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


  1. Perin, Casey Carlton. 2007. "Substantial universals in Aristotle's Categories." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no. 33:125-144.

    "Aristotle in the Categories, but not elsewhere, presents the distinction between individual substances such as Socrates or Bucephalus and their species and genera as the distinction between primary (πρώται) and secondary (δευτέραι) substances (2A11–19).

    The distinction between primary and secondary substances, in turn, is a distinction between substances that are particulars and substances that are universals.


    "Therefore, according to the definitions of ‘universal’ and ‘particular’ Aristotle gives in De interpretatione, a primary substance is not a universal but a particular. In the Categories a secondary substance is the species or genus of a primary substance (2A14–19).The

    species human being, for instance, is said of, and so predicated of, all individual human beings (Socrates, Callias, Coriscus, etc.). The genus animal is said of, and so predicated of, its species (human being, horse, dog, etc.) as well as all individual animals (Socrates,

    Bucephalus the horse, Fido the dog, etc.). Since a secondary substance is predicated of more than one being or entity as its subject, it is not a particular but a universal.3 The question I want to try to answer here is why, according to Aristotle in the Categories, certain

    universals such as the species human being or the genus animal are substances." (pp. 126-127, notes omitted)


    "On Aristotle’s view in the Categories, then, the species or genus of a primary substance is both a subject for inherence, and for this reason a substance, and, being a universal, a predicable predicated of (said of) a plurality of subjects. The non-substantial items that

    inhere in the species or genus of a primary substance are all of those non-substantial items that inhere in the primary substances of which that species or genus is predicated. As a result the species or genus of a primary substance, unlike a primary substance itself,

    is a subject for inherence in which contraries can inhere at one and the same time. This view obviously invites a question that, as far as I know, no commentator has yet answered: what kind of being or entity could this be?" (pp. 142-143)

  2. Rijk, Lambertus Marie de. 1951. "The Authenticity of Aristotle's Categories." Mnemosyne no. 4:129-159.

    "Most scholars either deny Aristotle's authorship of the first treatise of the Organon, or else consider the problem of authorship to be insoluble. I maintain, however, that such judgements are wrong and that the treatise is of genuine Aristotelian authorship, and of considerable importance for our knowledge both of Aristotle's own development, and also that of later Platonism. I shall try to show the authenticity of the treatise in the following study, and shall divide my investigation into the following main divisions:

    A. The view of the ancient commentators concerning the authenticity of Categories Chs. 1-9;

    B. Modern criticism of the authenticity of Categories Chs. 1-9;

    C. The authenticity of Categories Chs. 10-15." (p. 129)

    [See also the following note to Ancient and mediaeval semantics and metaphysics (Second part), Vivarium, November, 1978, p. 85: "Unlike some 30 years ago (see my papers published in Mnemosyne 1951), the present author has his serious doubts, now, on the authenticity of the first treatise of the Organon" and the review by Kurt von Fritz (1954)].

  3. ———. 1952. The Place of the Categories of Being in Aristotle's Philosophy. Assen: Van Gorcum.

    Ph.D. thesis, Utrecht University.

    Contents: Bibliography I-III; Introduction 1-7; Chapter I. Aristotle's doctrine of truth 8-35; Chapter II. The distinction of essential and accidental being pp. 31-43; Chapter III. Logical and ontological accident 44-52; Chapter IV. The nature of the categories in the Metaphysics 53-66; Chapter V. The doctrine of the categories in the first treatise of the Organon 67-75; Chapter VI. The use of the categories in the work of Aristotle 76-88; Appendix. The names of the categories 89-92; Index locorum 93-96.

    "It seems to be the fatal mistake of philology that it always failed to get rid of Kantian influences as to the question of the relation of logic and ontology. Many modern mathematical logicians have shown that the logical and the ontological aspect not only are inseparable but also that in many cases it either lacks good sense or is even impossible to distinguish them. Accordingly, the distinction of logical and ontological truth (especially of propositional truth and term-truth), that of logical and ontological accident and that of logical and ontological categories, has not the same meaning for modem logic as it seems to have for 'traditional' logic (for instance the logic of most Schoolmen).

    I hope to show in this study that the distinction of a logical and an ontological aspect (especially that of logical and ontological categories) can be applied to the Aristotelian doctrine only with the greatest reserve. A sharp distinction carried through rigorously turns out to be unsuitable when being applied to Aristotelian logic. For both aspects are, for Aristotle, not only mutually connected but even interwoven, and this in such a way that the ontological aspect seems to prevail, the logical being only an aspect emerging more or less in Aristotle's generally ontological way of thinking." (pp. 6-7)

  4. ———. 1978. "On Ancient and Mediaeval Semantics and Metaphysics. Part II. The Multiplication of Being in Aristotle's Categories." Vivarium no. 16:81-117.

