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Aristotle's Categories. Annotated Bibliography of the studies in English: D - H


  1. Dancy, Russell. 1975. "On Some of Aristotle's First Thoughts about Substances." The Philosophical Review no. 84:338-373.

    "But here I shall be concerned only indirectly with Aristotle's criticism of Platonism; my primary object is getting clear on Aristotle's way of answering the question "What are the substances?" (p. 338)


    "V. Conclusion. There is a cloud on Aristotle's horizon; we have glanced at it before. It is worth another, very brief, look. Nothing in the Categories tells us how to describe such drastic changes as the death and cremation of Socrates, or Jago's becoming a baboon. We need the notion of matter for that, and if we introduce that as a subject for predicates on a level lower than that of Socrates and Jago, we are in trouble: we shall no longer be able to pick out the primary substances by looking for rock-bottom subjects. And that same trouble may threaten from another direction, only I have been suppressing it. Aristotle talks as if the real subject that underlies white and black (2. 1a27-28, 5. 2a31-34, b1-3, 4a3-4, 8. 4a34-35) and disease and health (10. 12a5-6, 11. 14a1I6) were the body of the man or animal, and as if the real subject that underlies literacy (2. 1a25-26), knowledge (1b1-2), insanity, irascibility (8. 9b33 ff.), justice and injustice (11. 14a17-I8) were the soul of the man or animal. Only once (that I know of) does he make the man himself the underlying subject (compare 10. 12a13-14). But then, which are the primary substances ? What are the interrelationships between matter, form, and the compound? Aristotle owes us something here; elsewhere he tries to pay the debt. I shall leave the question whether his balance is enough to cover his check for another occasion." (pp. 372-373)

  2. ———. 1978. "On Some of Aristotle's Second Thoughts About Substances: Matter " The Philosophical Review no. 87:372-413.

    "In Metaphysics Z 3, Aristotle tells us (1029a3-4) that by "matter" he means, "for example, the bronze" of which a statue is made, and a few lines later, at a20-2 1, that by "matter" he means "what is not in its own right called either something or so big or any of the other things by which being is determined." But the bronze of which a statue is made is something in its own right, and in the Meteorologica (Γ 6 and elsewhere), Aristotle is prepared to tell us something about what it is in its own right.

    The explanation I shall try to provide for this apparent contradiction makes it a reflection of a larger apparent contradiction.

    Most of Metaphysics Z 3 is an examination of the claim of "subjects" ("things that underly," [ὑποκείμενα) to be substances (realities, οὐσίαι). It turns out that this claim at best demands clarification and at worst rejection, since people who take subjects to be substances might be forced into saying that matter is the ultimate subject, and so the chief substance - but matter isn't anything in its own right, and isn't knowable in its own right. So such people would be making substances, the ultimate realities, things about which there is no saying what they are. And that is no good. So the claim of subjects to be substances must either be clarified or rejected. But that claim was one Aristotle himself advanced, in the Categories especially, and it was fundamental in his rejection of Platonism. So Aristotle is attacking a view of his own.

    What is needed is a sorting out of the various concepts: matter, subject, substance. That is what Z 3 is about, and that is what this paper is about. The job is not done at the end of Z 3: the notion of form remains foggy. So it does in this paper. And the problem does not arise only at the beginning of Z 3: the Organon and the physical works had set it up. So let us first go back to the Categories and the rest of the Organon." (P. 373)

  3. Derrida, Jacques. 1982. "The Supplement of Copula: Philosophy Before Linguistics." In Margins of Philosophy, 175-205. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Translation, with Additional Notes, by Alan Bass of Le supplément de copule. La philosophie devant la linguistique (1972).

    Also translated by James S. Creech and Josué Harrani in Georgia Review, 30, 1976, pp. 527-564.

    "We know that Benveniste, in "Categories of Thought and Language,"(6) analyzed the limiting constraints which the Greek language imposed upon the system of Aristotelian categories.

    Benveniste's propositions are part of a stratified ensemble; nor does he restrict himself to the text which directly states the thesis of the ensemble. We will have to take this into account when the time comes. Moreover, this thesis already has encountered objections of the philosophical type;(7) together the thesis and the objections form a debate which in its development will be invaluable for us.

    First, the thesis: "Now it seems to us—and we shall try to show—that these distinctions are primarily categories of language and that, in fact, Aristotle, reasoning in the absolute, is simply identifying certain fundamental categories of the language m which he thought" (p. 57)." (pp. 179-180)


    "The concept or category of the category systematically comes into play in the history of philosophy and of science (in Aristotle's Organon and Categories) at the point where the opposition of language to thought is impossible, or has only a very derivative sense. Although Aristotle certainly did not reduce thought to language in the sense intended here by Benveniste, he did attempt to take the analysis back to the site of the emergence, that is to the common root, of the language/thought couple. This site is the site of "Being." Aristotle's categories are simultaneously of language and of thought: of language in that they are determined as answers to the question of knowing how Being is said (legetai); but also, how Being is said, how is said what is, in that it is, such as it is: a question of thought, thought itself, the word "thought" which Benveniste uses as if its signification and its history went without saying, in any case never having meant anything outside its relation to Being, its relation to the truth of Being such as it is and in that it is (said)." (p. 182)

    (6) In Benveniste, Problems in General Linguistics, trans. Mary E. Meek (Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1971). All further references are to this edition.

    (7) See Pierre Aubenque, "Aristote et le langage, note annexe sur les catégories d'Aristote. A propos d'un article de M. Benveniste," Annales de Ia faculté des Lettres d'Aix 43 (1965); and J. Vuillemin, De la logique a Ia théologie. Cinq études sur Aristote (Paris: Flammarion, 1967), pp. 75ff.

  4. Devereux, Daniel. 1992. "Inherence and Primary Substance in Aristotle's Categories." Ancient Philosophy no. 12:113-131.

    "In chapter 2 of the Categories, Aristotle makes use of two predication relations, being said of a subject and being in a subject, to distinguish four classes of entities. (i) Some things are neither said of nor in a subject: (ii) some are said of but not in any subject; (iii) some are both said of and in a subject; and (iv) some are in but not. said of any subject. There is general agreement about the kinds of entities belonging to in the first class: in the first class are particular substances, e.g., a particular human being or a particular tree; in the second are the species and genera of these particular substances, e.g., Man, Animal, Tree; in the third class are the general kinds or types falling under non-substance categories, e.g. Color as a kind of quality, or Larger Than as a kind of relation. As one successively divides these non-substance kinds into species and sub-species, one arrives at entities such as 'this particular white' or 'this particular knowledge of grammar' which cannot be further subdivided. There has been a spirited debate in recent years over the exact nature of these entities belonging to the fourth class. Is the 'particular white' a specific shade of white that can be shared by a number of things? Or is it a particular instance of such a shade, belonging uniquely to one individual?

