• Gregory
    So the system of theology in the Dark Ages (and latter) took Aristotle's idea that God is most actual, and that there is a hierarchy in "creation" where those higher up have more actuality than the lower. This literal deification of action has always puzzled me. First, maybe in thought the highest thing would be an infinite mind. That doesn't mean it must be that way in reality. I tend to believe that everything in creation has the same potency and actuality. How is this related to yin and yang however? Plotinus thought the highest Good to be pure potentiality. There is no clear argument from the Thomist camp to refute this (though they try so hard). Why is activity even better than passivity in any system?
  • Alvin Capello
    Why is activity even better than passivity in any system?


    I think the reasoning behind this thought is that potentiality already presupposes that the being is not something which it could be; and thus potentiality always carries with it the idea of negation.

    Pure actuality, on the other hand, is also a pure positivity. Because a being that is purely actual does not lack anything; and therefore it is said to be superior than the potentiality which does lack.

    One might also say that potentiality is necessarily finite, because it lacks something; whilst pure actuality is necessarily infinite.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    Plotinus thought the highest Good to be pure potentiality.Gregory

    Potentiality, under the Aristotelian conception, which these people used, is matter. The highest good for Plotinus was the One, and this is a Form without matter.

    The hierarchy of existence is due to the material of a thing. Matter is the potential for change. The more potential for change that a thing has, i.e. the more that it is describable as material, the less actual form it has because it cannot be prevented from continuously changing.
  • Frank Apisa
    Gregory (and Alvin & MU & anyone else who stops here in this thread)...

    ...would you stop by the thread linked below. I have a question that I do not want to be a distraction from what you are discussing here. If you would comment there, I'd appreciate it.

  • Eleonora
    to be a distractionFrank Apisa

    Right, so that said: Let's believe the issue to be divided into three points.

    Firstly; the ultimate actuality is the absolute potentiality.
    Secondly; Each instance of possible ultimate outcome is one with the absolute potential.
    Thirdly; Every potential actuality is its own ultimate actuality.

    What we seek to respond to the issue is a single point in the versus of the question. In my opinion it is a simple matter of what we call it. I suggest we call it Santa Claus; because that's who I personally believe it to be.
  • Gregory
    Some good explanations of the Thomistic position so far! But is it maybe a cultural and/or sexist concept? Aquinas thought women passive and less noble than men. So for him God must be actual all the way, and we call him "sir". Yin and Yang philosophy say there is no greater or lesser here. So Chinese thought is radically against the A/T position (Aristotle/Thomas). Thomist try to create a system in their heads but fail to see it's not the only system that works
  • Gnomon
    So the system of theology in the Dark Ages (and latter) took Aristotle's idea that God is most actual, and that there is a hierarchy in "creation" where those higher up have more actuality than the lower.Gregory
    I suspect the higher evaluation of Actual compared to Potential is similar to the proverb that "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush".

    On the other hand, both Plato and Aristotle believed that potential Forms or Ideals were more "Real" (important, meaningful) than Actual (physical) things in the world. That's because, without the infinite Potential, there would be no finite (bird in hand) Actual. Without ultimate eternal "Reality" there could be no proximate temporal Reality. But our normal intuition tends to place more value on the bird-in-hand. Except in religious faith, where the supernatural eternal God-in-bush, is presumed to be more important (valuable) than any of his natural temporal creatures.

    So, the hierarchy of creation is that Actual Real things are dependent on Potential Super-Real Forms. And I assume that Aristotle's usage of "Actual" would be more accurately indicated by "Ideal".
  • Gregory
    Aristotle didn't believe in forms outside objects. He has a substance based belief, with the prime mover having great power.I

    Great acts are the greatest things, but it could be humility and thus mixed with passive "potential". Comparing active with actual is necessary here. Yin might be greater in objects, a greater state.
  • Possibility
    In my view, all actuality is a result of interactions between potentiality, manifest in one, two, three and four-dimensional relations.

    Aristotle recognised that, in our experience, potentiality precedes actuality - until you reach the point of origin. Here, inexplicably, he flips it - purely to avoid the idea of something coming from what Aristotle views as just a passive vessel, as ‘nothing’.

    Yet we understand that energy, to which all matter is related, originates in the interaction of potentiality.

    But the whole idea of value hierarchy is where the problem lies, because potentiality IS value. The ‘highest thing’ has this perceived potential - regardless of which value system you apply.
  • Gregory
    Nothingness is like a set in math. Sets have nothing in common with numbers. I think nothingness is pure space and time. Absolute space-time! It has one aspect and no substance (the world might be its accident). The aspect is divinity-as-holy-and-set-apart, to write like Heidegger. The aspect has one faculty, power. Power to create infinity good things

    Spinoza thought God a substance and intellect. I very much disagree. Hinduism says we are a God substance. Spinoza says we are an accident of him. I throw out substance and apply it to the world of objects alone
  • Gregory
    Potency and actually seen equally beautiful...
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