Half-Existent Entities

In debates about generation and procreation one often hears it said that “potential human beings have a right to actualization” or, in other words, by begetting progeny one “actualizes” a human being who already existed in potentia. Nicolai Hartmann uses, in his ontology, the phrase “half-existent entities” in order to criticize the notion, still widely held to in his day, that so-called “potentialities” were in some sense already real. He supports this phrase with the argument that that which is “only potential” is not real precisely for the reason that it is – at least at the moment and in some cases permanently – not possible for it to be real. There is, in other words, no half-existing “potential realm” above, beside, or behind the realm of the actual. This notion of “half-existent entities” goes to nourish the >Natal Myth insofar as “human beings in potentia” appear to be, in ontic terms, something more than just nothing.  

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