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Angelo Bonadonna

Provided at the Conference on College or university Composition and Communication Phoenix, arizona, March 97

I start with a word relationship exercise within the first a part of my title, The Burkean Legacy and Composition: the pentad; linguistic quizzicality; the comic frame of mind; logology; Dramatism; cultural valetudinarianism; perspective simply by incongruity; natural persuasion; ( nonsymbolic ) motion/(symbolic) action; entitlement; flowerishes; situations and strategies; dialectic; ad bellum purificandum…. In the end, of course , the legacy of Kenneth Burkie must remain a matter to defy final naming or definition(despite the fine assortment of essays which goes by that title, The Legacy of Kenneth Burkie, published in 1989), however reducing my scope somewhat, I propose to offer a catch-as-catch-can id (there’s one more! ) of the useful idea Burke has left us teachers of structure in one of his even more whimsical moments. The moment takes place after a rather probing discourse on Freud’s concept of the unconscious, or rather, as we shall observe, concepts in the unconscious of Freud’s concept. It is a discussion of the Five Dogs, inches one of Burke’s more unusual terministic screens for his theory of the way words acquire multiple symbolism.

One way to define the five dogs will be to call all of them an atypically Burkean make an attempt to make amends [for a difficult discussion] by simply reduction to a very simple anecdote (RM 265). The dissertation that the puppies attempt to signify anecdotally-Mind, Body, and the Unconscious-takes Freud to task by simply indicating that the word unconscious, inch as a dialectical counterpart towards the term conscious, may logically imply many more points than Freud addressed. Employing Freud being a guide, Burke outlines this content and function of what we may possibly call the Dramatistic subconscious, a linguistic or perhaps formal kind of unconscious that Burke feels is endemic to the usage of symbol devices in general.

Burke once explained the browsing of Freud suggestive for the point of bewilderment (PLF 258), but over the course of his career this individual quite clear-headedly indicated ways in which Freud’s hypotheses had a greater and perhaps even more primary website than those of psychology. In Freud and the Analysis of Poetry Burkie took the lead in adapting Freudian principles to literary critique by examining poetry when it comes to dream, prayer, inch and chart (PLF 268). More to my level, in Mind, Body, plus the Unconscious, inch Burke suggests that everything that Freud said regarding symbolic action (his psychiatric study of symptomatic actions, the symptoms of sick and tired souls [LSA 64, 72]) applied to start with to dialect in general, and then derivatively to human psychology. In the handful of pages of his article, Burke extends the psychoanalytic notion with the unconscious being a repository for repressed symbolism; he does so simply by outlining eight additional categories of the unconscious (the eighth being a catchall category) that his study of representational action will add to the psychiatric analysis of symbolic actions.

Where Freud speaks of forgetting and repression, Burke speaks of universal linguistic processes: the universal incorporation of the previous within the present; the recallable but not explicitly recalled; the ‘entelechial’ sort of ‘futurity’ (as certain varieties of observations or conclusions can be implicit in a given terminology, quite in the sense that a grammar and format are implicit in a given language); error, ignorance, uncertainty (LSA 72)-and so on. He also describes the unconscious aspect of sheerly bodily process (such since the treatment of a scab) (LSA 67). Overall, he could be led to deduce that all of us learn dialect ‘rationally’ simply by much forgetting (which necessarily involves a great ‘unconscious’ of some sort) (LSA 75). We forget the conditions that provide rise to our meanings, yet somehow there is still something inexorably ‘unforgettable’ regarding the experience (LSA 75). Right now there in the periphery, in the Dramatistic unconscious, lies much linguistic actions, not only the meanings which the poet might draw upon and the critic explicate, but the whole range of meanings that type our educational experiences. Burke suggests that the linguistic unconscious is a significant source of poetic creativity and this it often capabilities in while devious and wily a way as Freud’s Id-but his primary efforts is to display the necessity of some kind of unconsciousness, inch however it be categorized, pertaining to the rational and regimen operation of language and understanding.

