"wear" and "put on"

sergey lyosovs at cityline.ru
Wed May 11 16:47:00 UTC 2005

I have long been wondering whether sentences like 'the food stock is
diminishing' are telic. The sentence 'I am running out of money' seems to be
clearly telic because it has a natural endpoint 'I am out of money' or (with
the same verb) 'I have run out of money'. But is there an inherent endpoint
of diminishing for mass nouns? Or of increasing? 
	Aristotle (Metaphysics 9,6) says: 
Since of the actions which have a limit none is an end but all are relative
to the end, e.g. the removing of fat, or fat-removal, and the bodily parts
themselves when one is making them thin are in movement in this way (i.e.
without being already that at which the movement aims), this is not an
action or at least not a complete one (for it is not an end); but that
movement in which the end is present is an action. E.g. at the same time we
are seeing and have seen, are understanding and have understood, are
thinking and have thought (while it is not true that at the same time we are
learning and have learnt, or are being cured and have been cured). At the
same time we are living well and have lived well, and are happy and have
been happy. If not, the process would have had sometime to cease, as the
process of making thin ceases: but, as things are, it does not cease; we are
living and have lived. Of these processes, then, we must call the one set
movements, and the other actualities. For every movement is
incomplete-making thin, learning, walking, building; these are movements,
and incomplete at that.   
   So Aristotle probably considers diminishing a telic process(~ 'the
process of making thin ceases'). But his 'walking' confounds me, it is
clearly atelic. 
   My problem is whether telicity is a facts-of-life thing or an artefact of
language? Is 'We are running out of food' telic unlike 'Our food store is
diminishing' > 'It (has) diminished'? Do the qualitative distinctions
posited by our thinking create telicity effect (~does a heap cease to be a
heap if a grain is removed)?

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