The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.
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The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.
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The term ‘potential’ manifests itself abundantly in colloquial banter. However, when really pinpointing the meaning of ‘potential’, I believe that the thinker will inevitably get into some logical clutter that may render the term meaningless or arbitrary. Yet this term manifests itself with such fervent force amongst individuals. People move places that have the potential to be safe for their children, marry people that have the potential to make them happy for the rest of their lives, and value people that have the potential of fulfilling substantial endeavors. Clearly, communities will universally agree that those particulars that obtain potential in so intrinsically possess value. To begin with a fairly non-controversial example, think of a professor referring to a student by saying “she has a lot of academic potential”. What most colloquial masses of people will interpret this as is “the present version of herself does not possess the profound academic qualities the professor is speaking of, but a future version of herself may be able to”. This is where in lies the issue, that the speaker must reference a future state of being in order to define a current state of affairs. The state of having potential is therefore the lack of actualization that appears intuitively contradictory. Considering the nature of potentiality in this format seems incredibly paradoxical in considering the intrinsic value that potentiality has. For, if a particular has potential on the grounds of not having an actualized quality, then it is innately valuable for the sake of not having value. Potentiality exists as a dependent ontology. For, if the object existed without an individualized conception of the future, then potentiality would not exist. The absence of the qualities exists in the sharp background of individual extrapolation of the current qualities through future projections or imaginative fantasies. If the individual disposed of untrustworthy or unfair modes of perceiving the particular decontextualized, potentiality would not exist. Digressing to the student example, her qualities (having a high IQ, being fairly studious) are actualized qualities of her present state. Yet those same actualized qualities are synthesized to create a hypothetical unactualized state (here, being an academically profound individual). What is real is insignificant and what is unreal is valuable. With regards to objections concerning Einsteinian relativity of time that would deem the existence of the unactualized student of the future ontologically real, the epistemological uncertainties reign superior. I mean not to disregard to the great debates of Einsteinian or Aristotelian ontologies of time, but the metaphysical truth of potentiality lies outside of those metaphysical realms and inside the minds of human nomenclature and categorization. In its clearest form, there are many ‘potentially’ beautiful marriages marred by divorce, many ‘potentially’ inspiring artists brought down by their own loss of life, and many ‘potentially’ dazzling sunrises that are muddied by nebulous obstacles. It’s not what will be actualized that gives a particular its intrinsic potential value, not what it was, nor what it is, but what it could be. How subjectively inclined does the individual need be to subscribe to the value of potential? Throughout the indeterminate, uncountable, infinite possible progressions of existence, the value of potential is given to the few or the many in which the observer foresees existence to progress. Rather than value the beauty of what is intrinsically imbedded in qualities and identities themselves, a term has been so subjectively created to devalue existence and bring value to those things that may be the undetermined birth of phenomena.
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I don't see anything wrong with your description , of potential , and how it relates to value. Yes the idea of potential requires an imagined future state, but I dont think that this is devaluation of the actualized situation, its a credit attributed ahead of time.
I think its quite possible to envision the devaluation of ones world to be potentially of great benefit, rather than just a bummer, and so urge you to consider how this might indeed be the case.