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Aristotle's Categories. Annotated bibliography of the studies in English: Hin - N



  1. Hintikka, Jaakko. 1959. "Aristotle and the Ambiguity of Ambiguity." Inquiry no. 2:137-151

    Reprinted as Chapter 1 in: J. Hintikka, Time and Necessity. Studies in Aristotle's Theory of Modality, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973 pp. 1-26.

    "Chapter I is a revised and expanded version of a paper which appeared under the same title in Inquiry, 2 (1959), 137-51. In its present form it also incorporates most of my note, 'Different Kinds of Equivocation in Aristotle', Journal of the History of Philosophy, 9 (1971), 368-72." (Time and Necessity, Preface, VII).

    "Homonymy v. synonymy

    Aristotle explains his sense of homonymy (together with that of the contrary notion of synonymy) in the beginning of the Categories.

    According to these explanations, two things are synonymous if both the same name (i.e. term) and the same definition (λόγος) are applicable to them. They are homonymous if they share only the name, the definitions (λόγοι) being different in the two cases. (In these definitions, λόγος should perhaps be understood as an explanatory phrase or an account of the meaning of the name rather than as a definition.) I have already pointed out that Aristotle sometimes violates his own definition of homonymy.

    Similarly, he violates the definition of synonymy at least once by calling a pair of objects synonyms although, according to his own considered judgement, they share only the name but not the definition. (6)

    These violations are little more than occasional reversions to looser usage. But in another respect Aristotle violates the definitions of homonymy and synonymy given in Categories 1 almost systematically. In so far as the definitions are concerned, only things can be called homonymous or synonymous, not words. And two things can be called synonymous only if the same term is applied to them. Both these limitations are transgressed by Aristotle. A word is said to be homonymous in De Gen. et Corr. 1 6. 322b29 ff.; (7) and similar uses of the notion of synonymy are found in Top. VIII 13. 162b37, Soph. El. 5. 167a24 and in Rhet. III 2. 1404b37-1405a2. In many other passages, too, Aristotle is obviously interested exclusively in the word and not in the things to which it is applied. In fact, he sometimes seems to express synonymy and homonymy by such phrases as εν σεμαινειν and πολλά σεμαινειν (or πλείω σεμαινειν), respectively. In the sequel, we shall take the same liberty as Aristotle and talk about synonymy (homonymy) in connection both with certain terms and with the entities to which they are applied." (p. 9)

    (6) See Met. A 6. 987b10; cf. 9. 990b6, 991a6, and Met. I 10. 1059a13.

    (7) Cf. also Top. V 2. I 29b30 ff.

  2. ———. 1983. "Semantical Games, the Alleged Ambiguity of 'Is' and Aristotelian Categories." Synthese no. 54:443-468

    Reprinted in: J. Hintikka, Analysis of Aristotle. Selected Papers, Vol. 6, Dordrecht: Springer 2004, pp. 23-44.

    "Our findings concerning the multiple relations between different semantical phenomena may thus be summed up in the form of a list of correlated distinctions. They amount to differences among the following:

    (10) (i) Different wh-words (and phrases).

    (ii) Different widest classes of entities over which English quantifiers can range.

    (iii) Different uses of the existential is in English.

    (iv) Different uses of the is of identity in English.

    (v) Different uses of the predicative is in English.

    (vi) Different classes (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive) of simple predicates of English." (p. 35)


    "Aristotelian categories reconstructed

    At this point, a philosophical reader is likely to have a vivid déjà vu experience. For what seems to be emerging as a consequence of the basic assumptions of game-theoretical semantics is nothing but a modernized version of Aristotle’s doctrine of categories, not in its details (after all, Aristotle was dealing with a different language), but in all of its leading theoretical ideas. Aristotelian scholars have found the combination of different ideas in Aristotle’s distinction between different categories intensely puzzling. These different aspects of Aristotle’s theory include the following:

    (11) (i) Different questions one can ask about a given entity, and hence different question words (and certain related phrases) in a language. (Cf. Ockham (Loux), pp. 8–9; Ackrill, p. 79; Gomperz, p. 39; Kahn, passim.) Several scholars have argued on this basis that Aristotle’s distinction is firmly based on the structure of Greek (Trendelenburg, Benveniste, Kahn).

    (ii) Different highest predicates under one or other of which everything that is has to fall (Bonitz et al.).

    (iii)–(v) Different senses of verbs for being in their different uses: (iii) existential, (iv) copulative (Apelt, etc.), (v) identifying.

    (vi) Different widest classes of primitive predicates in the language in question. Indeed, (vi) is closest to Aristotle’s explanation of the categories in his Categoriae (see 1b25–2a10)." (pp. 35-36)


    Apelt, O.: 1891, Beiträge zur Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie, Leipzig.

    Benveniste, Emile: 1966, ‘Categories de pensée et catégories de langue’, in Problèmes de linguistique générale, Gallimard, Paris, pp. 63–74.

    Bonitz, Hermann: 1853, Uber die Kategorien des Aristoteles, Staatsdruckerei, Vienna.

    Gomperz, Theodor: 1912, Greek T hinkers, vol. 4 (tr. by G.G. Berry), Murray, London.

    Kahn, Charles: 1978, ‘Questions and categories’, in Henry Hiz (ed.), Questions, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, pp. 227–78.

    Loux, Michael J.: 1974, translator and editor, Ockham’s Theory of Terms, Notre Dame.

    Trendelenburg, Adolf: 1846, Geschichte der Kategorienlehre, Bethge, Berlin.

  3. ———. 1986. "The Varieties of Being in Aristotle." In The Logic of Being: Historical Studies, edited by Knuuttila, Simo and Hinitkka, Jaakko, 81-114. Dodrecht: Kluwer

    "In this paper, I shall try to enhance our understanding of Aristotle's thought by relating it to certain contemporary problems and insights of philosophical logicians. Now one of the most central current issues in philosophical logic is a challenge to a hundred-year old dogma. Almost all twentieth-century philosophers in English-speaking countries have followed Frege and Russell and claimed that the words for being in natural languages - "is", "ist", ἔστι, etc. - are ambiguous between the is of predication, the is of existence, the is of identity, and the generic is. The significance of this ambiguity thesis has not been limited to topical discussions but has extended to historical studies, including studies of ancient Greek philosophy." (p. 81).


    "One of the most fundamental and most perplexing questions concerning Aristotle's distinction between different categories is: What is being distinguished from each other? What is Aristotle classifying in separating the different categories from each other?"


    "Scholars have debated intensively which of these different things Aristotle "reaJly" meant. For example, one persuasion maintains that the categories represent the different kinds of questions one can (according to Aristotle) ask of a given entity. This view is in different variants held by among others Ockham, Charles Kahn, Benveniste, and Ackrill.

    Other scholars hold that Aristotelian categories are what he says they are, predicables. Others, led by the formidable Hermann Bonitz, have held that categories were for Aristotle first and foremost the widest genera of entities." (p. 100)


    "Still others have held that Aristotle's category distinction is primarily a differentiation between several senses of esti, a reminder of the "systematic ambiguity" of words for being in Aristotle. This view is found, e.g., in Phys. A 2, 185 b 25 - 32. Among commentators, it has

    been represented by Heinrich Maier, and in a sense it can be maintained that G. E. L. Owen is another case in point. He has certainly been followed by a host of younger scholars." (pp. 100-101)

  4. Hood, Pamela M. 2004. Aristotle on the Category of Relation. Washington: University Press of America

    Contents: Preface IX; Acknowledgements XI; Part One: The Exegesis; Chapter 1: The Critics' Charges 1; Chapter 2: Categories 7 21; Chapter 3: Metaphysics V.15 55; Chapter 4: Interpreting Aristole's Relatives 85; Chapter 5: Epistemological Issues; Chapter 6: Conclusion 141; Notes 143; Bibliography 147; Index 151-154.

    "Many philosophers believe that Aristotle does not have, and indeed could not have, a theory of relation, even one that accounts for relations involving two terms, i.e., dyadic relations. Aristotle's logical, metaphysical and ontological views, especially his substance-accident ontology, are seen as restricting Aristotle to only one-place or monadic relations, and prohibiting the logical space for a separate entity, relation, to exist. Hence, Aristotle's conception of relation is perceived to be so divergent from our own that it does not count as a theory of relation at all. I aim to show that the critics are wrong to speak so poorly of Aristotle's account of relation.

    I argue that Aristotle's theory has some of the basic features that a theory of relation must have. I begin in Part One by sketching out the critics' charges. I then outline the main features of Aristotle's philosophy that inform his treatment of the category of relation, and briefly survey Aristotle's discussion of relational issues scattered throughout the corpus. Next, I present an exegesis of Aristotle's two central texts on relation, Categories 7 and Metaphysics V 15, and discuss the various accounts of relational entities or relatives therein. In Part Two, I examine two problems. First, I address the problem of how best to interpret Aristotle's relatives. Second, I explore the epistemological difficulties stemming from Aristotle's view in the Categories that relation involves two relative items or terms and that if one relative item is known definitely the other item must also be known definitely.

    I conclude that Aristotle's treatment of relatives reveals his commitment to the view that there be a dyad, i.e., at least two items, involved in a relation. Furthermore, I show that Aristotle includes in his theory something that accounts for the relation itself, i.e., something approaching a logical relational predicate. I do not suggest that Aristotle attempts to construct a relational theory comparable to our own. But I do suggest that given Aristotle's grasp of the dyadic nature of relation, we have good reason to believe Aristotle's theory of relation is more robust than many suspect." (Preface, p. IX)

  5. Husik, Isaac. 1904. "On the Categories of Aristotle." The Philosophical Review no. 13:514-528

    Reprinted (conjoined with Husik 1939) in: I. Husik, The Categories of Aristotle (1942).

