Saturday, March 01, 2014

Potentiality and Actuality

In what I am now there lies something that I am now not actually, but will become actually at some time in the future. And what I now am actually, I already was previously, but not actually. My present being contains the possibility for future actual being and supposes a possibility in my earlier being. My present being is at once actual and potential being; and insofar as it is actual, it is the actualization of a potency that already exited earlier. As modes of being, actuality and potentiality are contained in the sheer fact of being [schlichte Seinstatsche] and from it they are to be inferred.

St. Edith Stein, Potency and Act, Redmond, tr. ICS Publications [Washington, DC: 2009] p. 12.

I have very little serious German. I take it that 'schlichte Seinstatsche' literally means something like 'definitive apprehension of being'? [ADDED LATER: Arsen notes that it's a typo (mine, rather than Redmond's) -- it should actually be 'Seinstatsache', which means pretty straightforwardly 'fact of being'.]

4 comments:

  1. John Farrell7:08 AM

    What a delightful parallel between this passage and Augustine's discussion of the nature of Time in Ch. 11 of the Confessions.

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  2. branemrys9:17 AM

    There's a lot of similarity between Augustine's and Husserl's approach to time (as Husserl and Heidegger also recognize). While Stein doesn't refer here to Augustine on time, she did, a few pages before, refer to Augustine on doubt, so it might well be that she's using Augustine to bridge the gap between Aquinas and Husserl.

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  3. Arsen Darnay7:53 PM

    That word, Seinstatsche, appears to be a misspelling. If spelled Seinstatsache, it would simply mean 'a fact of being.' Tatsache means 'fact.' I've never encountered the word as spelled above. Seins translates as 'being's.' Tatsche has no meaning...

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  4. branemrys7:57 PM

    That does make a lot more sense. It turns out I wrote it down wrong; so the garbling is my own fault.

    ReplyDelete

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