Home Economics Aquinas’s theory of perception: an analytic reconstruction
Principle B. A potency as such can only he affected by some ‘X’ or other that is in act
Principle B is co-relative with Principle A. Various texts discuss this interrelationship between act and potency:
Actuality is not per se contrary to potency; indeed the two are really similar, for potency is nothing but a certain relationship to act. And without this likeness, there would be no necessary correspondence between this act and this potency. Thus, potency in this sense is not actualized from contrary to contrary, but rather from like to like, in the sense that the potency resembles its act. (Commentary on the Soul, no. 366)
The following passages note this co-relative connection: ‘a potency is actualized by something already in act’ (#373), and ‘A thing in potency is one that can be in act’ (Commentary on the Physics, lec. 3, no. 2). This interrelationship between potency and act applies equally to knowing situations, as the following passage indicates: ‘whenever a potential knower becomes an actual knower, she must indeed be actualized by what is already in act’ (Commentary on the Soul, no. 371).
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