    "The little treatise of Aristotle which stands at the head of the Organon has caused a great deal of difficulty to students, both ancient and modern. The bulk of the discussion has centered about the question of its place in the Organon and in Aristotle's system, and the character of the ten categories to which the greater part of the book is devoted. But there have been found also critics who expressed a doubt as to the authenticity of all or part of the treatise in question. To say nothing of the ancient commentators of Aristotle, the earliest attempt in modern times to cast a doubt on the genuineness of the work seems to be that of Spengel in Münchener Gelehrte Anzeigen, 1845, Vol. XX, No. 5, pp. 41 sq. He was followed by Prantl in Zeitschrift für Alterthumswissenschaft, 1846, p. 646, and in his Geschichte der Logik, I, p. 90, Note. 5, also by Valentinus Rose in De Aristotelis librorum ordine et auctoritate, p. 234 sq. Zeller, on the other hand (Philos. d. Griechen, second edition, II, pt. 2, p. 67, note i), decides in favor of the genuineness of the first part of the work, the Categories proper, and against the so-called Postpraedicamenta from ch. X to the end." (p. 514)


    "I have shown, I trust, not only that the treatise of the Categories is closely related to that of the Topics, but also that it was written before the latter and serves as a basis for it upon which it builds, very often going beyond the Categories. This applies to the first nine chapters, properly called Categories, in the same measure as to the Postpraedicamenta. The unity of the book of the Categories as we now have it is also maintained by Valentinus Rose (De Arist. libr. ord., etc., p. 235). Ergo, the whole work is genuine, and its peculiar character is to be explained on the ground of its being one of the earliest attempts of Aristotle." (p. 528)

  6. ———. 1939. "The Authenticity of Aristotle's Categories." Journal of Philosophy no. 36:427-431

    Reprinted (conjoined with Husik 1904) in: I. Husik, The Categories of Aristotle (1942).

    "Habent sua fata libelli. Thirty-four years ago I published a paper, "On the Categories of Aristotle," in the Philosophical Review.(2) Like the case of the proverbial Irishman who desired to be buried in a Jewish cemetery because that was the last place the devil would look for an Irishman, so it seems that the Philosophical Review at that time was the last place where an Aristotelian scholar would look for a literary-historical article on the Categories of Aristotle. And so the article was stillborn. No European student of Aristotle knew about it and it did not find its way into the bibliographies of the subject. Dupréel, whose article on the same subject appeared five years later,(3) does not refer to my article and shows no knowledge of it." (p. 427)


    "There would be no point in reproducing here the arguments advanced in my article of long ago. All I need do here is to give the gist of the argument, which can be done in a few sentences.

    An examination of the treatise of the Categories and a comparison thereof with the Topics, in respect of terminology, style, and doctrine, proves conclusively that they are either the work of one author or that one was a close and deliberate imitator of the other. The same examination shows that the Categories was written before the Topics. Hence, since no one doubts the genuineness of the Topics, the Categories must be equally genuine, for no one has suggested that some one before Aristotle wrote the Categories, which Aristotle imitated in the Topics.

    Dupréel, as I said before, is the only one who has made a considerable contribution to the question since my article was published.

    His argument has no point of contact with mine, for he compares the Categories not with the Topics, but with the Metaphysics, and finds that they do not agree in doctrine.

    I have no reason to quarrel with Dupréel when he tries to show that the first nine chapters, the categories proper, and the last six chapters, the Postpraedicamenta, are a unit and the work of the same author, for my comparison of the treatise with the Topics has led me to the same conclusion." (p. 429)

    (2) Vol. XIII (1904), pp. 514-528. "Differences" on page 517, line 10 from bottom, should read "diffuseness."

  7. ———. 1942. "The Categories of Aristotle." In Philosophical Essays in Honor of Edgar Arthur Singer Jr., edited by Clarke, F. P. and Nahm, C. M., 317-334. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press

    Two articles conjoined: "The Categories of Aristotle" (1930) and "On the Categores of Aristotle" (1904).

    Reprinted in: I. Husik, Philosophical Essays. Ancient, Mediaeval, and Modern, Edited by Milton C. Nahm and Leo Strauss, Oxford: Blackwell, 1952, pp. 96-112.

  8. Irwin, Terence H. 1981. "Homonymy in Aristotle." The Review of Metaphysics no. 34:523-544

    "What, then, are Aristotle's conditions for homonymy and multivocity?

    It is often assumed that the conditions are different, but that they both reflect differences in the senses of words. 1 I will argue" that each of these assumptions is less than the whole truth; homonymy and multivocity are often the same, and neither is intended to mark different senses of words." (pp. 523-524, note omitted)


    [Aristotle] search for homonymy is not meant to encourage skepticism about the existence of essences for words to name, but to forestall skepticism that might result from the rejection of the Platonic attempt to see one essence for every name; Aristotle does not want to renounce the search for essences, but only to recognize different essences correlated with the same name. While the Wittgensteinian arguments about family resemblance are arguments against essentialism, Aristotle's arguments are a defence of essentialism. The difficulties in his doctrine of homonymy are difficulties in his general views about real essences." (p. 544)

  9. Jacobs, William. 1979. "Aristotle and Nonreferring Subjects." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 24:282-300

    "It is a widely accepted view amongst scholars that Aristotle believed that the subject of an assertion might fail to refer. Two texts, De Interpretatione xi 21 a 25-28 and Categories x 13 b 12-35, are generally cited as evidence for this belief. In this paper I will argue that both passages have previously been misunderstood and that Aristotle did not accept the possible referential failure of the subject of an assertion. In Section I, after first discussing the standard interpretations of both texts, I note the difficulties which result from these accounts. In Section II I offer a brief general argument showing that Aristotle's own account of what an assertion is implies that it is impossible for the subject of an assertion to fail to refer. In Section III I present my own analysis of each passage and show that when properly understood neither is in any way concerned with the problem of referential failure." (p. 282)

  10. Jacquette, Dale. 2012. "Brentano on Aristotle’s Categories: First Philosophy and the Manifold Senses of Being." In Franz Brentano's Psychology and Metaphysics, edited by Tănăsescu, Ion, 53-94. Zeta

    "Brentano’s 1862 dissertation, Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung des Seienden nach Aristoteles, is a scholarly historical study and philosophical consideration of Aristotle’s theory of categories.

    The categories in Aristotle’s first philosophy, as Brentano interprets them, are the mutually independent predicates of being at the highest levels of generality, in the variety of ways in which we speak about being. If correctly identified, the categories should correspond exactly to the multiple modes of existence or ways of being that are available to primary substances in the actual world as Aristotle conceptualizes them. As such, they are the categories not only of our predicative thoughts, but of the real existence of primary substances.

    Aristotle’s categories accordingly constitute the rock bottom of his first philosophy. They are his ontology, built on the Greek word “ontos” for “being”; or, better, melding “ousia” as Aristotle’s Greek term for ‘substance’, they are the fundamental concepts of his ousiology. The categories as the hierarchy of ways in which substance can have being are at the heart of Aristotle’s metaphysics in his theory of pure being, of being as such or being qua being. To the extent that Aristotle’s conceptual scheme for the being of substances captures the truth about the real objects whose multiple senses of being are thereby conceptualized, the categories of an Aristotelian first philosophy, as Brentano understands them, systematize the nature of being itself, of the most general ways and general senses in which anything can exist or be correctly said to exist. These not merely correspond to but are constitutive of the manifold ways in which being can be intelligibly predicated of things." (pp. 53-54 a note omitted)

  11. Jansen, Ludger. 2011. "Aristotle's Categories." Topoi no. 26:153-158

    "We need reliable techniques of information retrieval: search engines, indices, and categorisation.

    Faced with such an urgent need for categorisation, a book on categories is more than welcome.

    Aristotle, a young philosopher from Athens in Greece with a Macedonian background, has now published a philosophical investigation on this topic.

    Such could be the beginning of a review of Aristotle’s Categories, were it published today. The aim of this essay as an ‘‘Untimely Review’’ is to speculate how such a review would continue. Such an exercise in counterfactual history is easier when we review some neglected and hitherto uninfluential text. For such a text can really have a fresh impact on contemporary philosophy, whereas a classic text, being neither neglected nor uninfluential, is, as a rule, already an active force that has shaped and continues to shape the philosophical landscape. This applies in particular in the case of Aristotle’s Categories, which has been for more than two millennia one of the most influential textbooks in philosophy." (p. 353)


    "How could such a review conclude? Maybe thus: Aristotle’ Categories can help to find our way around the internet. The first question of any retrieval technique that is more than a search for strings of characters should be: To which category does the thing that I am searching for belong? Aristotle’s little treatise suggests helpful changes in perspective that could benefit contemporary ontology, and especially the steadily growing field of applied ontology. They can give new impulses towards applications in biomedical, legal or business information sciences, but also inspire new work on the old question: What is being?" (p. 158)

  12. Jones, Barrington. 1972. "Individuals in Aristotle's Categories." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy:107-123

    "With the publication of J. L. Ackrill's translation of the Categories(1) and G. E. L. Owen's paper "Inherence"(2) a dispute has arisen over what Aristotle means in that work by an individual where the individuals in question are not prime substances. The bulk of published opinion has favoured Ackrill's account of the matter,(3) an account which is also found in the writings of W. D. Ross and Miss Anscombe.(4) However, this account involves certain difficulties.

    The major difficulty is an internal one, the question of the interpretation of 2 a 34-b 6. This passage is described by Ackrill as "compressed and careless,"(5) while Owen claims that the matter "is put beyond question" in favour of his own view by the lines, and that "by themselves they settle the issue."(6) A second immediate difficulty is that such non-substantial individuals do not seem to reappear elsewhere in the Aristotelian corpus and are absent even from his discussion of the various categories in the Categories itself." (p. 107)


    "Accordingly, I wish to re-examine the issue. I shall try to show that what Aristotle means by a non-substantial individual is fully captured by neither of the two current accounts, that 2 a 34-b 6 has been misconstrued by both parties, that Aristotle's account is entirely reasonable, relying simply on an accurate observation of what is presupposed by the activity of counting, and, finally, that the account offered in the present paper enables us to understand aright his distinction between synonymy, homonymy and paronymy.(9)" (p. 108)

    (1) Aristotle's Categories and De Interpretatione (Oxford, 1963).

