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Idealistic Studies


published on December 2, 2017

Nahum Brown

Aristotle and Heidegger
Potentiality in Excess of Actuality

Aristotle claims in book 9 of the Metaphysics that potentiality is distinct from actuality yet also that potentiality exists only for the sake of actuality. This essay presents the relationship between potentiality’s existence and actuality’s priority as an aporia, where potentiality remains distinct from and exists in excess of actuality, even though it exists only as actuality. I claim that this aporia helps the early Heidegger of Being and Time to conclude, contrary to Aristotle, that potentiality stands higher than actuality.

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