    Entities in the fourth class have traditionally been regarded as instances or tokens of types, and it has been thought that this view is required by Aristotle's special notion of what it is to be in a subject. Recent opponents of the traditional view have argued that a correct understanding of 'being in a subject' does not support the claim that entities of the fourth class are particular instances of qualities, quantities, etc., and that the weight of the textual evidence in the Categories. supports the view that they can be shared by a number of subjects.

    In the following discussion I shall try to show that there are passages in the Categories that clearly imply that type (iv) entities cannot be shared by a number of subjects - passages that have not been exploited by defenders of the traditional view. I will then turn to the question of what Aristotle means by 'being in a subject', and will argue for an interpretation that seems lo make better sense of the relevant texts than other views in the current literature." (p. 113)

  5. ———. 1998. "Aristotle's Categories 3b10-21: A Reply to Sharma." Ancient Philosophy no. 18:341-352.

    "In an article published several years ago in this journal (Devereux 1992). I argued for a new way of understanding Aristotle's explanation of what he means by the expression 'in a subject' at Categories 1 a24-25. One of my contentions was that although this explanation does not imply that things that are in but not said of a subject are particulars, there are other passages in the Categories that do have this implication: i.e., there are passages besides1 a24-25 that clearly imply that 'first-order accidents' (things in but not said of a subject) are not universals but what are called 'tropes' in the contemporary literature. This latter claim is challenged by Ravi Sharma in a recent note in this journal (Sharma 1997).

    Though his arguments have not persuaded me to give up my view, I have learned from Sharma's acute discussion." (p. 341)

  6. Driscoll, John A. 1981. "EIΔH in Aristotle's Earlier and Later Theories of Substance." In Studies in Aristotle, edited by O'Meara, Dominic, 129-159. Washington: Catholic University Press.

    "My object in this paper is to cast doubt on the view of M. J. Woods (1) and G. E. L. Owen(2) that the species which is a secondary substance in the Categories is elevated to the status of primary substance in Metaphysics Z. Woods and Owen(3) commit themselves to this view in the course of very interesting discussions of the differences separating Aristotle's early Categories theory and his later Metaphysics ΖΗΘ theory of sensible substance.(4) However, serious objections have been raised against both writers on the basis of Aristotle's remarks in chapter 13 of Ζ. My strategy will be to show that these objections can be met and the most important of Woods' and Owen's insights on Aristotle's two theories of sensible substance maintained provided only that their view on the upgrading of Categories species is abandoned.

    The εἶδος which is primary substance in Z, I will suggest, is neither the species of the Categories, as Woods and Owen hold, nor the particular form of a particular substance, as Wilfrid Sellars(5) Edward Harter,(6) and Edwin Hartman(7) insist, but a third entity to be described below.(8)" (p. 129, notes abbreviated)

    (1) M. J. Woods, "Problems in Metaphysics Z, Chapter 13,'' in Aristotle: A Colleclion of Critical Essays, ed. J. M. E. Moravcsik (Garden City: Doubleday Anchor, 1967), pp. 215-38.

    (2) E. L. Owen, "The Platonism of Aristotle," Proceedings of the British Academy, 51 (1965): 125- 50, esp. p. 137; reprinted in Studies in the Philosophy of Thought and Action, ed. P. F. Strawson (London: Oxford University Press, 1968), pp. 147-74. References below are to the British Academy pagination.

    (3) My reasons for believing that Owen is committed to the thesis as stated will be given in section 2 below.

    (4) I will follow Woods and Owen in assuming that the Categories is an early authentic work of Aristotle and that Books ΖΗΘ of the Metaphysics date from much later in his career.

    (5) Wilfrid Sellars, "Substance and Form in Aristotle," Journal of Philosophy, 54 (1957): 688- 99, and "Aristotle's Metaphysics: An Interpretation," in Wilfrid Sellars, Philosophical Perspectives (Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publishers, 1959), pp. 73- 124.

    (6) Edward D. Harter, "Aristotle on Primary Ousia," Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie, 57 (1975): 1- 20.

    (7) Edwin Hartman, "Aristotle on the Identity of Substance and Essence," Philosophical Review, 85 (1976): 545-61; reprinted with revisions as chapter two of Edwin Hartman, Substance, Body, and Soul: Aristotelian lnvestigations (Princeton University Press, 1977), pp. 57-87.

    (8) See section 3 below, especially note 58. My aim here will not be to disprove the Sellars-Harter-Hartman position (a major undertaking which would require extended discussion of their complex arguments) but only to isolate a defensible alternative to it.

  7. Duerlinger, James. 1970. "Predication and Inherence in Aristotle's Categories." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 15:179-203.

    "In Categories and De Interpretatione (Oxford, 1963), J. L. Ackrill has performed the notable task of clearly delineating a number of questions and alternative answers to these questions involved in the interpretation of Aristotle's discussions about predication and inherence in the Categories. As a result of Ackrill's excellent translation and penetrating analysis of the text of the Categories, we have arrived at a point at which Aristotle's early distinction between predication and inherence may be discussed with some degree of exactness and clarity. Although I do not agree with everything that Ackrill has said about predication and inherence, my disagreement is grounded in an account of the text which his translation and analysis have helped to make possible. In recent papers G. E. L. Owen ("Inherence," Phronesis, 1965) and J. M. E. Moravcsik ("Predication in Aristotle," Philosophical Review, 1967) have attempted to improve upon Ackrill's account of Aristotle's distinction between predication and inherence.

    I shall use Ackrill's commentary and translation as a base from which to launch an investigation of predication and inherence in the Categories, but I shall find it convenient at times to refer to the comments of Owen and Moravcsik. I shall begin with a very rough summary of what I have to say about predication and inherence, and then discuss them in more exact terms." (p. 179)

  8. Duncombe, Matthew. 2015. "Aristotle’s Two Accounts of Relatives in Categories 7." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 60:436-461.

    Abstract: "At Categories 7, 6a36-7 Aristotle defines relatives (c1), but at 8a13-28 worries that the definition may include some substances. Aristotle introduces a second account of relatives (c2, at 8a31-2) to solve the problem. Recent commentators have held that Aristotle intends to solve the extensional adequacy worry by restricting the extension of relatives. That is, c2 counts fewer items as relative than c1. However, this cannot explain Aristotle’s attitude to relatives, since he immediately returns to using c1. I propose a non-extensional reading. c1 and c2 do not specify different sets of relatives, but rather different ways to understand each relative."

  9. Edel, Abraham. 1975. "Aristotle's Categories and the Nature of Categorial Theory." Review of Metaphysics no. 29:45-65.

    Abstract: "The aim of this paper is twofold. First, I want to propose a fresh approach to Aristotle's Categories. Second, I want to reflect, in the light of the outcome, on the expectations we can have for categories in metaphysics. No apology is needed for starting with Aristotle. Ever since the Categories was placed at the head of the Corpus, the foundational character of categorial theory has been explicit. That is why a fresh way of looking at the Categories is at the same time a fresh way of looking at Aristotle's metaphysics, and suggests a mode of reckoning with categorial theory generally."