    (2) Phronesis, X (1965), pp. 97-105.

    (3) v. J. M. E. Moravcsik, "Aristotle on Predication," Philosophical Review, LXXVI (1967), pp. 80-96; G. B. Matthews and S. M. Cohen, "The One and the Many," Review of Metaphysics, XXI (1968), pp. 630-655; R. E. Allen, "Individual Properties in Aristotle's Categories," Phronesis, XIV (1969), pp. 31-39.

    (4) W. D. Ross, Aristotle (London, 1923), p. 24, n.1.; G. E. M. Anscombe and P. T. Geach, Three Philosophers (New York, 1961), pp. 7-10.

    (5) Ackrill, p. 83.

    (6) "Inherence," p. 100.

    (9) I shall suppose that the Categories is a genuine work of Aristotle's. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations from the Categories are those of Ackrill and all translations from elsewhere in the corpus are my own. The technical vocabulary of the Categories is used according to Ackrill's translation throughout.

  13. ———. 1975. "An Introduction to the First Five Chapters of Aristotle's Categories." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 20:146-172

    "In an earlier paper (1) I have argued that a satisfactory account of Aristotle's postulation of individuals, both substantial and nonsubstantial, in the Categories can be achieved by taking seriously his characterization of these individuals as things that are 'one in number' and by interpreting this characterization as 'a unit in a possible act of enumeration'. This approach to the Categories as important consequences for the interpretation of the remainder of the work.

    In this essay I wish to present an account of the first five chapters (bar chapter 4 which lays out the categories themselves) based on the former paper.

    In particular, I wish to examine the fourfold division of 'the things that are' in chapter 2 and the two relations of 'being said of' and 'being in' (or, rather, 'existing in') that are used to construct this fourfold division, and the nature of 'primary substance' (or, rather, 'primary being') and the basis for its distinction from 'secondary substance' (or, rather, 'secondary being'). The account that will be developed here is substantially and importantly different from any other that I am aware of, and, even if it does not secure conviction, its publication will hopefully make the dogma that the Categories is a 'common-sensical' work less readily tenable and force a re-thinking of the usual account of the work." (p. 146)

    (1) "Individuals in Aristotle's Categories," Phronesis, 17 (1972) 107-123.

  14. Jones, J. R. 1949. "Are the Qualities of Particular Things Universal or Particular?" The Philosophical Review no. 58:152-170

    "There are some curious things in the opening chapters of Aristotle's Categoriae. One is the admission, which seems to justify Porphyry's inclusion of the species as a fifth predicable, that "man" can be predicated of "the individual man." Another is the hint of a sense in which the qualities of a particular thing share in its particularity.

    A distinction drawn in the second chapter between "presence in a subject" and "assertability of a subject" yields a division of fundamental entities in which the opposition of "man" to "this individual man" is paralleled by a similar opposition of "white" to "this individual white." This doctrine is nowhere else repeated in Aristotle' and may have little relevance to a study of the development of the Peripatetic philosophy. But it does seem to me to provide a significant alternative to the view that all that is adjectival to a thing, that is, every quality of it, is universal. I have become increasingly dissatisfied with this view and would like, in what follows, to examine the alternative to it which seems to be implied in the passage of Aristotle's to which I am referring." [Cat. 1a, 16-1b, 9.] (p. 152)


    "I submit that Aristotle pointed to the correct solution of his problem (but regrettably missed the significance of it) when he suggested that what is "present in" substance, namely, its accidents or attributes, can be "individual and one in number." For the moment it is thus recognized that characters may occur unrepeatably, the bare substantival "this" becomes clothed in the content of an adjectival or attributive "thisness" and its individual essence need no longer be sought in an empty material substratum.(34)

    The view that characters are necessarily universals has been held by philosophers who have insisted that recognition presupposes acquaintance with a bare "this." But I should have thought it selfevident that an object which we may know by merely confronting must have content, as well as an existence, that is irrecurrably its own." (p. 170)

    (34) It is sometimes claimed that Aristotle redeemed his doctrine of individual essence by suggesting that the individual may possess a distinct form as well as distinct matter, that is, content, as well as a substrate, that is irrecurrably its own. But, as Cook Wilson has seen, it is only in terms of a doctrine of particular qualities that this suggestion can be made good. Speaking of Aristotle's description of particularity as "matter which has the form," he points out that "form" here must be "the particular quality of the thing and not the universal; it is the particular definiteness of the thing" (S.I. ii, 713).

  15. Kahn, Charles H. 1978. "Questions and Categories. Aristotle's Doctrine of Categories in the Light of Modern Research." In Questions, edited by Hiz, Henry, 227-278. Dordrecht: Reidel

    "The categories of Aristotle do not represent a complete logical inventory, a classification of all terms or concepts represented in language. They do attempt to classify all the terms of a basic object language, where these terms are specified by the questions that can be asked or answered concerning an individual subject. Hence the number of categories will be determined by the number of fundamentally distinct questions that can be raised concerning such a subject. As has often been pointed out, the full list of ten given in the Categories and in Topics 1.9 suggests that Aristotle must have taken a human being as his specimen subject, for only in this case would the two minor categories, Posture and Having (or Clothing) be natural topics of inquiry.

    There is, then, a factual connection between Aristotle's list of categories and the linguistic forms of question or inquiry. But what is the philosophical significance of this connection? Reflection on this matter may proceed along two quite distinct lines of thought, each of which could provide material for a study devoted to questions and categories. On the one hand, we might consider Aristotle's doctrine simply as an early example of the genre, and widen the concept of category to include modern theories of logical, conceptual, and grammatical categories. Our topic would then become: the connection between interrogative forms and categorial distinctions in general. On the other hand, we may keep our attention fixed on Aristotle's doctrine but generalize the remark about interrogative forms to include other grammatical or linguistic considerations. Our topic will then be: the significance of the connections between Aristotle's scheme of categories and certain facts of grammar, including the grammar of questions in Greek. It is this second topic that I propose to study here: I will discuss Aristotle's theory, not category theories in general." (pp. 227-228, notes omitted)


    "The doctrine of categories is not, after all, the central thesis in Aristotle’s ontology. It provides a kind of introduction to metaphysics and to theoretical philosophy in general, by sorting and circumscribing the domain of things that are beings per se, ‘in their own right’. When the categorial scheme is applied in connection with the focal meaning of being, it effects a preliminary unification and ordering of this domain in its ontological dependence on substance or ‘entity’. But in the final analysis the scheme does not tell us what is to count as an entity or how the structure of a substance is to be understood. The deeper analysis of substance itself and its relation to the dependent beings must be carried out by the use of different concepts, φυσικώς not λογκίώς as Aristotle will sometimes say, concepts derived not from the theory of predication but designed specifically for the analysis of natural motion and change: concepts like mover and goal (τέλος), matter and form, potency and act. Both physics and metaphysics culminate in the theory of the Unmoved Mover, the entity (or entities) whose being is actuality, the final cause of all motion and change, the ‘primary substance’ on which all other substances depend (Λ.7, 1072b 14; cf. Γ.2, 1003b16—17, E.1, 1026a27-31). In this ultimate perspective for ontology, which Aristotle himself never worked out in full detail, the preliminary contribution of the categories in distinguishing substance from the various kinds of dependent beings must seem quite modest and elementary. All the more reason, however, why the categorial scheme itself should be firmly rooted in humble, everyday questions like What is it? How big? Of what sort or quality? In relation to what? Where? and When?" (p. 266)

  16. Kampa, Samuel, and Wilkins, Shane Maxwell. 2018. "Aristotle as a Non Classical Trope Theorist." History of Philosophy Quarterly no. 35:117-136

    "A common refrain in Aristotle scholarship is that Aristotle countenances tropes. Roughly, trope theory is the view that properties are abstract particulars. In contemporary metaphysics, trope theory is an alternative to realism—the view that properties are abstract universals—and to nominalism—the view that properties are neither abstract particulars nor abstract universals. While contemporary trope theorists sometimes cite Aristotle as an influence, Aristotle’s trope theory has yet to be thoroughly cashed out in the language of contemporary metaphysics. Contemporary trope theory is not monolithic, so the claim that “Aristotle is a trope theorist” only communicates so much about Aristotle’s view. A more informative analysis would specify what kind of trope theorist Aristotle is. In this paper, we provide such an analysis.

    We begin by describing realism, nominalism, and trope theory interms recognizable to both historians of philosophy and contemporary metaphysicians. We distinguish two species of trope theory: classical and

    nonclassical. On the basis of critical passages from Aristotle’s Categories and Metaphysics, we argue that Aristotle’s view of properties aligns most closely with nonclassical trope theory. We conclude with a call for

    further research on Aristotle’s distinctive contribution to debates in contemporary trope theory." (p. 117)

  17. Kapp, Ernst. 1942. Greek Foundations of Traditional Logic. New York: Columbia University Press

    Contents: Preface V-VIII; I. The origin of logic as a science 5; II. Concepts, terms, definitions, ideas, categories 20; III. Judgments, subject and predicate 43; IV. Syllogisms 60; V. Induction: ancient and modern logic 75; Books cited 89; Index 91-95.

    On the categories see pp. 36-42.

    "There is no doubt that the book Categories is partly responsible for the contents of this first part of traditional logic, because it professes to deal with the significance of unconnected parts of sentences; but the Topics, our earliest document, not only of Aristotle's treatment of syllogisms but also of categories, shows that the doctrine of categories was originally a doctrine of sentence-predicates and was only later transformed by Aristotle himself into some scheme for pigeonholing whatever carries a single word as its name." (p. 23)


    "[Categories] contains, on the basis of a short but very interesting preparatory section (chaps. I-III), which one might call more·logical than ontological, a minute description of the first four categories (substance, quantity, relation, and quality), in which an ontological point of view seems to prevail. The doctrine here revealed is far from the flexible subtleties of Aristotle's fully developed metaphysics, but there are some striking coincidences with statements otherwise peculiar to the Topics; and the conclusion that the treatise Categories was a comparatively early work by Aris.totle himself is fairly safe.

