Metaphysics - 國立清華大學哲學研究所

On the Five Analogies in Aristotle’s Metaphysics IX.6
Aristotle offers five analogies (1048a37-b4) in Metaphysics IX.6 to illustrate the
new kind of actuality and potentiality that he aims to establish in Met. IX:
actuality stands to potentiality, just as (a) building a house stands to being
capable of building a house, (b) being awake stands to being asleep, (c) seeing
stands to being capable of seeing, (d) being distinguished off from the matter
stands to being not distinguished off from the matter, and (e) being finished
off stands to being not finished off. Scholars such as Stephan Makin (2009)
and Jonathan Beere (2010), who associate (a) (b) (c) with the change-capacity
relation and (d) (e) with the substance-matter relation, are pessimistic about
discovering one unifying account of the new kind of actuality and potentiality.
In this paper I refute this pessimistic view and seek to interpret the five
analogies in one unifying account instead. I argue that both those involved
with the so-called change-capacity relation and those involved with the
so-called substance-matter relation present a double-characterization that all
the five analogies are composed of. While the first tier stands the relation of
change (κίνησις) to the corresponding capacity, the second tier stands the
relation of exercise (χρῆσις) to the possession of one’s own nature or a certain
Keywords: Aristotle, Metaphysics, Actuality, Potentiality, Change, Exercise.
Main References:
Beere, Jonathan. 2009. Doing and Being : an Interpretation of Aristotle's
Metaphysics theta, Oxford Aristotle studies. Oxford: Oxford University
Makin, Stephen. 2006. Aristotle Metaphysics Book Theta. Clarendon Aristotle
Series. Oxford: Clarendon Press.