  10. Erginel, Mehmet. 2004. "Non-Substantial Individuals in Aristotle's Categories." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no. 26:185-212.

    "Aristotle's Categories (1) classifies entities by using two predication relations, being ‘said of’ a subject and being ‘in’ a subject.(2)


    The traditionally accepted view, which I shall call the ‘traditional view’, is that a non-substantial individual is a property that cannot be shared by (be ‘in’) more than one individual substance; thus, on this view, the individualwhite ‘in’ Socrates cannot also be ‘in’ Plato (or anyone else). This interpretation of the Categories as challenged by Owen, setting of the modern debate.(4)

    Owen and Frede(5) have argued that non-substantial individuals are maximally determinate properties, which can be shared by more than one individual substance; on this view, an individual white would be a particular shade of white, which could be ‘in’ both Socrates and Plato. One way of putting the difference is that the latter view does, whereas the former view does not, allow the recurrence of non-substantial individuals.

    In this paper I shall defend a version of the latter view, arguing that the non-substantial individuals of the Categories may be ‘in’ several individual substances. I shall proceed by first discussing, and o·ering an interpretation of, 1A24–5, the critical passage that the traditional view originates from. After defending an interpretation of 1A24–5 that allows recurrence, I shall argue, in Section 2, that the interpretation commonly held by proponents of the traditional view is inconsistent with various passages in the Categories. In my third section I shall challenge attempts to find other passages that support the traditional view, and I shall show that the traditional view does not enjoy the purported textual support." (pp. 185-186)

    (1) In this paper I mostly rely on, but occasionally differ from, J. L. Ackrill’s translation in Aristotle: Categories and De interpretatione [Categories], translation and notes (Oxford, 1963).

    (2) I shall use the terms ‘said of’ and ‘in’ in quotation marks when they are meant in Aristotle’s technical sense. Likewise, it is the technical sense of ‘in’ that is meant when I refer to the ‘x is in y’ relation.

    (4) G. E. L. Owen, ‘Inherence’, Phronesis, 10 (1965), 97–105, repr. in id., Logic, Science and Dialectic: Collected Papers in Greek Philosophy, ed. M. Nussbaum (Ithaca, NY, 1986), 252–8.

    5 M. Frede, ‘Individuals in Aristotle’ [‘Individuals’], in id., Essays in Ancient Philosophy (Minneapolis, 1987), 49–71.

  11. Findlay, John N. 2007. "Aristotle and Eideticism II." Philosophical Forum no. 37:333-386.

    "This article continues our publication of lectures given by J. N. Findlay (1903–87) at Boston University in 1978. The present article concludes Findlay’s discussion of Aristotle, the first part of which was published in The Philosophical Forum, XXXVI, No. 4 (Winter 2005)." (The Editors).

    "The Categories, probably an early treatise of Aristotle’s and very individualistic in doctrine, deals with the basic types of predication, substantial and definitory, quantitative, relational, qualitative etc., which leads up, though this is not so clearly stated as elsewhere, to various different genera of entities each of which can be said to have being in a different sense, some primary some derivative in various manners. The issue is complicated by the fact that secondary and derivative entities can have their own series of divergent predications, some substantial and definitory, others quantitative, relational, qualitative etc. There are not only entities parasitic on primary entities in various manners, but entities parasitic on the parasites in a corresponding variety of manners. All this renders the ontology very complex. Though Aristotle approaches many issues through language, what he is dealing with is always conceived of as ontic, not linguistic." (p. 334)

    [Follows a description of Categories 1-9, pp. 334-339.]

  12. Fine, Gail. 1983. "Relational Entities." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 65:225-249.

    "Aristotle's theory of universals is sometimes thought to differ from Plato's in being nonrelational; it does not hold that Socrates' being a man, or being rational, consists in or involves his standing in some relation to the universal man, or to the universal rationality." (p. 225)


    "Why should a nonrelational account be preferred? Matthews and Cohen suggest that Plato's relational theory is vulnerable to an awkward dilemma: either particulars are "bare particulars", or else they are "mere relational entities" that owe their identity and continued existence to the relations they bear to other things. Aristotle's allegedly nonrelational theory is thought to go between the horns of this dilemma.(5)" (p. 226)


    "I am sympathetic to some features of this general view. I agree that, on some accounts of relationality, Plato has a relational theory of universals. I also agree that Plato, but not Aristotle, separates universals.

    I agree too that relational accounts are vulnerable to Matthews and Cohen's dilemma. But I do not agree that Aristotle's theory of universals is nonrelational. Or, at least, the arguments used to commit Plato to a relational account seem to me to commit Aristotle to one as well. Nor do I conclude that Plato's and Aristotle's theories are therefore both hopelessly misguided; for I do not find both horns of the dilemma unattractive. Although I reject bare particulars, I accept relational entities.(6) If it is a consequence of Plato's or Aristotle's theory that particulars are relational entities, that is a desirable consequence.

    I ask first what a relational analysis is (I). I then turn to Matthews and Cohen's dilemma (II). In subsequent sections I ask whether Plato and Aristotle are vulnerable to their dilemma and, if so, whether that is an undesirable consequence of their views." (pp. 226-227)


    "It is important to note, first of all, however, that nowhere in the Categories, at least, does Aristotle say that primary substances could exist if nothing else did; perhaps their privileged status does not consist in existential independence from everything else. Certainly that is not the only sort of priority Aristotle recognizes.(48)" (p. 247)

    (5) See, e.g., pp. 634f., 643f. Matthews and Cohen also suggest another difficulty with relational accounts or, at least, with Plato's holding one; see p. 633f. It is also often objected that relational accounts are vulnerable to a regress. See, for example, Armstrong I, Part 2, passim; P.P. Strawson; Individuals (London, 1959), esp. pp. 168-181; F.H. Bradley, Appearance and Reality, 2nd. ed. (Oxford, 1897), chapter 3.

    Plato considers a regress argument, The Third Man Argument, at Parm. 132 ab. I do not discuss the TMA or regress arguments here ; but see my "Aristotle and the More Accurate Arguments, in Language and Logos, edd. M. Nussbaum and M. Schofield (Cambridge, 1982), and my "Owen, Aristotle, and the Third Man", Phronesis 27 (1982), pp. 13-33.

    (6) As I shall use the phrase, a relational entity is an entity that possesses at least one essential property relationally. This is to be distinguished from Bradley's doctrine of internal relations, according to which all of a thing's relational properties are essential to it; I do not discuss Bradley's views in this paper. For Bradley, see esp. pp. 16-25.

    (48) For some discussions of priority, see Cat., chapter 12; Met. Δ, chapter 11; Ζ 1.


    D.M. Armstrong, Universals and Scientific Realism, 2 volumes (Cambridge, 1978),

    G.B. Matthews and S. Marc Cohen, "The One and the Many", Review of Metaphysics 21 (1968), pp. 630-655.