    In any case, even without reference to the question of authorship and chronology it can be stated that nowhere else in Aristotle's writings is the source of the difficulties which are inherent in the later form of the doctrine so transparent as here." (p. 40)

  18. Kenny, Anthony John Patrick. 1983. "A Stylometric Comparison Between Five Disputed Works and the Remainder of the Aristotelian Corpus." In Zweifelhaftes im Corpus Aristotelicum. Studien zu einigen Dubia. Akten des 9. Symposium Aristotelicum, Berlin, 7-16 September 1981, edited by Moraux, Paul and Wiesner, Jürgen, 345-366. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter

    [The five dubious works examined are: Categoriae, Meteorologica IV, De Motu Animalium, Metaphysica α, Metaphysica Κ.]

    "What can stylometric techniques tell us about the authenticity of the five possibly Aristotelian works which are the topic of this Symposion? In the present state of our knowledge it is not easy to give a precise answer to this question. There is no doubt, to my mind, that the statistical examination of literary style is a valuable auxiliary tool in the study of the questions which interest the philologist and the philosopher who approach an ancient text. But to decide whether a work is genuine or spurious is one of the most difficult tasks for stylometry." (p. 345)


    "A firm stylometric conclusion about the authenticity of the works which are the topic of this symposion would have to be based on a truly gigantic amount of investigation: investigation which would take a very long time even now when machine-readable texts of Aristotle are available and when computers will produce concordances, word counts, and statistical analyses with a modicum of effort. The present essay offers only a minute contribution to such an investigation. It studies the use of twenty-four common particles and connectives in the dubious works, comparing the four commonest of them with virtually the whole Aristotelian corpus, and the other twenty with a large sample of some three hundred thousand words, which constitute about thirty per cent of the round million words of the entire corpus. The essay will provide only tentative indications of the genuineness or spuriousness of the works in dispute; but it will illustrate the difficulties and pitfalls of the use of stylometric methods in authorship attribution studies.

    The four commonest particles in the Aristotelian corpus are καί, δέ, γάρ and μέν, in that order. Between them these four particles constitute around fourteen per cent of a typical Aristotelian text. Because of their frequency and topic-neutrality they provide suitable material for statistical study. We shall use them as a starting-point for a comparison between the dubious works and the rest of the Aristotelian corpus." (pp. 346-347)


    "The overall conclusion, then, of this study is as follows. We have discovered in our examination of twenty four particles no real evidence suggesting the spuriousness of Metaph. K or of Mot. Anim. But the frequencies of άλλά, δή, διό, ώσπερ and γε in Cat. and of καί, μέν, δέ, αν, γε, διό in Mete. IV are eccentric enough to be suspicious. And the overall picture of particle usage in Metaph. α appears to be quite different from that in other works of Aristotle." (pp. 365-366)

  19. King, Colin Guthrie. 2018. "Aristotle’s Categories in the 19th Century." In Aristotelian Studies in 19th Century Philosophy, edited by Hartung, Gerald, King, Colin Guthrie and Rapp, Christoph, 11-36. Berlin: de Gruyter

    Abstract: "This chapter explores interpretive debates about Aristotle’s Categories in the 19th century. The interpretation of this text became the locus to pursue the further philosophical aim of defending logic against an epistemological recalibration of concepts such as that found in the transcendental and metaphysical deductions of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. As Colin Guthrie King argues, this was the ultimate philosophical ambition of Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg’s interpretation of Aristotle’s doctrine of categories, but perhaps more important than this project itself were its derivatives: a model for the proper philosophical interpretation of an ancient philosophical text, and an exemplary model of how to defend such a text against an influential anachronistic interpretation."

  20. Kohl, Markus. 2008. "Substancehood and Subjecthood in Aristotle's Categories." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 53:172-179

    Abstract: "I attempt to answer the question of what Aristotle’s criteria for ‘being a substance’ are in the Categories. On the basis of close textual analysis, I argue that subjecthood, conceived in a certain way, is the criterion that explains why both concrete objects and substance universals must be regarded as substances. It also explains the substantial primacy of concrete objects. But subjecthood can only function as such a criterion if both the subjecthood of concrete objects and the subjecthood of substance universals can be understood as philosophically significant phenomena. By drawing on Aristotle’s essentialism, I argue that such an understanding is possible: the subjecthood of substance universals cannot simply be reduced to that of primary substances. Primary and secondary substances mutually depend on each other for exercising their capacities to function as subjects. Thus, subjecthood can be regarded as a philosophically informative criterion for substancehood in the Categories."

  21. Kosman, Louis Aryeh. 1967. "Aristotle's First Predicament." The Review of Metaphysics no. 20:483-506

    Reprinted in: Mary L. O'Hara (ed.), Substances and Things. Aristotle's Doctrine of Physical Substance in Recent Essays, Washington: University Press of America, 1982, pp. 19-42.

    "Is the aristotelian list of categories, enigmatically entitled "κατηγορίαι-predicates," a list of terms classifying types of predicates, or a list of predicates classifying types of entities? Consider two ways in which a list of categories might be generated. Given some entity, we may distinguish different types of questions which we ask about it, such that each type determines a limited and exclusive range of appropriate answers."


    "Alternatively, we might attend not to the different answers appropriate to different questions asked about the same entity, but to the different answers which result when, about different entities, the same question is asked repeatedly, the question "What is it?"


    "Each ultimate answer will signify a supreme and irreducible genus of entity, not a type of predicate, but a predicate, effecting a classification of things into their ultimate types." (pp. 483-484)

  22. Kung, Joan. 1986. "Aristotle on "Being Is Said in Many Ways"." History of Philosophy Quarterly no. 3:3-18

    "It is a well-known Aristotelian dictum that "that which is may be so called in many ways" (Met. 1003a33). He also says,"Such things as signify the schemata of predication are said to be per se. For to be signifies

    in the same number of ways as these are spoken of' (Met. 1017a23), and he speaks of "categories of being" (e.g. at Met. 1045b28-29). Gareth B. Matthews(1) has raised the following question with regard to passages such as those just cited:

    Is Aristotle supposing in such passages that (a) there are different senses of "being,"(2) or (b) there are different kinds of being, or (c) both?

    Matthews has shown that the claims that a term has different senses and that it refers to different kinds are not two ways of saying the same thing. We should note also that his question is not the same question as

    whether the categories range over things or senses. I shall assume we may be confident that Aristotle takes himself to be talking about extra-linguistic and extra-conceptual entities, and I shall say a bit more about

    this in Section IV below. To answer the latter question, however, is not to answer the former." (p. 3)

    (1) Gareth B. Matthews, "Senses and Kinds," The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 69 (1972), pp. 149-157.

    (2) The presence of a neuter "the" before "being" at 1003a33 may provide some slight evidence that he is speaking of the word.

  23. Kunkel, Joseph C. 1971. "A New Look at Non-Essential Predication in the “Categories”." The New Scholasticism no. 45:110-116

    "Recent commentators appear in general agreement over the essential nature of the expression 'predicated of' in Aristotle's Categories(1) 'Predicated of' denominates the genus-species-individual or essence-singular relationship. Only the species, genus, or essence is predicable of the individual subject. Accidental predication is prohibited. Moreover, the species and genera can be subjects, but individuals can never be predicates.

    My opposition is not to the expression 'predicated of' including the species, genera, or essences as predicable of individuals, but to this expression as only including, or being equivalent to, that type of predication. Does 'predicated of' exclude accident. as predicable of substances? Reflecting the thinking or the other commentators, C.-H. Chen says, "What it is still more important to observe in this connection is that in the Categoriae no intergeneric predication and, therefore, also no intercategorical predication are conceived to be genuine predication.(2) I think the limitation of predication to essential, categorical lines is untenable for three reasons." (p. 110)

    (1) Cf. S. Mansion, "La doctrine aristotélicienne de la substance et le traité des Categories," Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Philosophy, I, pt. II (Amsterdam, 1949), pp. 1097-98; L. M. de Rijk, The Place of the Categories of Being in Aristotle's Philosophy {Assen, 1952), p. 70; C.-H. Chen, "On Aristotle's Two Expressions: ϰαθ᾿ ὑποϰειμένου λέγεσθαι and ἐν ὑποϰειμένῳ ἐιναι" Phronesis, 2 {1957), 149-50; J. Owens, "Aristotle on Categories," Review of Metaphysics, 14 (1960-61), 75-76; J. L. Ackrill, Aristotle's Categories and De Interpretatione (Oxford, l963), pp. 74-76 ; G. E. L. Owen, "Inherence," Phronesis, 10 (1965). 97-98; and J. M. E. Moravcsik, "Aristotle on Predication," Philosophical Review, 16 (1967), 85-93.

    (2) Chen, Phronesis, 2, 150.

  24. Kuntz, Marion Leathers, and Grimley, Kuntz Paul. 1988. "Naming the Categories: Back to Aristotle by Way of Whitehead." The Journal of Speculative Philosophy no. 2:30-47

    "Any one who looks at Aristotle's Categories in Greek must notice that the main category is expressed by a pronoun, and all the others are adverbs and verbs.(1) Without going through innumerable commentaries and translations one cannot have a full story; but the result in Latin and English is generally to edge out the pronoun 'τι' in the question τι εστί' and to use only Aristotle's noun οὐσία and from then on all adverbs and verbs are translated into Latin or English nouns. This may seem a trivial point of grammar and indeed the dullest and somewhat dubious aspect of grammar, parts-of-speech.

