Pigalev A.I. The Semiotic Aspects of the History of the Concept of Energy in Philosophy

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2022.3.1

Alexander I. Pigalev
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor, Leading Researcher, Volgograd State University
Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation
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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4858-8862


Abstract. The purpose of the paper is to retrace the history of Aristotle's concept of energy and the semiotic aspects of its contexts which indicate the changes of its meaning over time. The scrutiny seeks to go beyond the limits of textual analysis and focuses on the detection of the very necessity to invent the concept of energy. This problem is considered in the context of the relationships between immediacy as the peculiarity of the initial state of community and mediation as the feature of more complex social frameworks that implies the rise of symbolic exchange. It is noted that just the passage from the immediacy of tradition to the mediating structures of society favored the inculcation of the concept of logos that, as opposed to the immediacy of myth, resulted in the differentiation between the signified and signifier and thus between the essence and appearance. Moreover, the complication of the structure of homogenizing symbolic exchange widens the gap between the essence and the appearance till the latter proves to be autonomous. The essence acquires the traits of transcendence and thereby inaccessibility which in philosophy and theology is described by means of the term "apophaticism". Aristotle, having blamed in particular the unlimited making money in trade turnover, could not but notice the first signs of the sharply widening gap between appearance and essence. Accordingly, Aristotelian concept of energy as an "actualization" or "existence in actuality", implying the determination by some final cause, inherently laid claim to prevent the involvement of things in the complex structures of symbolic exchange and thereby retain their singularity. However, in the final analysis, the vicissitudes of Aristotle's concept of energy boiled down to the repudiation of the concept of the final cause and the transformation of "energy" into an "accumulated work" and the "capability to do work".
Key words: Aristotle, concept of energy, essence, appearance, apophaticism, final cause, performativity.

Citation. Pigalev A.I. The Semiotic Aspects of the History of the Concept of Energy in Philosophy. Logos et Praxis, 2022, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 6-16. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2022.3.1

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