  13. Fraser, Kyle. 2003. "Seriality and Demonstration in Aristotle's Ontology." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no. 25:131-158.

    "Metaphysics G and Z support a distinction between 'seriality' and 'focality' in demonstrations of ontological structure, and a precise account of the categories as they appear in these books of the Metaphysics can be given in the serial mode of demonstration. In appendix: On the Neoplatonist 'deduction' of the Categories."

    From the review by Michael Pakaluk in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 06.18.2006: "It is commonly thought that Aristotle distinguishes just two ways of classifying things: genus-species hierarchies; and pros hen or 'focally related' analogues. Fraser considers whether we might take Aristotle's mention, at Met. IV.2.1005a11, of classification "with reference to a serial ordering" (tôi ephechês), to be indicating a third. Aristotle's famous remarks in De Anima, about how types of soul form a sequence (414b20-415a3), presumably refer to just that sort of ordering. But the bulk of Fraser's paper is an examination of whether Aristotle regarded the categories, too, as displaying that sort of ordering -- especially, that some categories are related to substance through the mediation of other categories. It turns out that the evidence that Aristotle thought this is surprisingly good. Fraser's program in examining this evidence is to develop, ultimately, an account of the method of the Aristotelian metaphysics as being systematic and scientific; Fraser rejects the 'dialectical' interpretations of the last several decades as over-influenced by ordinary language philosophy."

  14. Frede, Michael. 1981. "Categories in Aristotle." In Studies in Aristotle, edited by O'Meara, Dominic, 1-25. Washington: Catholic University Press.

    Reprinted in: M. Frede, Essays in Ancient Philosophy, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987, pp. 29-48.

    "There is a theory called the theory of categories which in a more or less developed form, with minor or major modifications, made its appearance first in a large number of Aristotelian writings and then, under the influence of these writings, came to be a standard part of traditional logic, a place it maintained with more or less success into the early part of this century, when it met the same fate as certain other parts of traditional logic.

    There are many questions one may ask about this theory." (p. 28)


    "I will leave aside the fact that the present order of the writings of the Organon was only established in the second century A.D., that there is no good reason to think that Aristotle himself had meant these writings to be read in this order, that it is even far from clear whether Aristotle himself would have classified the Categories as a logical treatise, and that hence the position of the treatise in the Organon and the view of logic which goes with it should not have had any influence on what we take categories in Aristotle to be. More important, it seems to me, is that it is far from clear whether the treatise Categories in whole or even in part was meant to be a treatise on categories.

    We cannot rely for this on the title Categories. For this is just one of a good number of titles the work had in antiquity and possibly not even the most common one. There is no good reason to think that the title is Aristotle's own. As to the content, it may have seemed obvious that the treatise is a treatise on categories.

    But if it did seem obvious, this—apart from the title—was due to the fact that the second part of the treatise, the so-called Postpraedicamenta, was not taken seriously. Hence, one focused on the first part, and this part, of course, would seem to constitute a treatise on categories, if one made the additional assumption that the genera of entities distinguished in this part are just the categories or that the categories amount to a classification of expressions depending on the classification of entities given in this part of the treatise. It is revealing that ancient supporters of the title Categories claimed that the Postpraedicamenta were material alien to the purpose of the treatise, added by somebody who wanted to turn the treatise into an introduction to the Topics and who gave it a corresponding title, namely, Introduction to the Topics, becoming thus responsible for the other title of the treatise common in antiquity(1) and for another ordering of the treatises in the collection." (pp. 30-31)

    (1) Cf. Ammon. In cat. 14, 18ff.: Simpl. In cat. 379, 8ff.

  15. ———. 1987. "The Title, Unity, and Authenticity of the Aristotelian Categories." In Essays in Ancient Philosophy, 11-28. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    English translation of: Titel, Einheit und Echtheit der aristotelischen Kategorienschrift, (1983).

    "The Categories, ascribed to Aristotle, has played a unique role in our tradition.


    Already in late antiquity, however, doubts were raised about its authenticity,(1) though we know of no ancient scholar who, on the basis of such doubts, declared the treatise to be spurious."


    "The question of authenticity, however, turns out to be crucially linked to the question of unity. Given that it seems highly questionable whether the Postpraedicamenta were originally part of the treatise or were appended by a later editor,(12) it might seem as if the question regarding the authenticity of the treatise needs to be asked as two questions, viz., questions regarding the authenticity of the first and second part individually. Many authors have indeed taken this for granted and have thus assumed that the first part was authentic, the second either probably or certainly not.(13)"


    "Therefore, in what follows, I will pay particular attention to the question of unity. The dangerous tendency to consider this treatise almost exclusively with reference to the first part and thus to jeopardize the status of the second part is, of course, reinforced considerably by the title. Hence, I will also discuss the title in connection with the question of unity." (pp. 11-12)


    "Thus, it is by no means the case that the incompatibility of the two theories of substance forces us to reject the Categories as spurious. On the contrary, it seems as if the theory of the Categories ought, rather, to be seen as a stage in a long development that proceeds from the forms of Plato's middle dialogues to the substantial forms of Aristotle's Metaphysics.

    Thus, we have met the objection against the authenticity of the Categories that has survived the longest; and so we can, indeed, follow the tradition and attribute the treatise to Aristotle. However, we have also seen that we have reason not to follow the tradition blindly in its understanding of the treatise. Unlike the tradition, which sought to gloss over the differences between the Categories and the Metaphysics, we ought to take care not to project the universals of the Categories into the ontology of the Metaphysics." (p. 28)

    (1) Olymp., Prol. 22, 38ff.; Schol. 33a 28ff.; Brandis.

    (12) 12. See J. G. Buhle, Aristotelis Opera, vol. I, 1791, 436; Ch. A. Brandis in: Abh. Berlin 1833, 268ff.; E. Zeller, Philos. d. Gr., II 24, 1921, 67 n. 1; Th. Gomperz, Greek Thinkers, IV, 514; Uberweg-Praechter, 379; D. Ross, Aristotle, 10; L. M. De Rijk, The Authenticity, in: Mnemos. 4 (1951), 159; I. During, R E Suppl. XI, s.v. Aristoteles, 205, 61; J. L. Ackrill, 70; V. Sainati, Storia, 151ff. Some ancient authors took this line (Olymp., In cat. 133, 14), especially Andronicus (Simpl., In cat. 379, 8ff.).

    (13) E.g., J. G. Buhle, 436; E. Zeller, II 24, 1921, 67; H. Maier, Die Syllogistik, II 2, 292 n.

    We hear of this view being taken by some in antiquity (Ammon., In cat. 14, 18ff.; Olymp., In cat. 133, 14ff.). Whether Andronicus was among these, as is often claimed, is doubtful; at any rate, we never hear that he argued against the authenticity of the Postpraedicamenta; we would assume, if this had been the case, that he would be referred to by name when their authenticity was being discussed.

  16. ———. 1987. "Individuals in Aristotle." In Essays in Ancient Philosophy, 49-71. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    English translation of: "Individuen bei Aristoteles", Antike und Abendland, 24, 1978, pp. 16-39.