    "3. The Multiplication of Being in Aristotle's Categories

    3.1. Introduction. One of the results of the preceding section may be that Lloyd (1956, p. 59) seems to be wrong in asserting that in Plato's view the rôle of the universal is played by the Idea exclusively, and that only by the time of the Middle Academy, that is, for the Platonists of the first two centuries A.D., the performers of this rôle have been multiplied. As a matter of fact the distinction between Plato and his followers of the Middle Academy on this score would seem to be a different one. The ontological problems of participation were felt as early as in the Platonic dialogues (see our section 2), as well as the logical ones concerning predication (which will be discussed in a later section). Well, the Platonists of the first two centuries A.D., introduced explicitly a threefold distinction of the Platonic Form or rather of its status which was (only) implied with Plato. I think, Lloyd is hardly more fortunate in ascribing (ibid.) this introduction chiefly to the influence of Aristotelian logic on Platonic interpretation. It is true, in stating the basic distinction between en hypokeimenôi and kath' hypokeimenou Aristotle tried to face the same cluster of fundamental problems which induced later Platonists to the distinction of the Forms as taken before or after the methexis (cf. Simplicius, In Arist. Categ. 79, 12ff.). However, Plato's disciple, Aristotle (the most unfaithful one, in a sense, as must be acknowledged) was as deeply engaged on the same problems as were his condisciples and the Master himself in his most mature period. It is certainly not Aristotle who played the rôle of a catalyst and was the first to provoke the multiplication of the Platonic Form in order to solve problems which were not recognized before in the Platonic circle. On the contrary, Plato himself had saddled his pupils with a basic and most intricate problem, that of the nature of participation and logical predication. It was certainly not left quite unsolved in the later dialogues, but did still not have a perspicuous solution which could be accepted in the School as a scholastic one. So any of his serious followers, (who were teachers in the School, at the same time) was bound to contrive, at least, a scholastic device to answer the intricate question. To my view, Aristotle's solution should be discussed in this framework. For that matter, Aristotle stands wholly on ground prepared by his master to the extent that his works on physic and cosmology, too, are essentially discussions held within the Academy (Cp. Werner Jaeger, Aristotle. Fundamentals of the history of his development, Oxford 1949, 308)." pp. 81-82

    3.2. Aristotle's classification of being as given in the Categories; 3.2.1. The common view: categories = predicates; 3.2.2. The things said 'aneu symplokés'; 3.2.3. The doctrine of substance given in the Categories; 3.2.4. The ontological character of the classification; 3.2.5. Some obscurities of the classification; 3.2.6. The different status of the 'things' meant; The first item of the classification; The second item of the classification; The third item of the classification; The ontological status of the 'things' meant in the items (2) and (3); The fourth item of classification; 3.2.7. The relation between the different 'things'; 3.3. Categories and predicables; 3.3.1. The opposition of category and predicable; 3.3.2. The impact of the opposition; 3.3.3. The obscure position of the differentia; 3.3.4. Conclusion.

  5. ———. 1980. "On Ancient and Mediaeval Semantics and Metaphysics. Part III. The Categories as Classes of Names." Vivarium no. 18:1-62.

    "4. The Categories as Classes of Names; 4.1. Status quaestionis. The previous sections contain several hints to the close interrelation between three major issues in Plato's doctrine, viz. the question about the true nature of the Forms and those about participation and predication. Indeed, for the founder of the theory of the Forms, predication was bound to become a problem. Forms are immutable and indivisible; yet other Ideas have to participate in them; they are unique, by themselves and subsistent; yet, when saying `John is man' (or white), `Peter is man' (or white), should there be one perfect, eternal, immutable etc. Form of MAN (or WHITE) in the one and another in the other? Or, as I have put it above [1977: 85]: if John, Peter, and William are wise, does this mere fact mean that there must be something which they are all related to in exactly the same manner, namely WISDOM itself? And if `John is wise', 'Peter is wise', and `William is wise' are all true statements, what exactly is the meaning of the predicate name 'wise'? The former question is concerned with participation, the latter with predication. Well, that the crux of the latter problem is not the separate existence of the Forms (chôrismos) clearly appears from the fact that also the author of the Categories, who had entirely abandoned all kind of chôrismos, could apparently not get rid of a similar problem: if the categories really are classes of 'things there are' (1 a 20) (i.e. 'real' substances, 'real' natures, and 'real' properties), rather than concepts (i.e. logical attributes), what kind of 'thing' is meant by a term qua 'category'? So for Aristotle the semantic problem still remained. His distinction between en hypokeimenôi and kath' hypokeimenou could only hide the original problem. It is often said that these phrases refer to different domains, the metaphysical and the logical one, respectively. We have already found some good reasons to qualify this opposition (see [1978], 84; 88). It seems to be useful now to collect all kind of information from Aristotle's writings, not only the Categories, about the proper meaning of the categories. This will be the aim of our sections 4.2-4.7." pp. 1-2

    4.2. On some modern interpretations of 'kata symplokên'; 4.3. Aristotle's use of the categories; "For this section see also my Utrecht dissertation, The place of the Categories of Being in Aristotle's philosophy, Assen 1952 pp. 76-88. I have to correct or to adjust my former views on several points."; 4.31. The categories as a classification of reality; 4. 32. The categories as a classification of sentence predicates; 4.33. The categories as a classification of 'copulative being'; 4.4. How did Aristotle arrive at his list of categories?; 4.5. Are the categories the 'highest predicates'?; 4.6. The categories taken as names in Metaph. Z 1-6 and Anal. Post. I 4; 4.7. An attempt at a reinterpretation of Categories, chs. 1-5; 4.8. Aristotle's view on relatives; 4.9. Conclusion.