The advantages of a linguistic unconscious comes from the fact that individuals use terms in endlessly variable situations. Indeed there is something terrible about vocabulary if it needed us to not forget every detail of each and every context of each usage of just about every word during the period of our lives. In the event such a scenario were thinkable, language might be a burden that accumulated; every word could forever be acquiring new meanings, every single one the existential item of the one of a kind circumstances of the individual usage. But mercifully we forget and abstract; through the linguistic capabilities of example and identity we clean over the particularities of situations, as we give them common labels. In essence, all of us become unconscious to the realms of possible meaning permanently flitting regarding every expression.

The five dogs represent categories of unconscious meaning that can easily flit about our conscious use of words. As psychiatric therapy stabilizes meanings buried and protected in the mental unconscious, Burkean analysis-his canine taxonomy-identifies linguistic meanings left, forgotten-and-unforgotten, inside the various contextual and formal unconsciouses all-natural to vocabulary and its normal operation.

Burke’s Five Dogs

There is no substitute for a Burkean reduction, and his page and a half presentation of the five dogs is both sufficiently succinct and charming to justify a full direct quotation:

So much for our tentative categories of the Unconscious. But where problems of terminology are concerned, we must always keep on the move. So, for a windup, let’s try a different slant, having in mind both the psychoanalytic and Dramatistic concepts of symbolic action.

Animalistically, there are many species of dogs. But Dramatistically, these reduce to five (not a single one of which might meet the requirements of a dog-fancier-or should we say, a dog-man?)

For finish, I would propose this other cut across our subject:

First, along psychoanalytic lines, there is the primal dog, the first dog you knew, or loved, or were frightened by, or lost. It secretly ties in with what the anthropologist Malinowski would call context of situation. For though many or all of the details that are associated with that dog may have been forgotten (and thus become unconscious), we now know that they are still there within you somehow (and can be disclosed by drugs, hypnosis or psychoanalysis).

Next, there’s the jingle dog. It concerns the sheerly accidental nature of the word dog, what it rhymes with in English as distinct from what the corresponding word rhymes with in other languages, and above all, in English, we might well keep in mind Cummings’ undeniable observation that the jingle dog is God spelled backwards. (Or did he say it the other way round?)

Third comes the lexical dog. This is the one defined in the dictionary, by genus and differentia. It is the most public, normal, and rational of all dogs-and the emptiest of all, as regards the attitude of either poets or neurotics. If that great, good, sound, healthy, public meaning for dog were all we had, I can confidently assure you that the world would be completely clear of poetry. This is the only definition that wholly makes sense, if the world is to be kept going. But along with the fact that this definition of dog is tremendously necessary, there’s also the fact that dog as so conceived is totally inane. You know what I mean. But if you want documentation besides, just track down all the references to dogs in Aeschylus’ Oresteia (or see the pages on dog in William Empson’s The Structure of Complex Words.)

Fourth, there’s an entelechial dog. This is the perfect dog towards which one might aspire. I might give a roundabout example of this sort: Beginning with the material substance, bread, let us next move to the word bread. Once we have that word, through sheerly verbal manipulations we can arrive at a term for perfect bread. Having got to that point, we find two quite different kinds of resources open to us. (1) We may feel disillusioned about reality because the thing bread falls so tragically short of the ideal that flits about our word for perfect bread. Or(2) we might be graced with the opportunity to discern, all around us, evidences of way whereby even the worst of bread embodies, however finitely, the principle of an infinitely and absolutely perfect bread. Dogs endowed with personalities in animal stories would be a fictional variant of such an &qotentelechial motive. In their way, they are perfect embodiments of certain traits. Lassie has been the Machinery’s prime exhibit, as regards the entelechial dog.

Finally, there is the tautological dog. We here have in mind the fact that a dog involves a particular set of associations which, in a sense, reproduce his spirit. For instance: kennel, dog food, master, the hunt, cat, protection, loyalty, slavishness, the place where the dog was killed, and so on. When I was young, I always had a dog, and I always thought of lions as big dogs. It was quite a blow to me when I first learned that lions are really big cats. Looking back, I incline to believe that I had a cycle or ladder of terms, running from dog, to boy, to father, to lion, to king (or generally, ruler or authority),to God. Here would be a tautological terminology in the sense I now have in mind.