    "By way of introduction, I offer a few remarks to give an overview of the subject of this paper. Aristotle assumes that, in addition to objects, there are properties of objects. This assumption is rather stronger than one might think, since it turns out that statements about properties are not just reducible to statements about objects; on the contrary, the truth of at least some statements about objects is to be explained by assuming that there are properties."


    "Besides this division of things into objects and properties, Aristotle, in the Categories, makes use of the distinction between general and particular, between individuals and universals. Although Aristotle does not, in this treatise, use any term like 'universal' (katholou), he does speak of 'individuals', and he contrasts these with their kinds. These two divisions, into objects and properties, on the one hand, and into particular and general, on the other, do not turn out to be the same. For Aristotle counts as general not only properties but also the kinds, into which objects fall, i.e., the genera, species, and differentiae of substances; and these are to be differentiated strictly from properties."


    "At this point, three difficulties arise. First of all, how is it possible to speak of individuals in the case of properties; second, how can there be a single notion of being an individual that can be applied to objects as well as properties; and third, what sorts of objects are these general objects, the genera and species, supposed to be? These difficulties, especially the first two, will be our concern in the first part of this paper, which deal with the Categories." (pp. 49-50)

  17. Fritz, Kurt von. 1954. "Review of: The Place of the Categories of Being in Aristotle's Philosophy by L. M. De Rijk." The Philosophical Review no. 63:600-605.

    "The author of this book tries once more to solve the difficult problem of the meaning of Aristotle's theory of categories or, more specifically, the question of whether the categories are a system of grammatical, of logical, or of ontological distinctions. He rejects from the outset the explanation of the categories as grammatical distinctions though he does admit-which is very important-that Aristotle in his metaphysical and logical analyses is, generally speaking, guided by the structure of his native tongue. Concerning the two other main explanations which have been offered, he points out in his introduction that "the later distinction between the logical and the ontological aspect qua a conscious opposition which is carried through rigorously" should not be applied to ancient thought, i.e., to that of Aristotle, and expresses the opinion that "the seeming difficulty of interpretation disappears" if this distinction is not made. He tries to show that the solutions offered by his predecessors are all wrong or insufficient because they did not follow this principle of interpretation.

    The author then elaborates his theory in six chapters and an appendix. The first three chapters deal with various aspects of the relation between logic and ontology in Aristotle's philosophy, namely: Aristotle's doctrine of truth, the distinction between "essential and accidental being" (κατ' αυτό and κατά συμβεβηκός), logical and ontological accident. The second series of three chapters deals with the problem of the categories directly, first the categories in the Metaphysics, then the categories in the special treatise devoted to that subject, the first treatise of the Organon, and finally the use which Aristotle makes of the categories in his philosophy in general. The appendix deals with the various expressions by which Aristotle designates the categories, with their origin and their relation to the logical and the ontological aspects of the categories. Each chapter, as well as the appendix, concludes with a convenient summary of the theses which the author has tried to prove." (pp. 600-601)

  18. ———. 1958. "Once More ϰαθ᾿ ὑποϰειμένου and ἐν ὑποϰειμένῳ." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 3:72-73.

    "On p. 148 ff. of the second volume of Phronesis Mr. Chung-Hwan Chen has published an article on the above subject taking his starting point from a review of a book by the Dutch scholar L. M. De Rijk which I had published some time ago in The Philosophical Review, vol. 53 (1954), p. 600 ff., but without knowledge of the book reviewed itself. As a consequence some special points have remained in the dark; and since this is in no way Mr. Chung-Hwan Cheng's fault, who was unable to obtain a copy of the book reviewed, but to a large part my own fault and to a certain extent perhaps the fault of Mr. De Rijk, I would appear to be under some obligation to clear up the question." (p. 72)


    "It is one of the main contentions of Mr. De Rijk in the book which I reviewed that it is wrong to make a sharp distinction between the ontological and the logical aspect of Aristotle's theory of the categories because the ontological aspect is always the essential one and the logical only its reflection. In contrast to this I had contended that Aristotle's theory has an ontological, a logical, and to some extent a grammatical aspect; and that to understand its philosophical meaning, as well as the difficulties with which Aristotle had to struggle in its elaboration fully, it is necessary to distinguish sharply between them." (p. 73)

  19. Furth, Montgomery. 1988. Substance, Form and Psyche: An Aristotelean Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Contents: Preface XI; §0. A short discourse on method 1; I. Cross- and Intra-Categorial Predication in the Categories 9; II. Substance in the Metaphysics: A First Approximation 49; III. The Zoological Universe 67; Bibliography 285; Index 291-300.

    "My aim in what follows is to explain and to motivate a theory of essence, existence and individuation that I think is to be found in the later and more advanced of the extant writings of Aristotle. The view to be explored has several features that are noteworthy from a scientific as well as a philosophical standpoint: it centers especially, though not exclusively, on a concept of what an individual material object is - a concept that has both intrinsic interest and (if some suggestions I shall advance as to its provenance and motivation are accepted) a historical significance that has not always been accurately appreciated." (p. 1)


    "largely dispense with questions like what differentiates the various nonsubstantial categories from one another, the rationale (if there be one) for comprehending into a single category the monstrous motley horde yclept Quality, the justification (which seems to me quite hopeless) for a category, co-ordinate with the others, of Time, and other such. It will be seen that numerous particular points will emerge along the way in the course of the general discussion of Inherence. But enough has even now been fixed to allow statement of three general truths about the relationship between the tetrachotomy of "things that are" and the total categorial scheme. None of them is explicitly stated in the work, but all of them are in practice observed with great fidelity, and their controlling place in the theory will become more evident in what follows (were one to essay the project, conceivably worthwhile, of axiomatizing the theory, they would be plausible candidates for axioms):

    (i) said-of is always intra-categorial, and conversely,

    (ii) inherence is always cross-categorial, and conversely,

    (iii) substances and only substances can be subjects of inherence." (p. 14)

  20. Garver, Newton. 1974. "Notes for a Linguistic Reading of the Categories." In Ancient Logic and its Modern Interpretations, edited by Corcoran, John, 27-32. Dordrecht: Reidel.

    "1. If AristotIe's Categories provide a classification of things and not of sayings, as is traditionally insisted, the things classified are at any rate 'things that can be said'. It is interesting, therefore, to inquire whether the Categories may be regarded as containing, in rudimentary form, results that might be more appropriately and more completely presented in terms of current methods of linguistic analysis, applied to a level of language or discourse that linguists usually ignore.

    2. Both the name 'categories', which signifies predications or sayings, and the position of the work at the beginning of the Organon, which deals with matters of logic and language, reinforce the temptation to interpret the Categories linguistically. Although neither the title nor the position of the work in the corpus is directly due to Aristotle, they do show that the inclination to treat the Categories as at least partially linguistic goes back to the very earliest tradition of Aristotelian scholarship.