  6. ———. 1988. "'Categorization' as a Key Notion in Ancient and Medieval Semantics." Vivarium no. 26:1-18.

    "The aim of this paper is to argue for a twofold thesis: (a) for Aristotle the verb 'katêgorein' does not as such stand for statemental predication, let alone of the well-known 'S is P' type, and (b) 'non-statemental predication' or 'categorization' plays an important role in Ancient and Medieval philosophical procedure.

    1. Katêgorein and katêgoria in Aristotle

    Aristotle was the first to use the word 'category' (katêgoria) as a technical term in logic and philosophy. It is commonly taken to mean 'highest predicate' and explained in terms of statement-making. From the logical point of view categories are thus considered 'potential predicates'.(*)


    1.3 Name giving ('categorization') as the key tool in the search for 'true substance'

    What Aristotle actually intends in his metaphysical discussions in the central books of his Metaphysics (Z-Th) is to discover the proper candidate for the name 'ousia'. According to Aristotle, the primary kind of 'being' or 'being as such' (to on hêi on) can only be found in 'being-ness' (ousia; see esp. Metaph. 1028b2). Unlike Plato, however, Aristotle is sure to find 'being as such' in the domain of things belonging to the everyday world. Aristotle's most pressing problem is to grasp the things' proper nature qua beings. In the search for an answer name-giving plays a decisive role: the solution to the problem consists in finding the most appropriate ('essential') name so as to bring everyday being into the discourse in such a way that precisely its 'beingness' is focussed upon.


    2. The use of 'praedicare' in Boethius

    The Greek phrase katêgorein ti kata tinos is usually rendered in Latin as praedicare aliquid de aliquo. The Latin formula primarily means 'to say something of something else' (more precisely 'of somebody'). Of course, the most common meaning of the Latin phrase is 'to predicate something of something else in making a statement of the form S = P'. However, the verb praedicare, just as its Greek counterpart katêgorein, is used more than once merely in the sense of 'naming' or 'designating by means of a certain name', regardless of the syntactic role that name performs in a statement. In such cases praedicare stands for the act of calling up something under a certain name (designation), a procedure that we have labelled 'categorization'. (...)

    Boethius' use of praedicare is quite in line with what is found in other authors. Along with the familiar use of the verb for statemental predication, Boethius also frequently uses praedicare in the sense of 'naming' or 'designating something under a certain name' whereby the use of the designating word in predicate position is, sometimes even explicitly, ruled out." pp. 1, 4, 9-10.

    (*) See L. M. de Rijk, The Categories as Classes of Names (= On Ancient and Medieval Semantics 3), in: Vivarium, 18 (1980), 1-62, esp. 4-7

  7. ———. 2002. Aristotle: Semantics and Ontology. Volume I: General Introduction. The Works on Logic. Leiden: Brill.

    From the Preface: "In this book I intend to show that the ascription of many shortcomings or obscurities to Aristotle resulted from persistent misinterpretation of key notions in his work. The idea underlying this study is that commentators have wrongfully attributed anachronistic perceptions of 'predication', and statement-making in general to Aristotle. In Volume I, what I consider to be the genuine semantics underlying Aristotle's expositions of his philosophy are culled from the Organon. Determining what the basic components of Aristotle's semantics are is extremely important for our understanding of his view of the task of logic -- his strategy of argument in particular.

    In chapter 1, after some preliminary considerations I argue that when analyzed at deep structure level, Aristotelian statement-making does not allow for the dyadic 'S is P' formula. An examination of the basic function of `be' and its cognates in Aristotle's philosophical investigations shows that in his analysis statement-making is copula-less. Following traditional linguistics I take the 'existential' or hyparctic use of `be' to be the central one in Greek (pace Kahn), on the understanding that in Aristotle hyparxis is found not only in the stronger form of 'actual occurrence' but also in a weaker form of what I term 'connotative (or intensional) be' (1.3-1.6). Since Aristotle's 'semantic behaviour', in spite of his skilful manipulation of the diverse semantic levels of expressions, is in fact not explicitly organized in a well-thought-out system of formal semantics, I have, in order to fill this void, formulated some semantic rules of thumb (1.7).

    In chapter 2 I provide ample evidence for my exegesis of Aristotle's statement-making, in which the opposition between 'assertible' and `assertion' is predominant and in which 'is' functions as an assertoric operator rather than as a copula (2.1-2.2). Next, I demonstrate that Aristotle's doctrine of the categories fits in well with his view of copula-less statement-making, arguing that the ten categories are 'appellations' ('nominations') rather than sentence predicates featuring in an 'S is P' formation (2.3-2.4). Finally, categorization is assessed in the wider context of Aristotle's general strategy of argument (2.5-2.7).

    In the remaining chapters of the first volume (3-6) I present more evidence for my previous findings concerning Aristotle's 'semantic behaviour' by enquiring into the role of his semantic views as we find them in the several tracts of the Organon, in particular the Categories De interpretatione and Posterior Analytics. These tracts are dealt with in extenso, in order to avoid the temptation to quote selectively to suit my purposes."

