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 < Gk entelécheia, equiv. to en- EN-2 + tél(os) goal + éch(ein) to have + -eia -Y3]

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      (from Greek entelecheia), in philosophy, that which realizes or makes actual what is otherwise merely potential. The concept is intimately connected with Aristotle's distinction between matter and form, or the potential and the actual. He analyzed each thing into the stuff or elements of which it is composed and the form which makes it what it is (see hylomorphism). The mere stuff or matter is not yet the real thing; it needs a certain form or essence or function to complete it. Matter and form, however, are never separated; they can only be distinguished. Thus, in the case of a living organism, for example, the sheer matter of the organism (viewed only as a synthesis of inorganic substances) can be distinguished from a certain form or function or inner activity, without which it would not be a living organism at all; and this “soul” or “vital function” is what Aristotle in his De anima (On the Soul ) called the entelechy (or first entelechy) of the living organism. Similarly, rational activity is what makes a man to be a man and distinguishes him from a brute animal.

      Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm), a 17th-century German philosopher and mathematician, called his monads (the ultimate reality of material beings) entelechies in virtue of their inner self-determined activity. The term was revived around the turn of the 20th century by Hans Driesch, a German biologist and philosopher, in connection with his vitalistic biology to denote an internal perfecting principle which, he supposed, exists in all living organisms.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • 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,… …   Wikipedia

  • 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 — (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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