    But if our language is to help us in ordering our activities and grouping our experiences into the structure of things and events, surely it makes a great difference whether we communicate in verbs or in nouns. If

    we communicate with an emphasis on the verb, we go naturally to the adverb to distinguish more subtly. If we communicate in nouns, we go to adjectives to make distinctions. It is the latter that leads to classification." (p. 30)

  25. Kwan, Tze-Wan. 2008. "The Doctrine of Categories and the Topology of Concern." In The Logic of the Living Present (Analecta Husserliana, Vol. 46), edited by Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa, 243-301. Dordrecht: Kluwer

    "Introduction. There is little doubt that the problem of categories has been among one of the most frequently discussed topics in philosophy ever since Aristotle.

    Important as it was, the problem of categories has however become in the eyes of todays' students of philosophy an old-fashioned or even out-dated problem. If philosophy itself is for most people a marginal discipline of little practical value, then the problem of categories would turn out to be the most abstract and most detached issue of all. But is the problem of categories really that abstract?

    Compared with more sensuous problems such as "Life and Death", "Freedom" or "Justice", the problem of categories gives us the impression of being a matter of theoretical technicality that is of mere scholastic interest. However, we will see bit by bit in the following, that the problem of categories has in the last analysis a strong relevance to the basic concerns of philosophy as well as to the very world perspective of man.

    We will also show that as man's basic concerns vary from culture to culture and from one age to another, the respective systems of categories will take up an utterly different structural outlook." (p. 243)


    "If we examine the original Greek expressions of the ten categories, we discover that they are not at all abstract conceptual expressions, but rather a checklist of some very commonly used everyday locutions. Take the categories 1t0'O and 1to't~ for example: if

    it was Aristotle's wish to express what we now call Place and Time, he could have readily used expressions such as 't61to~ and Xp6vo~ which were already very common in those days.

    Taking this point into consideration, one can decide upon another principle of translation. Instead of rendering the ten categories as ten abstract conceptions, one might describe them as ten basic patterns of ordinary locution (or better, interrogation) arriving thus at the following table: (19)

    Οὐσία [τί ἐστι] Substantive

    Ποσόν Adjective (quantitative)

    Ποιόν Adjective (qualitative)

    Πρός τι Adjective (comparative)

    Ποῦ Adverb of place

    Πότε Adverb of time

    Κεῖσθαι Verb - middle voice

    Εχειν Verb - perfect

    Ποιεῖν Verb - active voice

    Πάσχειν Verb - passive voice

    (19) See Aristotle's Categories, translated by Harold P. Cooke, Aristotle in Twenty-three Volumes, Vo!. 1; The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1938/1973), pp. 16-19.

  26. Labuda, Pavol. 2019. "The Ontological Status of Human Speech in Aristotle‘s "Categories"." Filosoficky Casopis no. 67:877-894

    Abstract: "The subject of this paper is the issue of human speech in Aristotle, especially in his work Categories. Its primary goal is to elaborate an interpretation of Aristotle’s statements about human speech as a quantity (Cat. 4b20–b39, 5a15–b2) that would allow them to fit reasonably into the whole of Aristotle’s theory of language. The structure of the paper is as follows. In the first part a certain approach to the question of the reconstruction of Aristotle’s theory of language is proposed. The second part, by means of the introduction of the criteria of separability and ontological priority of the first substance, creates a framework for the subsequent analysis of the two basic classifications, which constitute the main theme of Categories. The third part supplies its own interpretation of the ontological status of human speech in the context of the classification schemes in Categories, and this, in the fourth part, is inserted into the greater whole of Aristotle’s theory of language."

  27. Lang, Helen. 2004. "Aristotle's Categories "Where" and "When"." In Categories: Historical and Systematic Essays, edited by Gorman, Michael and Sanford, Jonathan J., 21-32. Washington: Catholic University of America Press

    "The word “category” itself comes from the verb κατηγορέω, meaning “to denounce,” “to accuse,” or, as we shall see in Aristotle, “to be predicated.” In his entry “Categories” in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Manley Thompson turns first to “Aristotelian Theory” and asserts:

    The word “category” was first used as a technical term in philosophy by Aristotle. In his short treatise called Categories, he held that every uncombined expression signifies (denotes, refers to) one or more things falling in at least on of the following ten classes: substance, quantity, quality, relation, place, time, posture, state, action, and passion.(1)

    This list of categories is almost always attributed to Aristotle. But in fact it does not reflect Aristotle's language either in the Categories, which Thompson cites, or in the rest of the corpus. With the exception of the first category, substance, none of Aristotle’s categories is a noun;(2) they are adjectives, adverbs, infinitives, and in one case (“relation”) a prepositional phrase, made to stand as substantives. Although classical Greek certainly allows for the formation of substantives by means of a definite article, Aristotle does not always use an article when specifying categories, and even when he does, these expressions seem odd. Indeed, they are part of the reason why Aristotle’s Greek is often thought of as Hellenistic rather than “classical,” strictly speaking.

    The question for a philosopher is not translation per se but what is at stake substantively in this apparently linguistic matter. Here I shall consider two of Aristotle’s categories. They appear above as “place” and “time,” but I shall argue that they are more properly “where” and “when”—indefinite adverbs that are sometimes best translated as “somewhere” and “sometime.” I shall conclude that the translations “place” and “time” obscure important substantive issues at stake in these categories. These issues appear clearly in both the historical origins of these categories in Plato and in the relation of these categories to Aristotle’s physics." (pp. 21-22)

    1. Manley Thompson, “Categories,” in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards (New York: Macmillan, 1967), 2:46–47.

    2. A good deal of work has been done on the etymology of Aristotle’s word οὐσία. For example, see the excellent discussion in Joseph Owens, The Doctrine of Being in the Aristotelian Metaphysics, 3d ed. (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1978), 137–54.

  28. Leszl, Walter. 1970. Logic and Metaphysics in Aristotle (Aristotle's Treatment of Types of Equivocity and Its Relevance to His Metaphysical Theories). Padova: Antenore

    Contents: Preface 1; Introduction 7; Part I. Aristotle on Meaning and What Is Meant 23; Chapter I. The meaning of words 25; Chapter II. The unity of the components of definition 50; Chapter III. The structure of reality 60; Part II. Homonymy, Sinonymy and Related Concepts 81; Chapter I. Aristotle’s classification of the uses of predicate words and expressions and of sentences 83; Chapter II. Generalities on focal meaning and on analogy 114; Part III. Some Intepreters Treatment of Focal Meaning and Analogy 133; Chapter I. The prevailing accounts of focal meaning and of analogy and of Aristotle’s employment of them in the context of his metaphysics 135; Chapter II. The synonymy account of focal meaning as applied to the being of the categories 162; Chapter III. The synonymy account of focal meaning as applied to the model-copy situation 182; Part IV. Close Analysis of the Logical Mechanism of Focal Meaning and f Analogy According to the Various Competing Accounts 203; Chapter I. Criticism of the synonymy account of focal meaning as applied to the being of the categories 205; Chapter II. Criticism of the synonymy account of focal meaning as applied to the model-copy situation 252; Chapter III. Introduction of some logical distinctions concerning relations and related terms and of some other accounts of focal meaning 285; Chapter IV. The homonymy account of focal meaning and of analogy 303; Part V. Evidence for and Againt each of the Competing Accounts of Focal Meaning and of Analogy 327; Chapter I. Examination of the evidence concerning Aristotle’s alleged changes in his treatment of words with focal meaning and with analogy 329; Chapter II. Interpretation of the evidence concerning analogy 373; Chapter III. Interpretation of the evidence concerning focal meaning 387; Part VI. Aristotle's Criticism of Platonic Metaphysics 451; Chapter I. Self-defeating character of Aristotle's objections to Plato on the traditional account of his metaphysical thought 453; Chapter II. Suggestions towards the elimination of the alleged contradictions in Aristotle's metaphysical thought 486; Chapter III. Aristotle's methodology as contrasted with the methodology of the Academics 539; Bibliography 553; Indexes 567; Index of Texts 569; Index of Greek terms 579; Index of Subjects 583; Index of Persons 595-601.

    "The generality of the main title of the present work may be misleading as to its actual scope, which is more appropriately defined by its subtitle. It is an inquiry into Aristotle’s treatment of ομωνυμία and of its species, considered in the background of his metaphysical theories, which both condition and are conditioned by that logical treatment. It is the prevalence of an interest in these two-way conditionings which is expressed by the main title.

    Tn spite of misgivings, then, I have preserved it on this ground, and also because the work is meant to be a part of a more comprehensive treatment of logic and metaphysics in Aristotle, which should include a detailed examination of the way in which the logical distinctions here introduced are used in dealing with fundamental words like “being”, “one” and “good”. At least in the conclusive chapter I have actually gone beyond (he theme defined by the subtitle by showing that Aristotle’s treatment of types of equivocity is only one instance, if probably the most important and interesting one, of his methodology of definition." (Preface, p. 1)

  29. Lewis, Frank A. 1991. Substance and Predication in Aristotle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

    Part I: Aristotle's Ealier Metaphysical Theory, pp. 3-82.

    "The book is organized into four parts, corresponding to what I take to be the different stages in Aristotle’s metaphysical thinking. Part I offers a sketch of perhaps the earliest phase of Aristotle’s thinking in the Categories and his reaction to the background in Plato’s metaphysical theory. Part II examines Aristotle’s notions of substance, accident, accidental compounds, and the two sameness relations ‘x is accidentally the same asy ’ and ‘x is the same in being as y’. Part III extends the treatment of accidental compounds in Part II to form-matter compounds and to the notions of form and matter, which do not appear in Aristotle’s earlier works but are central to the theories of the Metaphysics. Part IV, finally, addresses the special problems that Aristotle’s new metaphysical theory brings. I set out some of the classic puzzles that bedevil Aristotle’s later metaphysics - for example, the puzzle of how in the Metaphysics an Aristotelian form is apparently both a primary substance and a universal, while Aristotle also insists that “no universal is a substance,” or again, the puzzle of how form is a primary substance and a universal, and hence predicated of many, while “primary substance is not predicated of any subject” - and argue that they result from Aristotle’s attempt to adapt the various requirements on primary substance developed in his earlier works (the Categories and Topics especially) to the very different metaphysical picture - including a different choice of what to count as primary substance! - in the Metaphysics. I also show how the solutions I suggest to these puzzles fit within the overall theory, large parts of which have already been laid out in earlier chapters." (p. X)

  30. ———. 2004. "Aristotle on the Homonymy of Being." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 68:1-36

    "The topic of homonymy, especially the variety of homonymy that has gone under the title, “focal meaning,” is of fundamental importance to large portions of Aristotle’s work-not to mention its central place in the ongoing controversies between Aristotle and Plato. It is quite astonishing, therefore, that the topic should have gone so long without a book-length treatment.