  8. ———. 2002. Aristotle: Semantics and Ontology. Volume II: The Metaphysics, Semantics in Aristotle's Strategy of Argument. Leiden: Brill.

    From the Preface to the first volume: "The lion's part of volume two (chapters 7-11) is taken up by a discussion of the introductory books of the Metaphysics (A-E) and a thorough analysis of its central books (Z-H-O). I emphasize the significance of Aristotle's semantic views for his metaphysical investigations, particularly for his search for the true ousia. By focusing on Aristotle's semantic strategy I hope to offer a clearer and more coherent view of his philosophical position, in particular in those passages which are often deemed obscure or downright ambiguous.

    In chapter 12 1 show that a keen awareness of Aristotle's semantic modus operandi is not merely useful for the interpretation of his metaphysics, but is equally helpful in gaining a clearer insight into many other areas of the Stagirite's sublunar ontology (such as his teaching about Time and Prime matter in Physics).

    In the Epilogue (chapter 13), the balance is drawn up. The unity of Aristotelian thought is argued for and the basic semantic tools of localization and categorization are pinpointed as the backbone of Aristotle's strategy of philosophic argument.

    My working method is to expound Aristotle's semantic views by presenting a running commentary on the main lines found in the Organon with the aid of quotation and paraphrase. My findings are first tested (mainly in Volume II) by looking at the way these views are applied in Aristotle's presentation of his ontology of the sublunar world as set out in the Metaphysics, particularly in the central books (ZHO). As for the remaining works, I have dealt with them in a rather selective manner, only to illustrate that they display a similar way of philosophizing and a similar strategy of argument. In the second volume, too, the exposition is in the form of quotation and paraphrase modelled of Aristotle's own comprehensive manner of treating doctrinally related subjects: he seldom discussed isolated problems in the way modern philosophers in their academic papers, like to deal with special issues tailored to their own contemporary philosophic interest."

  9. Rohr, Michael D. 1978. "Aristotle on the Transitivity of Being said of." Journal of the History of Philosophy no. 16:379-385.

    Aristotle, in several of his treatises, discusses or makes use of the ontological tie or relation' being said of (and its converse partaking of), whose importance to his thought has been recognized by many scholars. Its pervasiveness guarantees that there will be difficulties in its interpretation. (2) To isolate it as an object of Aristotelian exegesis, I shall tentatively identify it with the sortal tie and so take it as connecting (in Aristotelian terms) each genus to all the species and individuals falling under that genus and each species to all the individuals and subordinate species (if any) falling under that species." (p. 379), two notes omitted)

    (2) Some recent attempts at interpreting it may be found in Chung-Hwan Chen, "On Aristotle's Two Expressions," Phronesis 2 (1957):148-59; Aristotle's Categories and De Interpretatione, trans. J. L. Ackrill (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), pp. 75-90; R. E. Alien, "Substance and Predication in Aristotle's Categories," in Exegesis and Argument, ed. E. N. Lee, A. P. D. Mourelatos, and R. M, Rorty (New York: Humanities Press, 1973), pp. 362-73; and Russell Dancy, "On Some of Aristotle's First Thoughts About Substances," The Philosophical Review 84 (1975): 338-73.

  10. Ross, William David. 1939. "The Authenticity of Aristotle's Categories." Journal of Philosophy no. 36:431-433.

    "Professor Husik (*) has done a service to students of Aristotle by reminding them of his earlier article, which, buried in the decent obscurity of a learned journal, had escaped my attention, as well as that of many other students.

    The authenticity of the Categories is well attested by external evidence. The work was accepted as genuine by almost all the ancient scholars (πάντες παρτυρώσι, says Philoponus). A succession of scholars wrote commentaries on it as on a genuine work of Aristotle, from the third century A.D. onwards -- Porphyry, Dexippus, Ammonius, Philoponus, Simplicius, Olympiodorus, not to speak of the later commentators, Elias and David. Its genuineness was, however, probably doubted by some scholars, for several of the commentators devote themselves to refuting arguments against its genuineness -- e.g., Philoponus 12.34-13.5, Simplicius 379.7-380.15, Olympiodorus 22.38-24.20. The arguments which they set themselves to meet-arguments derived from supposed contradictions between the Categories and certain works of Aristotle- are invariably weak, and the answers given by the commentators are convincing." (p. 431)

    [* I. Husik, "The Authenticity of Aristotle's Categories", Journal of Philosophy, 1939]

  11. ———. 1995. Aristotle. London and New York: Routledge.

    Sixth edition. With an introduction by John L. Ackrill (First edition 1923, fifth revised edition 1953); on the Categories see pp. 22-26.

    "Ross’s book gives a concise and comprehensive account of Aristotle’s philosophical works—and no better account exists.

    In this Introduction I will say something about Ross and about his book, and I will then outline some of the ways in which the study of Aristotle has developed in the years since he wrote it." (From the Introduction by J. L. Ackrill, p. VII).