Our five dogs overlap considerably, I concede. But there are terministic situations when each is most directly to be considered in its own right, though we should always keep the whole lot in mind, when inquiring into the relations between the overt symbol and its possible dissolvings into the Where is it? of the Unconscious. (LSA 73-4)

Influence on modal logic

The notion of possibility was greatly analyzed by medieval and modern philosophers. Aristotle’s logical work in this area is cons

Contemporary philosophy regards possibility, as studied by modal metaphysics, to become an aspect of modal logic. Modal common sense as a named subject owes much to the writings in the Scholastics, in particular William of Ockham and John Duns Scotus, whom reasoned privately, in private in a modal manner, mainly to analyze transactions about fact and incident.

Influence in modern physics

Aristotle’s metaphysics, his account of nature and causality, was for the most part rejected by the early modern philosophers. Francis Sausage in hisNovum Organonin one explanation of the case for rejecting the concept of a formal cause or nature for each type of thing, argued for example that philosophers must still look for formal causes but only in the sense of simple natures such as colour, and weight, which exist in many gradations and modes in very different types of indiv >Inside the works of Thomas Hobbes then, the regular Aristotelian conditions, potentia ou actus, will be discussed, but he equates them simply to cause and effect.

There was an adaptation of at least one aspect of Aristotle’s potentiality and actuality distinction, which has become part of modern physics, although as per Bacon’s approach it is a generalized form of energy, not one connected to specific forms for specific things. The definition of energy in modern physics as the product of mass and the square of velocity, was derived by Leibniz, as a correction of Descartes, based upon Galileo’s investigation of falling bodies. He preferred to refer to it as anentelecheiaor living force (Latinvis viva), but what he defined is today called kinetic energy, and was seen by Leibniz as a modification of Aristotle’senergeia, and his concept of the potential for movement which is in things. Instead of each type of physical thing having its own specific tendency to a way of moving or changing, as in Aristotle, Leibniz sa >Leibniz wrote:

. the entelechy of Aristotle, which has built so much noises, is not more than that but pressure or activity; that is, a state from which action naturally flows if absolutely nothing hinders this. But matter, primary and pure, used without the souls or lives which are usa to it, is strictly passive; correctly speaking it is also not a material, but a thing incomplete.

Leibniz’s research of the entelechy now called energy was a part of what he named his new science of dynamics, based upon the Traditional worddunamisand his realizing that he was producing a modern edition of Aristotle’s old dichotomy. He also referred to it while the new science of power and action, (Latin potentia et effectu and potentia et actione). In fact it is from him that the modern distinction between statics and mechanics in physics stems. The emphasis ondunamisin the name of this new science originates from the importance of his finding of potential energy that is not active, yet which conserves energy nevertheless. As ‘a science of power and action’, aspect arises when Leibniz suggests an adequate architectonic of laws and regulations for restricted, as well as unconstrained, motions. inch

For Leibniz, like Aristotle, this rules of mother nature concerning entelechies was also understood being a metaphysical legislation, important not merely for physics, but also for understanding life as well as the soul. A soul, or perhaps spirit, in accordance to Leibniz, can be comprehended as a type of entelechy (or living monad) which has distinct perceptions and memory.


Aristotle discusses action (kinÄsis) in hisPhysicsquite differently from modern technology. Aristotle’s definition of motion is closely connected to his actuality-potentiality distinction. Taken literally, Aristotle defines movement as the actuality (entelecheia) of the potentiality while such. What Aristotle meant even so is the subject matter of a number of different interpretations. A significant difficulty originates from the fact the terms certainty and potentiality, linked in this definition, are usually understood inside Aristotle rather than each other. On the other hand, the as such is very important and is described at size by Aristotle, giving instances of potentiality as such. For instance , the motion of building is theenergeiaof thedunamisfrom the building materialsas building materialsin contrast to anything else they could become, and this potential inside the unbuilt supplies is known by Aristotle as the buildable. Therefore the motion to build is the actualization of the buildable and not the actualization of a home as such, neither the actualization of some other possibility that this building supplies might have had.

Building materialshave differentpotentials.The first is thatthey could be built with. Buildingis a singlemotionthat were apotentialin the building material.So it is theenergeiaor putting into action, with the building suppliesas building materials Ahomeis built, with no longer going

In an influential 1969 paper Aryeh Kosman div >This and similar more recent publications are the basis of the following summary.

