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[1046a] [1] for potentiality and actuality extend beyond the sphere of terms which only refer to motion.When we have discussed this sense of potentiality we will, in the course of our definitions of actuality,1 explain the others also.

We have made it plain elsewhere2 that "potentiality" and "can" have several senses.All senses which are merely equivocal may be dismissed; for some are used by analogy, as in geometry,3 and we call things possible or impossible because they "are" or "are not" in some particular way. But the potentialities which conform to the same type are all principles, and derive their meaning from one primary sense of potency, which is the source of change in some other thing, or in the same thing qua other.

One kind of potentiality is the power of being affected; the principle in the patient itself which initiates a passive change in it by the action of some other thing, or of itself qua other. Another is a positive state of impassivity in respect of deterioration or destruction by something else or by itself qua something else; i.e. by a transformatory principle—for all these definitions contain the formula of the primary sense of potentiality.Again, all these potentialities are so called either because they merely act or are acted upon in a particular way, or because they do so well . Hence in their formulae also the formulae of potentiality in the senses previously described are present in some degree.

Clearly, then, in one sense the potentiality for acting and being acted upon is one [20] (for a thing is "capable" both because it itself possesses the power of being acted upon, and also because something else has the power of being acted upon by it);and in another sense it is not; for it is partly in the patient (for it is because it contains a certain principle, and because even the matter is a kind of principle, that the patient is acted upon; i.e., one thing is acted upon by another: oily stuff is inflammable, and stuff which yields in a certain way is breakable, and similarly in other cases)—and partly in the agent; e.g. heat and the art of building: the former in that which produces heat, and the latter in that which builds. Hence in so far as it is a natural unity, nothing is acted upon by itself; because it is one, and not a separate thing.

"Incapacity" and "the incapable" is the privation contrary to "capacity" in this sense; so that every "capacity" has a contrary incapacity for producing the same result in respect of the same subject.

Privation has several senses4—it is applied (1.) to anything which does not possess a certain attribute; (2.) to that which would naturally possess it, but does not; either (a) in general, or (b) when it would naturally possess it; and either (1) in a particular way, e.g. entirely, or (2) in any way at all. And in some cases if things which would naturally possess some attribute lack it as the result of constraint, we say that they are "deprived."

Since some of these principles are inherent in inanimate things, and others in animate things and in the soul and in the rational part of the soul,

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