    "It is highly probable that the doctrine [of categories] began as an attempt to solve certain difficulties about predication which had troubled the Megaric school and other earlier thinkers.(18) Aristotle’s object seems to have been to clear up the question by distinguishing the main types of meaning of the words and phrases that can be combined to make a sentence. And in doing this he arrived at the earliest known classification of the main types of entity involved in the structure of reality.

    Why are they called categories? The ordinary meaning of is ‘predicate,’ but the first category has for its primary members individual substances, which according to Aristotle’s doctrine are never properly predicates but always subjects. It has sometimes, therefore, been thought that primary substances do not fit properly into the doctrine of the categories. But this is not the case. ‘Socrates’ is, indeed, on Aristotelian principles no proper predicate; but if we ask what Socrates is, the ultimate, i.e. the most general, answer is ‘a substance,’ just as, if we ask what red is, the ultimate answer is ‘a quality.’ The categories are a list of the widest predicates which are predicable essentially of the various nameable entities, i.e. which tell us what kinds of entity at bottom they are." (pp. 23-24)

    (18) This view is ably expressed in O. Apelt’s: Kategorienlehre des Aristoteles in Beiträge zur Geschichte der Griechischen Philosophie. Leipzig, 1891

  12. Sanford, Jonathan J. 2004. "Categories and Metaphysics: Aristotle's Science of Being." In Categories: Historical and Systematic Essays, edited by Gorman, Michael and Sanford, Jonathan J., 3-20. Washington: Catholic University of America Press.

    "The relationship between Aristotle’s Categories and his Metaphysics is a matter of some debate. If one assumes that the Categories is fundamentally a metaphysical work, then there appear to be irreconcilable differences between the notion of substance presented in the Categories and that presented in Metaphysics Z (VII). The Categories account of substance does not present matter as a component of hylomorphic substance, nor does it consider substance as a formal cause of unity, both of which are key ideas of Metaphysics Z (VII). The Metaphysics therefore represents a break with Aristotle’s older metaphysical scheme. On the other hand, if one assumes that the Categories is fundamentally a logical work that makes no pretence to being a work of metaphysics, then the account of substance and the other categories in the Categories is at worst irrelevant to, and at best only obliquely related to, what Aristotle attempts to accomplish in the Metaphysics. I think that the truth lies somewhere between these two views. The Categories is best understood as both a logical and a metaphysical account. The metaphysics presented in the Categories is by no means complete, but Aristotle does not claim that it is. Aristotle does not, in the Metaphysics, break with his ideas in the Categories, but deepens them and works to fill out his metaphysics. In this essay I consider the relationship between Aristotle’s metaphysics and his theory of categories from the perspective of the requirements of science. The Metaphysics presents Aristotle’s science of being, but, as his logical works show, science depends on categories.

    Thus the Metaphysics cannot be understood apart from the works—especially the Categories, the Topics, and the Posterior Analytics—in which Aristotle explains what categories are, how they are used, and what their relationship to science is. There are indeed some difficulties in positing a close relationship between Aristotle’s earlier and later works, especially in regard to what gives unity to a science and the importance of being in the sense of potentiality and actuality. Still, these problems are not so great as to constitute a disjunction between Aristotle’s earlier and later works. Indeed, Aristotle’s attempts to describe being in each of its four senses in the Metaphysics are possible only because of the close relationship between logic and metaphysics, a relationship that he elucidates in his Categories and some other earlier works." (pp. 3-4, notes omitted)

  13. Scheu, Marina M. 1944. The Categories of Being in Aristotle and St. Thomas. Washington: Catholic University of America Presss.

    Contents: List of tables VIII; Preface IX; List of abbreviations XIII; Part I. Categories in Aristotle. I. The history and general nature of the categories 3; II. The logical aspect of the categories in Aristotle 13; III. The metaphysical aspect of the categories in Aristotle 23; Part II. Categories in St. Thomas. IV. The history of the categories from Aristotle to St. Thomas 38; V. General nature of the categories in Thomistic philosophy 46; VI. The nature of substance 64; VII. The nature of accident 77; Summary and conclusion 96; Bibliography 98; Index 102-109.

    ""Knowledge to be of value must be founded on reality. Hence it follows that unless our ideas faithfully reflect reality, our judgments about it will be false. One of the most evident illustrations of this fact is found in the divergent views philosophers have taken with regard to our widest universal concepts, the categories of being. It is, therefore, an important task of metaphysics to inquire into the modes which characterize the being that these concepts represent.

    Aristotle, the first philosopher known to have undertaken this task, presents a classification of categories in his logical treatise entitled Categories. Nor does he confine his doctrine to but this one of his works. Numerous references to the categories are found in practically all of his writings, especially in the Metaphysics.

    To St. Thomas Aquinas, however, we owe the development and perfection of the theory of the categories. He, it is true, wrote no authentic logical treatise' on the subject as did Aristotle, but his doctrine of the categories can be culled from his numerous discussions of them throughout his more metaphysical works in particular, especially from the Quaestiones Disputatae, the Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics, and the Summa Theologica.