    And it is all the more gratifying that the new book on homonymy by Christopher Shields should be so comprehensive, and of such uniformly high quality.(1)

    Everyone who cares about Aristotle will be in his debt.

    Shields’s book falls into two parts. In the first, he is concerned to lay out the basic structure of Aristotle’s views about homonymy; in the second part, we are led through the various applications of the idea, to the analysis of friendship, for example, the homonymy of the body, the account of goodness and, not least, the homonymy of being. Shields’s book brings out well how the topic of homonymy weaves in and out of the fabric of Aristotle’s thinking in a variety of areas. I will resist the temptation to follow Shields through these various subject-matters, and instead take up essentially two topics. First, (I), the basic outline of Aristotle’s notion of homonymy, more or less independently of its different applications (here, I follow Shields’s example in the first half of his book). Thereafter, I discuss a single application: the homonymy of being (this is the subject of Shields’s last and longest chapter). Here, I will be interested (II) in how homonymy relates to the theory of the categories; and (III) in the application of homonymy to the analysis of substance in the Metaphysics." (p. 1)

    (1) Shields, Christopher (1999), Order in Multiplicity: Homonymy in the Philosophy of Aristotle, Oxford.

  31. Lloyd, Antony C. 1962. "Genus, Species and Ordered Series in Aristotle." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 7:67-90

    "Aristotle claims that when objects have an order of priority their common predicate or universal is not something apart from them.

    It will be convenient from time to time to refer to such objects as terms, for they are terms of an ordered series; and for a similar convenience the groups containing them will be called P-series. Aristotle's claim is expressly used as the premiss of more than one argument in his works; and the Neoplatonists made very interesting comments on it.

    I wish to ask and to suggest an answer to the questions what Aristotle meant by it and why he made it. The matter was expounded some fifty years ago by Cook Wilson, not for the first time but in a way of his own

    which has been repeated (among others) by Sir David Ross.(1) Their interpretation is, I feel sure, quite misleading and I believe it to be just wrong. Apart from that there are more questions to be asked about the

    Aristotelian passages than it was Cook Wilson's purpose to ask and perhaps more than he recognised. Thirdly the ancient commentators' arguments, which he ignored, are both to the point and worth considering

    for their own development of Aristotelianism. Some of them are echoed in the criticisms of modern idealists. These arguments are concerned with the logical relationship of species to genus. I shall try to show that Aristotle's thesis about P-series raises the crucial problem how an "appropriate differentia" is to be distinguished from any apparently defining characteristic; and to solve this is to discover how the relation of a species like man or dog to the genus animal differs from the relation of a quasi-species like male or female." (p. 67)

    (1) J. Cook Wilson, "On the Platonic doctrine of ἀσύμβλητοι ἀριθμοί", Classical Review XVIII (1904), pp. 247-60, esp. §§ i and 7; W. D. Ross ad Ar. Met. B 999a6-10. L. Robin, Théorie pIatonicienne des idées et des nombres ...., pp. 614-18 uses more material from A. but really says less that explains.

  32. ———. 1966. "Aristotle's Categories Today." Philosophical Quartely no. 16:258-267

    Review-article of: Aristotle's Categories and De Interpretatione, translated with notes, by J. L. Ackrill (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963).

    "The Categories have always had at least three centres of interest: the distinction of primary and secondary substances, the concept of homonymy and synonymy and its application to the concept of being, and the more or less formal properties discovered in the categories one by one. I shall be concerned mostly with the first.

    To my judgement there is a comparatively simply way into the categories according to which the word translated ' substance ' means 'being ' and the primary notion of being is existence. (This is the είναι απλώς opposed to είναι επί μέρους, i.e.είναι τοδί ή τοδί (of An. Post. II 2 and Met. Z 1, 1028a31.) About existence we can ask (or so it seems) " what is it to exist? " and "what exists" The first question is given, though not in the Categories, the answer "to be active " (energeia). The second question could be a request to identify everything that there is, which would not even prima facie be a sensible request. Or it could be a request to identify the sorts of thing that exist: this is given two answers in the Categories, individuals and those genera and species which are composed of individuals. But so as to understand the ten categories we can distinguish these two kinds of things from all the kinds of things-or, what it is superfluous to add, all the kinds of things there are (onta), which are the ten categories. The individuals and the species and genera are then called 'beings', in the plural and in the usage which has regularly been translated 'substances'." (p. 258)

  33. Loux, Michael. 1997. "Kinds and Predications: An Examination of Aristotle's Theory of Categories." Philosophical Papers no. 26:3-28

    "The classificatory framework Aristotle calls the categories appears repeatedly throughout the corpus. The treatise that opens the corpus has come to be known as the Categories and is apparently concerned to delineate the central features of the most important and potentially most puzzling of the categories listed there.(1) The categories reappear in subsequent works of the Organon, where they are put to substantive philosophical use in the resolution of semantical, logical, and epistemological problems. In numerous places in the Physics, we meet with the claim that there is a variety of different categories, each with its own distinct ontological properties, and the claim plays a significant role in delineating the general contours of the concept of change. In the De Anima, Aristotle’s attempt to characterize the soul takes the classification provided by the categories as its theoretical backdrop.

    Again, in the Metaphysics, there is regular reference to the framework of the categories, and the distinctions expressed by the framework prove crucial to the treatment of ontological problems about being, unity, and substance. Even in the ethical writings, Aristotle reminds us that there are different categories of being and uses the reminder as a vehicle for introducing us to central metaethical claims about the semantics of ‘good’. It is not unreasonable, then, to conclude that Aristotle took the classification associated with the categories to be a fundamental feature of his own approach to philosophical issues." (p. 3)

    (1) For doubts about the traditional reading of the Categories, see Michael Frede, ‘Categories in Aristotle’ in his Essays in Ancient Philosophy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), 1987, pp. 29-48.

  34. Mahlan, John Robert. 2019. "Aristotle on Secondary Substance." Apeiron no. 52:167-197

    Abstract: "At the beginning of Categories 5, Aristotle distinguishes between two kinds of substance: primary substance and secondary substance. Primary substances include particular living organisms, inanimate objects, and their parts.

    Secondary substances are the species and genera of these. This distinction is unique to the Categories, which raises the question of why Aristotle treats species and genera as substances. I argue that Aristotle has two distinct reasons for doing so, and contrast my interpretation with recent alternatives. On my view, species and genera enjoy two kinds of fundamentality – ontological and epistemological – in virtue of which they warrant their status as substances."

  35. Malcolm, John. 1981. "On the Generation and Corruption of the Categories." The Review of Metaphysics no. 33:662-681

    "It is tempting to assume that an obvious way in which Aristotle determined his list of categories was to take a primary substance as subject and classify its predicates. (1) The advantage of this suggestion is that it appears to give us the list of categories given at Categories 1 b25 ff. For example, if we take Socrates as subject, then, when we predicate man of him, we get a predicate which is a substance (ousia). When we consider "Socrates is grammatical" we get a predicate in quality or "how qualified" (poion). "Socrates is in the market place" gives us place or "where" (pou) and so on.

    Although I shall propose that, in the case of the first category, ousia, this is not how Aristotle, in fact, proceeds in the Categories (see p. 674 below), the major shortcoming of this procedure is that it cannot account for individuals, and a fortiori individual substances, as items in the categories." (p. 662)


    "My procedure, therefore, will not be to start with the SRPR [subject restricted to substance predicate relative] option and try to adjust it to harmonize with the doctrine of the work entitled Categories, nor indeed to take this work as my point of departure, for, somewhat paradoxically, I shall contend that the list of Categories 1b25 ff. was assembled in a rather haphazard fashion. I shall, in fact, begin with Topics 1.9 and, taking this as basic, endeavor to explain the other relevant passages in the Aristotelian corpus in the light of what is to be found there." (p. 663)

    (1) See J. Ackrill, Aristotle's Categories and De Interpretatione (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1963), pp. 78-79, for this alternative.

  36. Malink, Marko. 2007. "Categories in Topics I.9." Rhizai. A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science no. 4:271-294

    "In the first sentence of Topics 1.9, Aristotle proposes to determine the γένη τών κατηγοριών. These are the ten categories he is going to discuss in this chapter. He seems to think of them as genera classifying items which are referred to as κατηγορίαι. What are these items? Commentators tend to agree that they are either predications or predicates.(1) In the first case, the categories would classify items such as ‘Socrates is white’ or ‘man is animal’. In the second case, they would classify terms such as ‘white’ or ‘animal’ which are able to serve as predicates of predications. The two options need not be incompatible with each other, for the categories might provide a classification both of predicates and of predications. At any rate, we should like to determine the criteria by which the categories manage to classify either predicates or predications or both." (p. 271)

  37. Mann, Wolfgang-Rainer. 2000. The Discovery of Things. Aristotle's Categories and Their Context. Princeton: Princeton University Press

    Contents: Acknowledgments IX; A Note on Citations XI; Introduction 3; Part I. Setting the stage: The "Antepraedicamenta" and the "Praedicamenta" 39; Part II: Plato's metaphysics and the status of things 75; PART III. The categories picture once more: an alternative to Platonism and late-learnerism 184; Epilogue 205; Select Bibliography 207; Index Locorum 219; Index Rerum 226-231.