New meanings ofenergeiaor energy

Already in Aristotle’s own works, the concept of a distinction betweenenergeiaanddunamiswas used in many ways, for example to describe the way striking metaphors work, or human happiness. Polybius about 150 BC, in his work theHistoriesuses Aristotle’s wordenergeiain both an Aristotelian way and also to describe the clarity and viv >Diodorus Siculus in 60-30 BC used the term in a very similar way to Polybius. However Diodorus uses the term to denote qualities unique to indiv

3. The interpretation of Kosman, Coope, Sachs yet others

Sachs (2005), amongst other writers (such since Aryeh Kosman and Ursula Coope), suggests that the solution to problems interpreting Aristotle’s explanation must be found in the difference Aristotle makes between two different types of potentiality, with only 1 of those related to the potentiality as such appearing inside the definition of action. He writes:

The man with eyesight, but with his eyes shut down, differs from the blind guy, although not is seeing. The first man has the capacity to see, that the second man lacks. You will find then potentialities as well as actualities in the world. But when the initially man opens his eye, has this individual lost the capability to see? Clearly not; although he is seeing, his capacity to see has ceased to be merely a potentiality, but can be described as potentiality which has been put to function. The potentiality to see is present sometimes because active or at-work, and often as inactive or latent.

Going to motion, Sachs gives the sort of a man going for walks across the room and says that.

  • Once he offers reached the other side of the area, his potentiality to be there have been actualized in Ross’ perception of the term. This is a type ofenergeia. However it is definitely not a motion, and not tightly related to the definition of motion.
  • Whilea man is definitely walking his potentiality being on the other side in the room is usually actualas a potentiality, or perhaps in other words theas suchis usually an actuality. The reality of the potentiality to be on the other side of the place, as just that potentiality, can be neither more nor lower than the going for walks across the room.

Sachs (1995, pp. 7879), in his comments of Aristotle’sPhysicspublication III provides following comes from his understanding of Aristotle’s definition of motion:

The genus of which action is a types is being-at-work-staying-itself (entelecheia), which the only different species is usually thinghood. The being-at-work-staying-itself of the potency (dunamis), as materials, is thinghood. The being-at-work-staying-the-same of a strength as a efficiency is action.

The value of fact in Aristotle’s philosophy

The actuality-potentiality distinction in Aristotle can be described as key element related to everything in the physics and metaphysics.

Aristotle describes potentiality and actuality, or potency and action, as one of several distinctions between things that exist or do not exist. In a sense, a thing that exists potentially does not exist, but the potential does exist. And this type of distinction is expressed for several different types of being within Aristotle’s categories of being. For example, from Aristotle’sMetaphysics, 1017a:

  • We speak of an entity being a seeing thing whether it is currently seeing or just able to see.
  • We speak of someone having understanding, whether they are using that understanding or not.
  • We speak of corn existing in a field even when it is not yet ripe.
  • People sometimes speak of a figure being already present in a rock which could be sculpted to represent that figure.

Within the works of Aristotle the termsenergeiaandentelecheia, often translated as actuality, differ from what is merely actual because they specifically presuppose that all things have a proper kind of activity or work which, if achieved, would be their proper end. Greek for end in this sense is telos, a component word inentelecheia(a work that is the proper end of a thing) and also teleology. This is an aspect of Aristotle’s theory of four causes and specifically of formal cause (e >) and final cause (telos).

In essence this means that Aristotle d >Because of this style of reasoning, Aristotle is often referred to as having a teleology, and sometimes as having a theory of forms.

While actuality is linked by Aristotle to his concept of a formal cause, potentiality (or potency) on the other hand, is linked by Aristotle to his concepts of hylomorphic matter and material cause. Aristotle wrote for example that matter exists potentially, because it may attain to the form; but when it exists actually, it is then in the form.

Entelechy (entelechia)

Entelechy, in Greekentel, was coined by Aristotle and transliterated in Latin asentelechia. According to Sachs (1995, p. 245):

Aristotle invents the word by combiningentelÄs(¼complete, full-grown) withechein(=hexis, to be a certain way by the continuing effort of holding on in that condition), while at the same time punning onendelecheia(¼persistence) by inserting telos (completion). This is a three-ring circus of a word, at the heart of everything in Aristotle’s thinking, including the definition of motion.