    It is the purpose of this study, which is to be primarily metaphysical and Thomistic in character, to present the general teaching of St. Thomas on the categories. Our treatment of Aristotle, then, is to give the proper background, since obviously it is the Aristotelian plan that is the point of departure for all Thomistic study of the subject. Without this Aristotelian environment in which St. Thomas worked, his position would be much less clear. In a word, the Thomistic section of this study will reveal that St. Thomas developed and perfected Aristotelian thought.

    The problem of the categories is twofold: logical, in so far as it involves a classification of our generic concepts ; metaphysical, in that it must necessarily regard and classify the objects of those concepts, that is, real beings Therefore, after considering the history and general nature of the categories in the first chapter of the Aristotelian section, we shall examine the logical and metaphysical aspect in the two chapters following. Chapter four will present the historical transition from Aristotle to St. Thomas. Since St. Thomas wrote no logical treatise on the categories, nor any commentary on Aristotle's logical treatment of them, it will be necessary for us to proceed in a somewhat different manner in the Thomistic section of our work. In keeping with the primarily metaphysical trend in St. Thomas' thought, which is particularly evident in his treatment of the categories, we propose to present in the last three chapters respectively the general character of his teaching on the categories and a consideration of the nature of substance and the nature of accidents." (pp. IX-X notes omitted)

  14. Sedley, David. 2002. "Aristotelian relativities." In Le style de la pensée. Recueil d'hommages à Jacques Brunschwig, edited by Canto-Sperber, Monique and Pellegrin, Pierre, 324-352. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

    Originally published in Italian as: "Relatività aristoteliche", Dianoia, 2, 1997 pp. 11-15 (first part) and 1998, 3, 11-23 (second part).

    "In chapter 7 of the Categories, devoted to the category of relativity (πρός τι), Aristotle starts with a definition of the relative (6a 36-b 8)" (p. 324)


    "At the end of the chapter (8a 13ff.) he raises a worry about whether this definition will allow some substances to be relative, namely those which are themselves the organic parts of larger substances. We must recall that in the Categories he has none of his later qualms about allowing some substances to be composed of substances (1). Hence his question: won't those substances which are parts of larger substances be relative, namely to the wholes of which they are parts? The worry is a proper one, because he has already spoken of the parts of substances as falling into both categories: in chapter 5, at 3a 29-32, they were substances, yet in chapter 7, at 6b 36-7 a 22, relatives include «wing», «head» and «rudder»." (p. 325)


    "Aristotle's point is metaphysical, not linguistic. It is important not to be misled into thinking that he is in any way appealing to what can and cannot be said in the Greek language. It is not even obvious that Greek usage would consider an expression like πρός τι χείρ unacceptable. His observation about primary and secondary substances is rather, I suppose, as follows. If a hand appears to be relative, namely to its owner, it is not in virtue being this particular hand that it is relative, but in virtue of being a hand- that is, not because of

    its individuality, the hallmark of a primary substance, but because of its species, the hallmark of a secondary substance." (pp. 325-326)


    "I hope that I have made a sufficient case, based on Aristotle's own text,. for attributing to him the distinction between what I have called soft and hard relativity. But now let me confess that my reading him this way was inspired by a much more lucid version of the same distinction, attributed by Simplicius to the Stoics. The report comes from his commentary on Aristotle's Categories (166.15-29) (22)" (p. 339)

    (22) SVF [Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta] II 403. The translation here is based on that at LS [A. A. Long, D. N. Sedley (eds.), A. A. Long, D. N. Sedley (eds.), The Hellenistic Philosophers, Cambridge University Press, 1987] 29B.

  15. Sharma, Ravi K. 1997. "A New Defense of Tropes? On Categories 3b10-18." Ancient Philosophy no. 17:309-315.

    "A long-standing debate among interpreters of the Categories concerns the nature of first-order accidents, the entities designated by expressions such as 'the particular white' (το τι. λευκόν). Some interpreters maintain that Aristotle takes them to be universals, entities that may be present in many substances; others, that Aristotle takes them to be tropes, each of which is peculiar to a single substance.(1)

    In a recent issue of this journal, Daniel T. Devereux offers a new defense of the tropes-reading, one that is not based, as most others have been, on Aristotle's cryptic remark concerning the present-in relation at 1a24-25.(2) If Devereux is right, the debate has now been settled in favor of tropes. In this note, I shall maintain that Devereux misreads the passage crucial to his argument and that the proper reading undermines his proposed defense." (p. 309)

    (1) 1 Throughout this discussion, I italicize 'present in' (ἐν) and 'said of (λέγεσται κατά) when those locutions are used technically, for relations between entities.

    (2) See Devereux 1992 ['Inherence and Primary Substance in Aristotle's Categories', Ancient Philosophy 12: 113-131]. The term 'trope' is my choice; Devereux expresses the same idea by speaking of tokens, or particular instances, of types.

