Infinite possibilities

Moving on from Blake in Nestor, Stephen thinks of a different model for understanding history, with a different way of relating intellectual possibilities to tyrannically stubborn facts. Aristotle's Metaphysics describes coming-into-being as passage from a state of potentiality (dynamis) to a state of actuality (energeia). Stephen rather loosely reads this argument as implying that, in any moment, there are "infinite possibilities" that might become actual. Only one possibility does become actual, so the others are "ousted."

JH 2012

Schematic representation of how Aristotle's four kinds of causation operate in relation to potentiality and actuality. Source: