, came from a rather unexpected quarter as work in the philosophy of science moved from an early eulogistic approach through an evangelical stage with urged the use of empirical techniques in all areas, through a period of historical consciousness or even relativism to present efforts to understand what it means to have a scientific explanation. If your reading of the history of the philosophy of science is somewhat different, it will, nevertheless, probably not detract from my principal observation, namely, that the concept of ‘potentiality,’ and its attendant notion ‘possibility,’ is of more than passing interest in the philosophy of science, at least where efforts are being made to understand the structures of the things that the natural sciences investigate. In recent years, some of the most sophisticated work in the philosophy of science has appropriated certain key Aristotelian concepts, long thought abandoned in a post-Cartesian, post-Humean world.

Keywords

Causal Power Logical Possibility Conceptual Idealism Realist Perspective Historical Consciousness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Nicholas Rescher,Conceptual Idealism. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1973) and,4Theory of Possibility. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1975); R. Harr6 and H. Madden,Causal Powers. (Totowa, New Jersy: Rowman and Littlefield, 1975); David Weissman,Eternal Possibilities: A Neutral Ground for Meaning and Existence. ( Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  2. Nicholas Rescher,Conceptual Idealism. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1973) and,4Theory of Possibility. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1975); R. Harr6 and H. Madden,Causal Powers. (Totowa, New Jersy: Rowman and Littlefield, 1975); David Weissman,Eternal Possibilities: A Neutral Ground for Meaning and Existence. ( Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  3. Nicholas Rescher,Conceptual Idealism. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1973) and,4Theory of Possibility. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1975); R. Harré and E. H. Madden,Causal Powers. (Totowa, New Jersy: Rowman and Littlefield, 1975); David Weissman,Eternal Possibilities: A Neutral Ground for Meaning and Existence. ( Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  4. Nicholas Rescher,Conceptual Idealism. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1973) and,4Theory of Possibility. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1975); R. Harré and E. H. Madden,Causal Powers. (Totowa, New Jersy: Rowman and Littlefield, 1975); David Weissman,Eternal Possibilities: A Neutral Ground for Meaning and Existence. ( Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    C. S. Peirce, ‘Possibility,’Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology., 1901.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    G. W. V. Leibniz, ‘Reflections on Knowledge, Truth and Ideas,’Monadology and Other Essays., trans. P. and A. M. Schrencker ( Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965 ), pp. 7–8.Google Scholar
  7. 24.
    D. H. Mellor, ‘In Defense of Dispositions,’ pp. 55–76 and Milton Fisk, ‘Capacities and Natures,’ pp. 189–210,Dispositions., ed. Raimo Tuomela ( Dordrecht: Reidel, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  8. D. H. Mellor, ‘In Defense of Dispositions,’ pp. 55–76 and Milton Fisk, ‘Capacities and Natures,’ pp. 189–210,Dispositions., ed. Raimo Tuomela ( Dordrecht: Reidel, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  9. D. H. Mellor, ‘In Defense of Dispositions,’ pp. 55–76 and Milton Fisk, ‘Capacities and Natures,’ pp. 189–210,Dispositions., ed. Raimo Tuomela ( Dordrecht: Reidel, 1978 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jude P. Dougherty
    • 1
  1. 1.The Catholic University of AmericaUSA

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