  16. Shields, Christopher. 1999. Order in Multiplicity. Homonymy in the Philosophy of Aristotle. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    Contents: Abbreviations XIII; Introduction 1; Part I: Homonymy as Such. 1. The Varieties of Homonymy 9; 2. The Promises and Problems of Homonymy 43; 3. Homonymy and Signification 75; 4. Core-Dependent Homonymy 103; Part II: Homonymy at Work. 5. The Body 131; 6. Oneness, Sameness, and Referentia Opacity 155; 7. The Meaning of Life 176; 8. Goodness 194; 9. The Homonymy of Being 217; Afterword: Homonymy's Promise Reconsidered 268; Bibligraphy 271; Index of Passages Cited 281; General Index 287-290.

    "Aristotle's treatments of the homonymy of core philosophical concepts, including especially being and goodness, are sometimes highly abstract, and they must be understood as arising from the polemical contexts which motivate them.

    For these reasons, I consider these topics only after recounting Aristotle's general framework for introducing homonymy. Accordingly, I divide the study into two parts.

    In Part I, I consider homonymy as such, mainly by reflecting on the uncontroversial cases upon which Aristotle

    himself relies when trying to explicate and motivate homonymy. I begin, in Chapter 1, by recounting Aristotle's introduction of homonymy in the Categories, settling some exegetical difficulties concerning his general conception of its nature. "


    In Part II, I investigate homonymy at work. I do not move through Aristotle's appeals to homonymy seriatim. Rather, I consider a very few cases, selected for their importance, interest, and representative character. In two cases, I urge that some of Aristotle's critics have failed to appreciate the power of homonymy in meeting objections to substantive Aristotelian theories.


    Although I maintain that Aristotle cannot establish the homonymy of being, I do not infer that his commitment to homonymy as such is misguided. On the contrary, I maintain that outside this one application, Aristotle's commitment to homonymy is altogether well motivated; in particular, the method of definition it introduces is of genuine and lasting importance. At the very minimum, I argue,Aristotle is right to advocate homonymy as a form of constructive philosophical analysis. He has identified a framework which has too often been overlooked by those disenchanted with the prospects for genuine philosophical progress. Accordingly, I end Part II with a concluding afterword in which I appraise in a fully general way homonymy's enduring value." (pp. 3-5)

  17. Simons, Peter. 1988. "Aristotle's Concept of State of Affairs." In Antike Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, edited by Gigon, Olof and Fischer, Michael W., 97-112. Bern: Peter Lang.

    "The concept of state of affairs (Sachverhalt) is one which is of general interest in philosophy in connection with the theory of truth, but is also of special interest for legal philosophy.(1) Its heyday in philosophy was the late (2) nineteenth century and early twentieth century ; it is therefore tempting to regard the concept in its philosophical employment as a thoroughly modern invention. Nevertheless, a similar concept was known to medieval philosophy(3), and the medievals in question - as was usual then - referred back to the authority of Aristotle in support of their views. I claim that those medievals who ascribed something like a concept of state of affairs to Aristotle were right.(4) Discussing the identity of concepts, especially over a time-span of millennia, is fraught with difficulties, so I shall need first to establish what conditions a concept must satisfy to be a concept of state of affairs. This will occupy § 2. I shall then in § 3 endeavour to show that Aristotle’s works employ a concept closely answering these conditions." (p. 97)


    "The evidence from Aristotle

    The texts supporting my interpretation come mainly from the logical works ’’Categories” and ”De interpretatione”. In particular, I claim that the term pragma is used on several occasions with a meaning corresponding closely to that of "state of affairs” as specified above. First, some preliminary remarks on interpreting these texts.

    We must be clear from the start that in these works Aristotle's discussion is so compressed and so full of ambiguities that no interpretation can be uncontroversial. In discussing semantic matters, Aristotle uses no specially developed terminology, and he is also sparing in his use of examples. It is no accident that medieval commentators on these writings of Aristotle, which were for a long time the chief source of information on his work, diverged widely in their interpretations. Having now got used to making distinctions and employing more specific semantic concepts than Aristotle, it would be futile for us to expect to find, sitting in his work, a concept of state of affairs which unambiguously coincides with the one specified in the previous section. The best we can expect, even using plausible interpolations and taking interpretative risks, is an anticipatory approximation. But while Aristotle does not have a fully-fledged modern concept of state of affairs, it is surprising, in view of the subsequent history of semantics, how close he comes to one. (pp. 101-102)

  18. Stough, Charlotte L. 1972. "Language and Ontology in Aristotle's Categories." Journal of the History of Philosophy no. 10:261-272.

    "Yet there is an attendant danger in reading the Categories freely in the light of later works such as the Metaphysics. It is altogether too easy to find in that early text the more sophisticated ideas of a maturer period of Aristotle's philosophical development and hence unwittingly to incorporate into our procedure the assumption, dubious at best, that Aristotle's views remained virtually unchanged throughout his philosophical career. Thus there would seem to be prima facie reason for raising some questions of a rather special sort about the body of the Categories as such --- about what can be said of Aristotle's notion of categories of being without going beyond that work (or at least the Organon) for support.