    "1. The Project

    In two of his early works—in the Categories especially, but also in the Topics—Aristotle presents a revolutionary metaphysical picture. This picture has had a peculiar fate. Its revolutionary theses are so far from being recognized as such that they have often been taken to be statements of common sense, or expressions of an everyday, pretheoretical ontology.2 The most striking and far-reaching of those theses is the claim that, included among what there is, among the entities (τά δντα), there are things. Aristotle, famously, goes on to maintain that these things are ontologically fundamental. All the other entities are (whatever they are)3 by being appropriately connected to the things, for example, either as their features (their qualities, sizes, relations-to-each-other, locations, and so on), or as their genera and species, that is, the kinds under which the things fall.4 These further claims and their proper interpretation have received considerable discussion. Yet the fundamental one has gone virtually unnoticed. To formulate it most starkly: before the Categories and Topics^ there were no things. Less starkly: things did not show up ^5 things, until Aristotle wrote those two works." (pp. 3-4)


    "With a better understanding of Plato’s metaphysical picture before us, we will be in a position to appreciate just how revolutionary and innovative Aristotle is being in the Categories and Topics. We will also be able to see how Aristotle set the stage for turning “the unaccustomed” into “longstanding custom” (Heidegger’s phrase). The unique and central role which the Categories played in the philosophical curricula of late antiquity and the Latin middle ages obviously contributed enormously to this philosophical picture’s successful ascendancy, to the point where it truly could appear to be nothing more than a reflection of common sense, precisely because it had become a part of common sense. And I am inclined to believe that this success, to a large extent, also explains why Plato is read in the ways he is commonly read: the mistake is neither one of simply overlooking something obvious—or not so obvious—nor one of inadvertently smuggling in Aristotelian notions. Rather, the ascent and dominance of the ontological picture of the Categories has so thoroughly eclipsed other pictures and interpretative possibilities that they cannot even come into view, much less be made to seem plausible, without considerable effort." (p. 6)

  38. Matthen, Mohan. 1978. "The Categories and Aristotle's Ontology." Dialogue.Canadian Philosophical Review no. 17:228-243

    Abstract: "What where Aristotle's aims in the Categories? We can probably all agree that he wanted to say something about different uses of the verb 'to be' - something relevant to ontology. The conventional interpretation goes further: it has Books Γ and Ζ of the Metaphysics superseding theories put forward in the Categories. We should expect then that the Categories and these books of the Metaphysics try to do the same sort of thing. Most exegetes do indeed ascribe to the earlier work fairly elaborate ontologies, though they are in disagreement as to what theory Aristotle held while writing it. I shall argue in this paper that the whole enterprise of reconstructing the ontology of the Categories from its small stock of clues is misguided; that the business of the Categories is to set out data for which the Metaphysics tries to account. This view is not without consequences relevant to some widely held theses. I shall claim that the differences between the Categories and the Metaphysics cannot uncritically be used to trace the development of Aristotle's ontology, that the differences between the two doctrines has been greatly exaggerated. More of this later: let me first explain the distinction on which I shall depend."

  39. Matthews, Gareth B. 1989. "The Enigma of Categories 1a20ff and Why it Matters." Apeiron no. 22:91-104

    Of things there are: (a) some are said of a subject but are not in a subject ... (b) some are in a subject but not said of any subject. (By 'in a subject' I mean what is in something, not as a part, and cannot exist separately from what it is in.) ... (c) Some are both said of a subject and in a subject ... (d) some are neither in a subject nor said of a subject, ...'(1)

    Perhaps no passage in Aristotle has excited more attention in recent years, or aroused more controversy, than the second paragraph of Chapter 2 of the Categories, from which the above quotation is taken.

    I want to offer a fresh assessment of this recent discussion, as well as some thoughts on why the controversy remains philosophically important.

    Paradoxically, I shall offer my fresh assessment by presenting some of the discussion of an ancient commentator, Ammonius.(2) After we have learned what we can from Ammonius, I shall say a little about why it matters which interpretation of Cat. 1a20ff we accept." (p. 91)

    (1) Categories 1a20ff. The translation is by J.L. Ackrill, Aristotle's Categories and De Interpretatione, (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1963).

    (2) I choose Ammonius, not because he is especially original, but because I am currently working with Marc Cohen on an English translation of his commentary on the Categories and hence am most familiar with it. [Ammonius, On Aristotle’s Categories, translated by

    S. Marc Cohen and Gareth B. Matthews, Ithaca: Cornell University Press 1991]

    Citations of Ammonius will give the page and line numbers in volume IV.4 of Commentaria in Aristotelem graeca, Berlin Academy edition of 1895, edited by A. Busse.

  40. ———. 2009. "Aristotelian Categories." In A Companion to Aristotle, edited by Anagnostopoulos, Georgios, 144-161. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell

    "That which is there to be spoken of and thought of, must be.

    Parmenides, Fragment 6 (McKirahan trans.)

    The short treatise entitled Categories enjoys pride of place in Aristotle's writings. It is the very first work in the standard edition of Aristotle's texts. Each line of the thirty columns that make up this treatise has been pored over by commentators, from the first century BCE down to the present. Moreover, its gnomic sentences still retain their fascination for both philosophers and scholars, even today.

    In the tradition of Aristotelian commentary, the first works of Aristotle are said to make up the Organon, which begins with the logic of terms (the Categories), then moves on to the logic of propositions (the De Interpretatione) and then to the logic of syllogistic argumentation (the Prior Analytics). But to say that the Categories presents the logic of terms may leave the misleading impression that it is about words rather than about things. That is not the case. This little treatise is certainly about words. But it is no less about things. It is about terms and the ways in which they can be combined; but this "logic" of terms is also meant to be a guide to what there is, that is, to ontology, and more generally, to metaphysics.

    The Categories text was not given its title by Aristotle himself. Indeed, there has long been a controversy over whether the work was even written by Aristotle. Michael Frede's discussion of this issue in "The Title, Unity, and Authenticity of Aristotle's Categories" (Frede 1987: 11-28) is as close to being definitive on this issue as is possible. Frede concludes that the Categories can only be the work of Aristotle himself or one of his students.

    The question of authenticity is often connected with the issue of whether the last part of the Categories, chapters 10-15, traditionally called the "Postpraedicamenta," and the earlier chapters really belong to the same work. We shall have very little to say about the Postpraedicamenta here." (p. 144)

  41. Matthews, Gareth B., and Cohen, S. Marc. 1968. "The One and the Many." The Review of Metaphysics no. 21:630-655

    The Platonic argument that Aristotle calls "The One Over Many" ([Metaphysics, Book 1] 990b13; 107B69) (1) doubtless had something like this as its key premiss:

    Whenever two or more things can be properly said to be F, it is by virtue of some one thing, F-ness, that they are properly called F.

    The following sentence from Plato's Republic suggests such a premiss:

    We are in the habit of assuming one Form for each set of many things to which we give the same name.(2)

    The pattern of reasoning is familiar. x and y are round. It must be in virtue of roundness ( or in virtue of their participating in roundness) that they are properly said to be round. Exactly what is established by the reasoning -- for that matter, what is supposed to be established-is not obvious. Taken in one way, Plato's Theory of Forms presents us with nothing more than a manner of speaking.


    But if we take Plato's theory this way, we ignore the perplexities that give rise to it. There are at least two distinguishable perplexities that lead to a doctrine like Plato's.(3) One perplexity is ontological: Why is it that things naturally fall into kinds? The other - -and it is this perplexity especially that gives life to the One-Over-Many Argument -- is linguistic.(4) The puzzle is this: How can it be that many things are properly called by one name? To take this puzzle seriously we must indulge (I) the inclination to take the case of one name for each thing named (i.e., the case of an ideal proper name) as the paradigm case of a name, and also (II) the inclination to suppose that 'wise' in 'Pericles is wise' and 'a man' in 'Callias is a man' are names. If we go along with these inclinations, then the puzzle, How can it be that many things are properly called by one name?, becomes real.


    We want to try to show that the Categories, on at least one plausible interpretation, offers a more general answer to Plato than has usually been thought to be the case. We shall then make some comments toward assessing the philosophical strengths and weaknesses of this Aristotelian answer." (pp. 631-632, some notes omitted)

    (1) Line references, unless otherwise identified, are to the works of Aristotle.

    (2) Republic 696A. Translations of passages from Plato and Aristotle are our own.

    (3) Cf. David Pears's two questions, "Why are things as they are?" and "Why are we able to name things as we do?" in his article, "Universals," in Logic and Language (2nd series), ed. by A. Flew (Oxford, 1963), pp. 61-64.

  42. Menn, Stephen. 1995. "Metaphysics, Dialectic and the Categories." Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale no. 100:311-337

    Abstract: "I examine the status and function of the Categories in Aristotle's philosophy. The work does not belong to «first philosophy, » or indeed to philosophy at all, but to dialectic; not as a « dialectical discussion » of being, but in the strict sense that it is intended, together with the Topics, to help the dialectical disputant to decide whether a given term can fall under a proposed definition or a proposed genus. Although the Categories, like dialectic in general, has uses in philosophical argument, the supposed opposition between the accounts of substance in the Categories and in the Metaphysics depends on a misunderstanding of the different aims of the two works."

  43. Mignucci, Mario. 1986. "Aristotle's Definitions of Relatives in Categories Chapter 7." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 31:101-127

    Reprinted in Andrea Falcon, Pierdaniele Giaretta (eds.), Ancient Logic, Language, and Metaphysics: Selected Essays by Mario Mignucci, New York: Routledge 2020, pp. 300-322.

