I skipped over this paragraph from Levi’s latest post, wherein he basically renders redundant my post on potentiality.
I fully endorse Harman-Latour’s critique of the concept of potentiality as it is posed. In my view, the challenge is to think a concept of potentiality that does not treat an object as already containing actualities of what the object will be in virtual form (as in the case of an acorn already containing the adult oak tree, but virtually). Along these lines, I’ve tried to argue, following Deleuze, that there is no resemblance between a power, potentiality, or potency, and the actuality that it comes to actualize. Potentiality, power, potency is pure capacity, pure “can-do”, pure ability. As such, it tells us nothing of the form that the actualized power will take when it becomes a quality or what I call a local manifestation. These potentialities are what I call, following Spinoza, “affects”, or the capacity to affect and be affected. They are structures of the object, they aren’t featureless, yet they do not embody any determinate qualities. In this regard, it is completely misleading to suggest that the power of an acorn contains an oak tree. No, acorns contain the possibility of all sorts of unique and aleatory movements (under specific conditions) that might become an oak tree.
I need to read more carefully and thoroughly next time.