    3. The determination that the categories can be given a linguistic interpretation - even the conclusion that they are linguistic, AckriIl (1) and Benveniste (2) notwithstanding - would not suffice to show that they are not also (in some sense) metaphysical, nor that they are not universal.

    4. The most useful linguistic method to employ in this inquiry is distinctive feature analysis, (3) which has been used in several kinds of linguistic analysis. Passages in the Categories can be interpreted as employing a related method, if not an early version of the method itself." (p. 27)

    (1) J. L. Ackrill, Aristotle' s 'Categories' and 'De Interpretatione', Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1963, p. 71. I have used Ackrill's translation. His notes, to which I refer here, are both helpful and stimulating.

    (2) E. Benveniste, Problems in General Linguistics, Univ. of Miami Press, Coral Gabies; 1971, Chapter 6.

    (3) This method of analysis is due to Roman Jakobson more than to anyone else. See R. Jakobson, C. G. M. Fant, and M. HalIe, Preliminaries to Speech Analysis, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1952; N. Chomsky and M. HalIe, Sound Pattern of English, Harper and Row, New York, 1968; and Fred W. Householder, Linguistic Speculations Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1971. Most recent linguistic textbooks have a discussion of features.

  21. Georgiadis, Costantine. 1973. "Two Conceptions of Substance in Aristotle." The New scholasticism no. 47:157-167.

    "In Aristotle we find the view that an individual thing is a substance but we also find the view that form is substance. Is the meaning of substance ( οὐσία) the same in the two cases? As the title of my paper suggests, I hold that it is not. I shall argue that there are two distinct, though related, conceptions of substance in Aristotle. These are what I call, on the one hand, the reistic conception of substance, according to which substance is an individual thing (res) (2) and, on the other hand, the archological (3) conception of substance, according to which substance is a principle (ἀρχή) of the individual thing." (p. 157)

    (2) The use of the term 'reistic' here does not imply the narrowing of reality to individual objects alone as in T. Kotarbinski's philosophy of reism but only underlines the central position of the individual within reality.

    (3) Giovanni Reale, in his book Il Concetto di Filosofia Prima e l'unità della Metafisica di Aristotele, wrongly uses the term archeologia in the sense of aitiologia. He should have used the term archologia.

  22. Gill, Mary Louise. 1984. "Aristotle on the Individuation of Changes." Ancient Philosophy no. 4:9-22.

    Abstract: "In Physics V 4 Aristotle lists a set of conditions that must be met for a change to be an individual. This account should be viewed against the background of the Categories, where the problem of individuals is first addressed. In the Categories changes apparently fall into the two nonsubstance categories of doing and suffering. So one might expect that the characterization of individual changes in Physics V 4 will fit the account of individual nonsubstances proposed in the Categories. I do not think it does.

    This paper aims to show how the two treatments differ and why individual changes require a different analysis from other nonsubstances."

  23. Gillespie, Charles Melville. 1925. "The Aristotelian Categories." Classical Quarterly no. 19:79-84.

    Reprinted in: J. Barnes, M. Schofield, R. Sorabji (eds.), Articles on Aristotle, 3. Metaphysics, London: Duckworth, 1979, pp. 1-12.

    "The precise position to be assigned to the Categories in the Aristotelian system has always been somewhat of a puzzle. On the one hand, they seem to be worked into the warp of its texture, as in the classification of change, and Aristotle can argue from the premiss that they constitute an exhaustive division of the kinds of Being (An. Post. I. 22, p. 83 b 15). On the other hand, both in the completed scheme of his logic and in his constructive metaphysic they retire into the background, giving place to other notions, such as causation, change, actuality and potentiality." (p. 75)


    "I shall accordingly assume in what follows that the scheme of the Categories was evolved in the course of efforts to establish a doctrine of judgment which should settle the difficulties raised by Megarian and other critics; that the application to the solution of the larger metaphysical problems was a later development ;(3) that the foundations of the scheme were laid in the Socratic tradition of the Academy; that the completed scheme is probably Aristotle's own; and that the original working out of the scheme did not contemplate extension beyond the metaphysics implied in predication to the more fundamental metaphysics of the First Philosophy. Hence we must look to the analysis of empirical propositions for the origin of the scheme." (p. 76)

    (3) a Here I follow Maier [Die Syllogistik des Aristoteles, (3 voll., Leipzig: K. F. Koehler, 1896–1900)].

  24. Graham, Daniel W. 1987. Aristotle's Two Systems. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    Contents: "Preface VII; List of figures XIV; Abbreviations XV; 1. The Two Systems Hypothesis 1; 2. S1: Atomic Substantialism 20; 3. S2: Hylomorphic Substantialism 57; 4. The Incommensurability of the Systems 84; 5. The Hylomorphic Turn 119; 6. The Growth of S2: The Four Causes 156; 7. The Growth of S2: Potentiality and Actuality183; 8. The Paradoxes of Substance: Matter 207; 9. The Paradoxes of Substance: Form 233; 10. S2 Without S1: What Aristotle Should Have Said 263; 11. The Two Systems Theory as an Interpretation of Aristotle 290; References 333; Index Locorum 347; Subject Index 354-359.

    "The idea for this study emerged while I was still working on my dissertation, which I wrote on a topic in Aristotle's philosophy of action. As I was researching the history of the potentiality- actuality distinction, I discovered that Aristotle did not use his word 'matter' anywhere in the logical works. The discovery was a discovery only to me; it had long been known. Yet it seemed amazing to me that a principle as important as that of matter should not appear in so large a body of work. Did this omission have important consequences for the interpretation of Aristotle? I found that interpreters saw the omission as at most a curiosity; after all, the subject-matter of the logical works was unique. Yet the same interpreters had long ago abandoned the assumption that the logical works were purely devoted to logic. In particular, the Categories is commonly taken to be a prime source of information about Aristotle's early metaphysical theory. But how could Aristotle have formulated anything like this mature metaphysical theory without the matter-form distinction? Was the unity of Aristotle's thought not really an illusion? Were there not really two sets of theories, two metaphysical conceptions, two philosophical systems?" (p. VII)


    "In what follows I have tried to give my vision of Aristotle's two systems concrete expression in an argument with historical, philological, but above all philosophical dimensions. If the argument is right, a fact about Aristotle's development that has been relegated to asides and footnotes should have a central place in interpretations of Aristotle--should be a point of departure for many studies and provide a limit of inquiry for others. At present few scholars would agree with such claims. To be sure, many would grant that the metaphysical assumptions of the Categories are different from those of the Metaphysics; but this fact does not seem to have any far-reaching implications for their interpretations of Aristotle, and so I infer that they do not subscribe to a dualistic interpretative theory. A mere handful of scholars have advocated a two-systems theory in some form or other, and I believe that there is only one person who holds the Two Systems Theory with all its ramifications. However, as Socrates has taught us, it does not matter what the many think, but what the expert in truth has to say--that is, what the outcome of the argument is." (p. IX)

  25. Granger, Edgar Herbert. 1980. "A Defense of the Traditional Position Concerning Aristotle's Non-Substantial Particulars." Journal of Philosophy no. 10:593-606.

