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Catholic Dictionary




The internal specifying principle that actively directs a nature to its specific good or end. In scholastic philosophy this is the substantial form. It is the vital principle that guides and co-ordinates all the activities of an organism from within, and for the benefit of the whole. More than mechanical, it is the immanent power that gives purpose and direction to all the operations of every living thing. (Etym. Latin entelechia, accomplishment, actuality, substantial form; from Greek entelecheia.)