Sachs therefore proposed a complex neologism of his own, being-at-work-staying-the-same. Another translation in recent years is being-at-an-end (which Sachs has also used).

Entelecheia, as can be seen by its derivation, is a kind of completeness, whereas the end and completion of any genuine being is its being-at-work (energeia). Theentelecheiais a continuous being-at-work (energeia) when something is doing its complete work. For this reason, the meanings of the two words converge, and they both depend upon the

Sachs explains the convergence ofenergeiaandentelecheiaas follows, and uses the word actuality to describe the overlap between them:

Just asenergeiaextends toentelecheiabecause it is the activity which makes a thing what it is,entelecheiaextends toenergeiabecause it is the end or perfection which has being only in, through, and during activity.

Essence-energies debate in medieval Christian theology

In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, St Gregory Palamas wrote about the energies (actualities; singularenergeiain Greek, oractusin Latin) of God in contrast to God’s essence (ousia). These are two distinct types of existence, with God’s energy being the type of existence which people can perceive, while the essence of God is outside of normal existence or non-existence or human understanding, in that it is not caused or created by anything else.

Palamas gave this explanation as part of his defense of the Eastern Orthodox ascetic practice of hesychasm. Palamism became a standard part of Orthodox dogma after 1351.

In contrast, the position of Western Medieval (or Catholic) Christianity, can be found for example in the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, who relied on Aristotle’s concept of entelechy, when he defined God asactus purus, pure act, actuality unmixed with potentiality. The existence of a truly distinct essence of God which is not actuality, is not generally accepted in Catholic Theology.


Energeiais a word based upon ¼(ergon), meaning work. It is the source of the modern word energy but the term has evolved so much over the course of the history of science that reference to the modern term is not very helpful in understanding the original as used by Aristotle. It is difficult to translate his use ofenergeiainto English with consistency. Joe Sachs renders it with the phrase beingatwork and says that we might construct the word is-at-work-ness from Anglo-Saxon roots to translateenergeiainto English. Aristotle says the word can be made clear by looking at examples rather than trying to find a definition.

Two examples ofenergeiaiin Aristotle’s works are pleasure and happiness (eudaimonia). Pleasure is anenergeiaof the human body and mind whereas happiness is more simply theenergeiaof a human being a human.

Kinesis, translated as movement, motion, or in some contexts change, is also explained by Aristotle as a particular type ofenergeia. See below.


Plotinus was a late classical pagan philosopher and theologian whose monotheistic re-workings of Plato and Aristotle were influential amongst early Christian theologians. In hisEnneadshe sought to reconcile ideas of Aristotle and Plato together with a form of monotheism, that used three fundamental metaphysical principles, which were conceived of in terms consistent with Aristotle’s energeia/dunamis dichotomy, and one interpretation of his concept of the Active Intellect (discussed above):-

  • The Monad or the One sometimes also described as the Good. This is thedunamisor possibility of existence.
  • The Intellect, or Intelligence, or, to use the Greek term,Nous, which is described as God, or aDemiurge. It thinks its own contents, which are thoughts, equated to the Platonic ideas or forms (eide). The thinking of this Intellect is the highestactivityof life. Theactualizationof this thinking is the being of the forms. This Intellect is the first principle or foundation of existence. The One is prior to it, but not in the sense that a normal cause is prior to an effect, but instead Intellect is called an emanation of the One. The One is the possibility of this foundation of existence.
  • Soul or, to use the Greek term,psyche. The soul is also anenergeia: it acts upon oractualizesits own thoughts and creates a separate, material cosmos that is the living image of the spiritual or noetic Cosmos contained as a unified thought within the Intelligence.

This was based largely upon Plotinus’ reading of Plato, but also incorporated many Aristotelian concepts, including the Unmoved Mover asenergeia.

1. The process interpretation

Kosman (1969) and Coope (2009) associate this approach with W.D. Ross. Sachs (2005) points out that it was also the interpretation of Averroes and Maimonides.

