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Entelechy is a philosophical concept stemming from Aristotle‘s metaphysics, and generally used to identify whatever it is that makes the difference between mere matter and a living body. Originally a notion merely concerning the actualization of some substances potential (and so a notion that easily fits into a naturalistic description of the world), in Leibniz‘s hands it came to denote a non-material, unextended, mind-like entity that is underlies the entire physical world. In each case, the driving thought is that something metaphysically distinctive must be present in living bodies.

Entelechy has been explained as non-material, non-spatial, teleological, order giving element. Hans Driesch (1867-1941) followed Leibniz in insisting that such a concept was necessary for the scientific explanation of biological phenomena. His concept of entelechy has been dismissed as untenable. His concept of entelechy may be, however, from today’s perspective, comparable to information due to its quasi-real ontological status.

Read more at the New World Encyclopedia.



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