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Section 2

2. Then the question rises whether Matter- potentially what it becomes by receiving shape- is actually something else or whether it has no actuality at all. In general terms: When a potentiality has taken a definite form, does it retain its being? Is the potentiality, itself, in actualization? The alternative is that, when we speak of the "Actual Statue" and of the "Potential Statue," the Actuality is not predicated of the same subject as the "Potentiality." If we have really two different subjects, then the potential does not really become the actual: all that happens is that an actual entity takes the place of a potential.

The actualized entity is not the Matter [the Potentiality, merely] but a combination, including the Form-Idea upon the Matter.

This is certainly the case when a quite different thing results from the actualization-statue, for example, the combination, is distinctly different from the bronze, the base; where the resultant is something quite new, the Potentiality has clearly not, itself, become what is now actualized. But take the case where a person with a capacity for education becomes in fact educated: is not potentiality, here, identical with actualization? Is not the potentially wise Socrates the same man as the Socrates actually wise?

But is an ignorant man a being of knowledge because he is so potentially? Is he, in virtue of his non-essential ignorance, potentially an instructed being?

It is not because of his accidental ignorance that he is a being of Knowledge: it is because, ignorant though he be by accident, his mind, apt to knowledge, is the potentiality through which he may become so. Thus, in the case of the potentially instructed who have become so in fact, the potentiality is taken up into the actual; or, if we prefer to put it so, there is on the one side the potentiality while, on the other, there is the power in actual possession of the form.

If, then, the Potentiality is the Substratum while the thing in actualization- the Statue for example a combination, how are we to describe the form that has entered the bronze?

There will be nothing unsound in describing this shape, this Form which has brought the entity from potentiality to actuality, as the actualization; but of course as the actualization of the definite particular entity, not as Actuality the abstract: we must not confuse it with the other actualization, strictly so called, that which is contrasted with the power producing actualization. The potential is led out into realization by something other than itself; power accomplishes, of itself, what is within its scope, but by virtue of Actuality [the abstract]: the relation is that existing between a temperament and its expression in act, between courage and courageous conduct. So far so good:

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