This interpretation is, to use the words of Ross that it is the passage to actuality that iskinesis as opposed to any potentiality being an actuality.

The argument of Ross for this interpretation requires him to assert that Aristotle actually used his own wordentelecheiawrongly, or inconsistently, only within his definition, making it mean actualization, which is in conflict with Aristotle’s normal use of words. According to Sachs (2005) this explanation also can not account for the as such in Aristotle’s definition.

The active intellect

The active intellect was a concept Aristotle described that requires an understanding of the actuality-potentiality dichotomy. Aristotle described this in hisDe Anima(book 3, ch. 5, 430a10-25) and covered similar ground in hisMetaphysics(book 12, ch.7-10). The following is from theDe Anima, translated by Joe Sachs, with some parenthetic notes about the Greek. The passage tries to explain how the human intellect passes from its original state, in which it does not think, to a subsequent state, in which it does. He inferred that the energeia/dunamis distinction must also exist in the soul itself: –

. since in nature one thing is the material [hulÄ] for each kind [genos] (this is what is inpotencyall the particular things of that kind) but it is something else that is the causal and productive thing by which all of them are formed, as is the case with an art in relation to its material, it is necessary in the soul [psuchÄ] too that these distinct aspects be present;

the one sort is intellect [nous] by becoming all things, the other sort by forming all things, in the way an active condition [hexis] like light too makes the colorsthat are in potency be at work ascolors [to phs poiei tadunameionta chrmataenergeiaichrmata].

This sort of intellect is separate, as well as being without attributes and unmixed, since it is by its thinghood abeing-at-work, for what acts is always distinguished in stature above what is acted upon, as a governing source is above the material it works on.

Knowledge [epistÄmÄ], in itsbeing-at-work, is the same as the thing it knows, and while knowledge inpotencycomes first in time in any one knower, in the whole of things it does not take precedence even in time.

This does not mean that at one time it thinks but at another time it does not think, but when separated it is just exactly what it is, and this alone is deathless and everlasting (though we have no memory, because this sort of intellect is not acted upon, while the sort that is acted upon is destructible), and without this nothing thinks.

This has been referred to as one of the most intensely studied sentences in the history of philosophy. In theMetaphysics, Aristotle wrote at more length on a similar subject and is often understood to have equated the active intellect with being the unmoved mover and God. Nevertheless, as Davidson remarks:

Just what Aristotle meant by potential intellect and active intellect terms not even explicit in theDe animaand at best implied and just how he understood the interaction between them remains moot to this day. Students of the history of philosophy continue to debate Aristotle’s intent, particularly the question whether he cons

2. The product interpretation

Sachs (2005) associates this interpretation with St Thomas of Aquinas and explains that by this explanation the apparent contradiction between potentiality and actuality in Aristotle’s definition of motion is resolved by arguing that in every motion actuality and potentiality are mixed or blended. Motion is therefore the actuality of any potentiality insofar as it is still a potentiality. Or in other words:

The Thomistic blend of actuality and potentiality has the characteristic that, to the extent that it is actual it is not potential and to the extent that it is potential it is not actual; the hotter the water is, the less is it potentially hot, and the cooler it is, the less is it actually, the more potentially, hot.

As with the first interpretation however, Sachs (2005) objects that:

One implication of this interpretation is that whatever happens to be the case right now is anentelechia, as though something that is intrinsically unstable as the instantaneous position of an arrow in flight deserved to be described by the word that everywhere else Aristotle reserves for complex organized states that persist, that hold out against internal and external causes that try to destroy them.

In a more recent paper on this subject, Kosman associates the view of Aquinas with those of his own critics, Dav


Actualityis often used to translate bothenergeia(andentelecheia(¼(sometimes rendered in English asentelechy). Actuality comes from Latinactualitasand is a traditional translation, but its normal meaning in Latin is anything which is currently happening.

The two wordsenergeiaandentelecheiawere coined by Aristotle, and he stated that their meanings were intended to converge. In practice, most commentators and translators cons >They both equally refer to something being in the own kind of action or perhaps at work, while all things are when they are real in the fullest sense, and not just potentially true. For example , to be a rock is to pressure to be in the middle of the galaxy, and thus being in action unless constrained otherwise.

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