    "In this paper I shall defend the traditional claim that Aristotle's nonsubstantial particulars discussed in the second chapter of the Categories are unsharable particulars against G. E. L. Owen's claim that they are sharable universals. I shall proceed by presenting first a sketch of the traditional position that makes explicit why it holds that non-substantial particulars are unsharable particulars. (1) Secondly, I shall sketch Owen's position and recount how it differs in certain important respects from the traditional position. (2) Thirdly, I shall present some of my own considerations that I believe support the traditional position at the expense of Owen's position. Finally, I shall offer what I take to be the primary reason Aristotle was committed to the existence of such odd items as non-substantial particulars." (pp. 593-594)

    (1) My reconstruction of the traditional position is based on the following sources: W. D. Ross, Aristotle, 5th ed. (London: Methuen, 1949): 23-24, 24, n. 1 (hereafter cited as Arist.); J. R. Jones, "Are the Qualities of Particular Things Universal or Particular?" Philosophical Review 58 (1949): 152-156, 162-163; G. E. M. Anscombe and P. T. Geach, Three Philosophers: Aristotle, Aquinas and Frege (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1961): 8-10; R. E. Allen, "Individual Properties in Aristotle's Categories," Phronesis 14 (1969): 31-32; Ignacio Angelelli, Studies on Gottlob Frege and Traditional Philosophy (New York: Humanities Press, 1967): 12-15. Angelelli's account is especially important because it reflects the opinion of scholars from late antiquity to the present.

    (2) G. E. L. Owen, "lnherence," Phronesis 10 (1965): 97-105.

  26. ———. 1984. "Aristotle on Genus and Differentia." Journal of the History of Philosophy no. 22:1-23.

    Abstract: "In Aristotle's writings there are at least three accounts of the nature of genus and differentia. These accounts may be briefly described in these terms: (I) genus and differentia are radically distinct in character, and the genus is the more important element in the definition; (II) genus and differentia are very similar in character and importance; (III) genus and differentia are similar in character, but the differentia is the more important element in the definition. These accounts represent, I believe, three stages in the development of Aristotle's thought. In this paper I shall examine each account and explain, at least in part, why Aristotle adopts them."

  27. Gregoric, Pavel. 2006. "Quantities and Contraries: Aristotle's Categories 6, 5b11-6a18." Apeiron no. 39:341-358.

    "The immediate purpose of this paper is fairly modest. I would like to provide an analysis of Aristotle's three counterexamples to his claim that no quantity has a contrary in Categories 6. I will have something to say about Aristotle's discussion of the first two counterexamples, although the bulk of my paper will be devoted to his discussion of the third counterexample at 6a11-18,a passage which has not received due attention by modem commentators. My analysis will then provide a basis for some suggestions of wider significance.

    In Categories 6, 5b11 Aristotle introduces one salient characteristic of quantities, namely that none of them has a contrary (enantion). Immediately following the statement of this characteristic, Aristotle takes on an anticipated objection. The objection consists of two counterexamples: to the many the contrary is the few, to something large the contrary is something small. Each pair of terms is supposed to present a counterexample to Aristotle's characteristic for one type of quantity: the former pair for discrete quantities, the latter for continuous quantities. Aristotle takes each pair of terms in turn,and shows that what they introduce are (a) neither quantities (b) nor contraries." (p. 341)

  28. Hacking, Ian. 2001. "Aristotelian Categories and Cognitive Domains." Synthese no. 126:473-515.

    Abstract: "This paper puts together an ancient and a recent approach to classificatory language, thought, and ontology.It includes on the one hand an interpretation of Aristotle's ten categories, with remarks on his first category, called (or translated as) substance in the Categories or What a thing is in the Topics. On the other hand is the idea of domain-specific cognitive abilities urged in contemporary developmental psychology. Each family of ideas can be used to understand the other. Neither the metaphysical nor the psychological approach is intrinsically more fundamental; they complement each other. The paper incidentally clarifies distinct uses of the word 'category' in different disciplines, and also attempts to make explicit several notions of 'domain'. It also examines Aristotle's most exotic and least discussed categories, being-in-a-position (e.g., sitting) and having-(on) (e.g., armour). Finally the paper suggests a tentative connection between Fred Sommers' theory of types and Aristotle's first category."

  29. Hamlyn, David W. 1961. "Aristotle on Predication." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 6:110-126.

    "In dealing with the Greek Philosophers we tend to take the notion of predication for granted: we tend to assume that we have the right to use the term 'predicate' without question, in discussing the theories put forward by e.g. Plato and Aristotle. An example of this tendency is the common assertion that Plato held that the Forms were self-predicable. While this assertion may be in some sense true, it does assume that the notion of predication may be taken for granted. This assumption is, perhaps, partly due to a further assumption that the notion of predication is a logical or even grammatical notion, and that Plato and Aristotle must therefore have seen its importance and employed it accordingly. I wish to question that assumption in Aristotle's case.

    I have already questioned it in connection with Plato,(1) saying that Plato was continually trying to account for what we should call predication in terms of notions akin to that of identity. It is tempting to assume that because Aristotle had the term 'predicate' at his disposal, he must have known all about the notion. It is moreover, a feasible suggestion that in Aristotle 'κατηγορέιν' is a technical term the origins of which are obvious. The use of the phrase 'κατηγορέιν τι κατά τινος' stems from legal contexts; it thus comes to mean 'to maintain or assert something of something' and it perhaps retains something of an accusatorial aura.

    But while the use of the phrase implies that Aristotle knew in some sense something about what it is to assert something of another thing, it does not imply that he could ipso facto provide the correct theory about it. What is true is that the trend of Aristotle's metaphysical thought led him towards a view of predication which involved treating it as something much more than a mere grammatical notion." (p. 110)

    (1) See my "The Communion of Forms and the Development of Plato's Logic" Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 5. No. 21, I9S5, pp. 289 ff.

  30. ———. 1978. "Focal Meaning." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society no. 78:1-18.

    "In recent years much philosophical scholarship has been devoted to the place in Aristotle's thinking of what G. E. L. Owen has called 'focal meaning'; and much is due to Professor Owen in particular in this connexion. Less attention has perhaps been given to the question whether Aristotle should be complimented on that idea - whether, that is, the concept is one that we should welcome and accept into our inherited philosophical treasury. It is this question with which I am mainly concerned in this paper; a full answer would no doubt

    demand a broader conspectus of Aristotle's thought than I can take in the space available." (p. 1)


    "I have pointed out that the explanation of the uses of 'healthy' by reference to health provides no true instances of primary and secondary uses or senses of a word, let alone cases. But when Aristotle says the substance is said to be in the primary way while things in the other categories are said to be in a secondary way we may be provided with an instance of primary and secondary senses, or so it might appear. In fact we are not provided with this in a technical sense, since Aristotle does not operate with a sense and reference distinction. That is why I, as in effect Aristotle normally does, put the point in terms of something's being said to be in a primary or secondary way.