    "Chapter 7 of Aristotle's Categories is dedicated to a study of relatives, which are called "πρός τι". (p. 101)


    "To sum up, I take Aristotle's definition of relatives to mean exactly that a property F is said to be a relative property if, and only if, it can be expanded into a relation that determines F univocally." (p. 104)


    "Aristotle does not clarify the nature of the link that there is between a relative property and its constitutive relation. As we have seen, it is surely an intensional connection, which involves the senses both of the property and of the relation. But how senses are implied is not explicitly stated by him. Shall we leave the problem here? Perhaps an advance can be made if the definition of P1-relatives [the class of relatives identified by Aristotle's definition] at the beginning of Cat. 7 is compared with another definition of relatives which is discussed at the end of the same chapter." (p. 106)


    "Many problems remain. One concerns the nature and meaning of stereotypes. Can they be conceived in the way in which Johnson-Leard has devised them, i.e. as frame systems in which default values are given?(26) And is this view consistent with Aristotle's doctrine about meanings and concepts?

    I cannot try to answer these questions here. What my attempt to explain Aristotle's view aims at is to show that his position is far from being trivially false, as it is on the traditional interpretation, and that it can be credited with having some philosophical importance. Moreover, his attempt is stimulating because it approaches a modern problem from a different point of view. Nowadays we are accustomed to consider what is entailed by the fact that substitutivity does not hold in cognitive contexts, and we try to explain why it does not obtain. Aristotle is well aware of these restrictions, (27) but he is more interested in isolating cases in which substitutivity can be safely applied. Perhaps this change of perspective may help to refresh our own patterns of analysis." (p. 126)

    (26) Cf. Johnson-Laird, pp. 26-29.

    (27) Cf. e.g. SE [De Sophisticis Elenchis] 24, 179a35-b5.


    Johnson-Laird, P.N.: "Formal Semantics and the Psychology of Meaning", in Peters, S. and Saarinen, E. (eds.), Processes, Beliefs, and Questions, Essays on Formal Semantics of Natural Language and Natural Language Processing, Dordrecht 1982, pp. 1-68.

  44. Minio-Paluello, Lorenzo. 1945. "The Text of the Categoriae: the Latin Tradition." Classical Quarterly no. 39:63-74

    Reprinted in: L. Minio-Paluello, Opuscola: the Latin Aristotle, Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert 1972, pp. 28-39.

    Abstract: "The Latin versions of Aristotle's Categoriae have never received much attention from the editors of the Greek text. J. Th. Buhle (Arist. Op. Omn. I, Bipont. 1791) and Th. Waitz (Arist. Organ. I, Lpz., I844) availed themselves of Latin texts, but in a very unsatisfactory way; and since them the Latin field has remained unexplored throughout the last hundred years, in which both Hellenists and Orientalists have done much to increase our knowledge of the textual tradition of the Categ. It is the purpose of these pages to give a summary account of the Latin tradition and to contribute to a revision of the Greek text by a collation of Boethius' recently discovered translation with the best printed Greek and Oriental sources."

  45. Moon, Kyungnam. 2021. "Aristotle’s Disturbing Relatives." Apeiron no. 54:451-472

    Abstract: "In Categories 7, Aristotle gives two different accounts of relatives, and presents the principle of cognitive symmetry, which seems to help distinguish between relatives and some secondary substances. I suggest that the longdisputed difference between the two accounts lies in a difference in the determination of the categorial status of the object in question, and I formulate the principle of cognitive symmetry such that it plays a crucial role in making explicit how one conceptualizes the categorial status of the object. I then set out some consequences following from this understanding for certain interpretive issues, such as the unity of the Categories."

  46. Morales, Fabio. 1994. "Relational Attributes in Aristotle." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 39:255-274

    Abstract: "Aristotle's theory of relations involves serious difficulties of interpretation. By attempting to solve some of the problems posed by J. L. Ackrill in his famous commentary on the Categories (Ackrill, 1963), I hope to contribute to a better understanding of Aristotle's statements on the nature and status of relational attributes. In general, my procedure has been to analyze the criteria by which entities are supposed to fall under the category of 'the relative'. The following topics will be considered: i) Aristotle's two definitions of relatives in Categories 7, ii) the pseudo-relational character of the parts of substances, and iii) the threefold classification of relatives in Metaphysics chapter 15. A corollary of these discussions will be that relations may have played for Aristotle a far more conspicuous role in the 'definition' of substances and attributes than has been hitherto acknowledged."

  47. Moravcsik, Julius M. E. 1967. "Aristotle's Theory of Categories." In Aristotle: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Moravcsik, Julius, 125-145. New York: Anchor Books

    "In several of his writings Aristotle presents what came to be known as a "list of categories." The presentation of a list, by itself, is not a philosophic theory.

    This paper attempts a few modest steps toward an understanding of the theory or theories in which the list of categories is embedded. To arrive at such understanding we shall have to deal with the following questions: What classes of expressions designate items each of which falls under only one category? What is the list a list of? and what gives it unity? To show this to be a worthwhile enterprise, let us consider a few passages in which the list of categories is introduced or mentioned." (p. 125)


    "Conclusion. The theory of categories is partly a theory about language and partly a theory about reality.

    With regard to language it states that certain elements of a language have key-designating roles, the full understanding of which requires that we understand the designata as falling within those classes which jointly form the set definitive of that to which a sensible particular must be related. We can see from this that Aristotle did not think of the structure of language as mirroring the structure of reality. But he did believe that there are specific items of language and reality the correlation of which forms the crucial link between the two." (p. 145)

  48. ———. 1967. "Aristotle on Predication." The Philosophical Review no. 76:80-96

    Erratum, The Philosophical Review, Vol. 76, No. 4 (Oct., 1967), p. 543.

  49. Morrison, Donald. 1992. "The Taxonomical Interpretation of Aristotle's Categories: A Criticism." In Aristotle's Ontology, edited by Preus, Anthony and Anton, John Peter, 19-46. Albany: State University of New York Press

    "In the Topics, Categories, and De Interpretatione, Aristotle is struggling with a variety of problems that span the fields of metaphysics and philosophy of language. Both the problems and the attempted solutions have much relevance to some of the main issues in contemporary British and American philosophy. Thus it is unfortunate that though there is a large number of ancient commentaries on these texts, little has been written on these matters in modern times that is of genuine philosophical significance. Professor Ackrill's new translation and notes (1) make a fine contribution toward remedying this deficiency."


    "One of the reasons for selecting predication as the nest of problems to be discussed is that though much has been written on this during the past sixty years, we seem far from any adequate solution." (p. 80)


    "The point of this review is not to show that Aristotle succeeded in answering the general question that contemporary philosophers failed to answer. Aristotle did not attempt to answer that general question.

    He discusses in the Categories -- to which we shall limit our attention several interesting features of predication, and then distinguishes between at least two different types of configuration that underlie predication. The suggestion of this review is that paying attention to these less sweeping problems of predication might be a useful way of adopting a fresh approach to this topic.

    The following four claims will be discussed. (a) Ackrill interprets Aristotle as holding that general terms and the correlated abstract singular terms, whether in subject or predicate position, introduce the same entity. (b) Aristotle seems to be committed to the view that general terms have meaning both inside and outside of sentences. (c) Aristotle distinguishes at least two different ontological configurations underlying predication. (d) Aristotle takes predication to be showing the ontological dependence of the entity denoted by the predicate on the entity denoted by the subject." (p. 82)

    (1) Aristotle's "Categories" and "De Interpretatione," trans. with notes by J. L. Ackrill (Oxford, i963), pp. VI, 162.

  50. Novak, Michael. 1965. "Toward Understanding Aristotle's Categories." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 26:117-123

    "There are three positions one must gain in order to interpret the first five chapters of the Categories and, specifically, the meaning and role therein of 'present in a subject'. The first of these positions is a rejection of univocity; the second is the dual conception of accident; the third is the principle of discrimination on which Aristotle (implicitly) relies in sorting out the strands of his description "of things," (1a20)." (p. 117)


    "'Present in a subject' thus operates in Categories 1-5 as a definition of accident, inadequately distinguished from secondary substance. It is inadequately distinguished because its meaning (incapable of existence apart from a subject) applies just as well to secondary substance, though for a different reason, and this reason is never stated by Aristotle. He says (3a8-10) that secondary substances are not present in a subject, while of course (1a24.1) accidents are. But neither accidents nor secondary substances are; capable of existence apart from primary substances (2b5-6). Some unspoken criterion is therefore operating to distinguish the exact natures of secondary substance, accident, and primary substance.

    I have argued that the discriminating factor is the differing relation which each bears to the act of intelligence operating with imagination.

    Secondary substances are universalizations of the necessity grasped in insight, are essences, apart from particulars, and yet arising exclusively from insight into concrete particulars. They are not 'present in a subject', yet are incapable of existence apart from a subject. Accidents are, on the one hand, incapable of science because, occurring neither always nor for the most part, they are not necessarily relevant to any particular thing; and, on the other hand, are not capable of being pointed to as a 'this'. They alone are properly 'present in a subject.' Primary substance can be pointed to as a 'this', a unity, grasped not, however, by mere sense knowledge, nor imagination, but by intelligence which distinguishes the inessential from the essential, the permanent and independent from the adventitious, in the presentations of sense and imagination. They are not 'present in a subject,' but are subjects." (pp. 122-123)

Related pages

On the website "Theory and History of Ontology" (

Aristotle: Bibliographical Resources on Selected Philosophical Works

Index of the Section: " History of the Doctrine of Categories"

History of Ancient Philosophy from the Presocratics to the Hellenistic Period


On the website "History of Logic"

Aristotle's Logic: General Survey and Introductory Readings

Aristotle's De Interpretatione: Semantics and Philosophy of Language

Aristotle's Prior Analytics: the Theory of Categorical Syllogism

Aristotle's Prior Analytics: the Theory of Modal Syllogism (under construction)

Aristotle's Posterior Analytics: The Theory of Demonstration (under construction)

Aristotle's Earlier Dialectic: the Topics and Sophistical Refutations (under construction)