    That homonymy is for Aristotle something that belongs to things in relation to words rather than to words simpliciter is notorious; hence he approaches the relation between words and things from the side of things, rather than from the side of words as we are perhaps inclined to do." (pp. 6-7)

  31. Harari, Orna. 2011. "The Unity of Aristotle's Category of Relatives." Classical Quarterly no. 61:521-537.

    "In Categories 7 Aristotle discusses relative terms, which he defines in the opening paragraph of this chapter as ‘things as are said to be just what they are, of or than other things, or in some other way in relation to something else’ (6a36–7).(1) In clarifying this definition, he presents two lists of examples; the first contains ‘greater’ and ‘double’ and the second contains ‘states’, ‘conditions’, ‘perception’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘position’ (6a38–b3). The terms of the second list seem to be foreign to this discussion. The definition of relatives and the terms presented in the first list suggest that relatives are incomplete predicates or relational attributes,(2) but states, conditions, perception, knowledge and position are complete predicates.

    Linguistic usage does not require these terms to be followed by a preposition.

    The difficulty involved in understanding the place of conditions and states in the category of relatives extends beyond linguistic considerations. Other linguistically complete predicates are included in Aristotle’s category of relatives, but their categorial status seems pretty obvious. ‘Slave’, for instance, is a linguistically complete term, but it can easily be construed as implicitly referring to the correlative ‘master’: that is, the proposition ‘x is a slave’ may be construed as implying the proposition ‘x is a slave of y (when y stands for x’s master). Similarly, the term ‘large’, though linguistically complete, implies (as Aristotle says in Categories 6) that its subject is larger than other things of its kind (5b15–20). By contrast, the categorial status of conditions and states remains uncertain, even if their correlatives are supplied, because they seem to be internal dispositions of their subjects rather than relational attributes." (p. 521)

    (1) Ackrill’s translation.

    (2) For this interpretation see J.L. Ackrill, Aristotle’s Categories and De Interpretatione (Oxford, 1962), 98; M. Mignucci, ‘Aristotle’s definition of relatives in Categories 7’, Phronesis 31 (1986), 101–29, at 103–4.

  32. Heinaman, Robert. 1981. "Non-Substantial Individuals in the Categories." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 26 (295):307.

    Abstract: "There is a dispute as to what sort of entity non-substantial individuals are in Aristotle's Categories. The traditional interpretation holds that non-substantial individuals are individual qualities, quantities, etc. For example, Socrates' white is an individual quality belonging to him alone, numerically distinct from (though possibly specifically identical with) other individual colors. I will refer to these sorts of entities as 'individual instances.'

    The new interpretation (1) suggests instead that non-substantial individuals are atomic species such as a specific shade of white that is indivisible into more specific shades. On this view, non-substantial individuals are what we would call universals (2) which can be present in different individual substances, but are labelled 'individuals' by Aristotle because, like individual substances, there is nothing they are said of. (3)

    In this paper I will defend the traditional account by attempting to show that it is supported by the slender textual evidence that is available. I will begin by stating three serious objections to the traditional interpretation. Next I will show that in works later than the Categories Aristotle accepted individual instances of properties of the sort found in the Categories by the traditional interpretation. Finally, I will set out the evidence that supports the traditional interpretation and answer the three objections."

    (1) G. E. L. Owen, "Inherence," Phronesis (1965), pp. 97-105; Michael Frede, "Individuen bei Aristoteles," Antike and Abendland (1978), pp. 16-31. In fact, it is not clear to me what Professor Frede considers non-substantial individuals to be. While he refers approvingly to Owen, Owen's account collapses the distinction between είδει εν and ἀριθμό εν in the case of non-substances whereas it appears that Frede wishes to retain this distinction (pp. 23-24). Since he does not explain what individual non-substances which are numerically different but specifically identical are supposed to be or in virtue of what they are numerically different, by the "new interpretation" I will mean solely that explained in the text.

    (2) This is not, as Allen, Matthews and Cohen think, an objection to the new interpretation (R. E. Allen, "Individual Properties in Aristotle's Categories," Phronesis (1969), p. 37; Gary Matthews and S. Marc Cohen, "The One and the Many," Review of Metaphysics (1968), pp. 640-41). There is no justification for the presupposition that Aristotle must have used the terms 'individual' and 'universal' in the Categories in the same way as in later works or as they are used today. (Of course, the word καθόλου' does not appear in the Categories).

    (3) That is, for any individual x there is no y such that the name and definition of x are predicable of y (2a19-27).

  33. Hetherington, Stephen. 1984. "A Note on Inherence." Ancient Philosophy:218-223.

    "In Aristotle's Categories (2a34-b6: see also Meta. VII. 1), the category of substance is claimed to be prior in existence to the various categories of nonsubstance.

    This priority is articulated in the Categories largely via Aristotle's relation of inherence. The latter is one of two relations whereby Aristotle purports to quarter the furniture of the world, the members of the categories. The other is that of 'being said of'. The quartering is effected thus (Cat. 1 a20-b9): some things are said of others but are not in anything: other things are said of a subject as well as being in a subject: still others are not said of anything, but are in a subject: the rest are neither said of nor in something; and these four combinations are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive.

    Now, while the said-of relation is fairly straightforward, the inherence relation is not. According to Cat. 2a1 9-26, y is said of x if and only if y's name and y's definition, or account, are both predicated of x. And y is in x if and only if... what?

    There are several competing interpretations of Aristotle's inherence relation, but it is not my aim in this paper to choose among them. I do want, however, to sharpen the terms of the debate by formulating a particularly important one of those interpretations, G .E.L. Owen's, much more clearly than it has hitherto been formulated.

    We will then be in a better position to evaluate the various merits of Owen's interpretation, some of which, up to now, have not been clearly perceived. Aristotle's notion of inherence is a technical one, but it is one that relies on a comparatively nontechnical notion of inherence. We shall see that understanding the latter is the key to the former, and hence that once the technical notion is precisely understood, Owen's interpretation can itself be properly assessed." (p. 218, notes omitted)

  34. 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.

  35. ———. 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.

  36. ———. 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)

  37. 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 Aristotle'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."

  38. 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)

  39. ———. 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."

  40. ———. 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.

Related pages

On the website "Theory and History of Ontology" (

Semantics and Ontological Analysis in Aristotle's Categories

Aristotle's Categories. Annotated Bibliography of the studies in English:

First part: A - C

Third part: I - O

Fourth part: P - Z

Bibliographie der deutschen Studien zur Aristoteles Kategorien

Bibliographie des études en français sur les Catégories d'Aristote

Bibliografia degli studi italiani sulle Categorie di Aristotele

Aristotle: Bibliographical Resources on Selected Philosophical Works

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

Index of the Section: Ancient Philosophy from the Presocratics to the Hellenistic Period