    One question in particular deserves attention, because it strikes at the very center of the theory expounded in the Categories. Granted that Aristotle attached a privileged status to the category of substance -- a status importantly not enjoyed by the other nine categories -- we want to know what he conceived that special status to be. Our question concerns the relation between substance and the remaining categories. Aristotle had some important things to say on this subject in later works, (1) but how much of that was originally central to the theory of categories cannot be uncovered by his subsequent remarks. Very little can be said about the philosophical significance of the early doctrine of categories until we understand precisely how Aristotle ordered the category of substance in relation to the nine nonsubstantial forms of predication in the Categories itself. As might be expected, Aristotle offers no easy answer to this question, but his own words are suggestive in ways that are worth exploring and yet, at the same time, quite easily overlooked." (p. 261)

    (1) For example, Met., Zeta 1 (cf. Delta 11); Aristotle's doctrine of τα πρός έν λεγόμενα set forth in central sections of the Metaphysics may represent his most finished thoughts on this subject.

  19. Studtmann, Paul. 2003. "Aristotle's Category of Quality: A Regimented Interpretation." Apeiron no. 36:205-227.

    "In Chapter Eight of the Categories, Aristotle divides the genus, quality, into four species: (1) habits and dispositions; (2) natural capabilities and incapabilities; (3) affective qualities and affections; and (4) shape." (p. 205)


    "in this paper, I argue that there is an alternative interpretation to the canonical interpretation, what I will call the regimented interpretation, that can go some way toward removing the dissatisfaction that he and others have had with it. I do not think that such an interpretation can entirely remove all the difficulties with Aristotle's discussion — some peculiarities will remain. Nonetheless, as I hope to show, there is a way to regiment the category that makes it vastly more systematic, and as a result, far more philosophically interesting than the canonical interpretation suggests.

    My main argument for the regimented interpretation proceeds in two stages. First, I examine the details of Aristotle's discussion of the first three canonical species and conclude not only that they are subsumed under the single genus of dispositions but also that the genus of dispositions admits of a more or less systematic and symmetrical differentiation.

    As a result, the category of quality should be understood as being primarily divided into two species: shape and dispositions. And because the genus of dispositions is systematically differentiated and Aristotle does not differentiate shape at all, any arbitrariness in the category of quality must be located in the division of the genus, quality, into the two species, shapes and dispositions. In the second stage of the argument, I propose a hypothesis about the way Aristotle understands the nature of quality itself, a hypothesis that leads to a very plausible division of quality into shape and dispositions. Hence, the divisions in the category of quality can be understood as flowing systematically from the very nature of the genus being divided." (p. 207)

  20. ———. 2004. "Aristotle's Category of Quantity: A Unified Interpretation." Apeiron no. 37:69-91.

    "Aristotle provides two different treatments of the category of quantity: one in Categories V and one in Metaphysics V 7. Interestingly (and perhaps not surprisingly) the treatments differ in important respects. In the Categories, Aristotle provides two different differentiations of quantity.

    According to the first, quantity divides into continuous and discrete quantity; the former then divides into line, surface, body and time, and the latter into number and speech. According to the second, quantity divides into quantities whose parts have a relative position with respect to one another and quantities whose parts do not (Cat. 4b20-2). Although the differences between these two differentiations are interesting, for the purposes of this paper I shall focus on the first. For, in the first instance, the differentiations appear to be compatible; and second, by presenting the division into continuous and discrete quantities before the other division, Aristotle, it would seem, gives priority to the former. In this paper, therefore, not only will I assume that the two differentiations do not need philosophical correction to make them compatible but I will also follow Aristotle's lead and take the division into continuous and discrete quantities to be the more fundamental." (p. 69)

  21. ———. 2008. The Foundations of Aristotle's Categorial Scheme. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press.

    Contents: Chapter 1: Whence the Categories? 7; Chapter 2: The Body Problem in Aristotle 25; Chapter 3: Form 49; Chapter 4: Prime Matter 79; Chapter 5: Quality 101; Chapter 6: Quantity 125; Chapter 7: Substance 141; Index 173-175.

    "Aristotle’s categorial scheme had an unparalleled effect not only on his own philosophical system but also on the systems of many of the greatest philosophers in the western tradition.

    The set of doctrines in the Categories, what I will henceforth call categorialism, play, for instance, a central role in Aristotle’s discussion of change in the Physics, in the science of being qua being in the Metaphysics and in the rejection of Platonic ethics in the Nicomachean Ethics."


    "Despite its influence, however, categorialism raises two fundamental questions that to this day remain open. The first concerns Aristotle’s list of highest kinds." (p. 7)


    "Unlike the first question, the second concerns the way in which categorialism relates to doctrines Aristotle articulates in other works. The question arises as a result of a rather common story that is told about the categories and its apparent deep tensions with hylomorphism." (p. 9)


    "This book contains a series of interrelated chapters that collectively support an interpretation that provides answers to the two great questions concerning Aristotle’s categories. According to the interpretation, Aristotle’s categorial scheme is derivable from his hylomorphic

    ontology, which itself is derivable from very general theses about the nature of being." (p. 15)

  22. ———. 2012. "Aristotle's Categorial Scheme." In The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle, edited by Shields, Christopher, 63-80. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "In this chapter I shall discuss a tradition of interpretation that has for the most part been abandoned and shall do so by way of discussing two questions concerning Aristotle’s categorialism that are not often treated together. By pointing out just how controversial any approach to Aristotle’s Categories is bound to be, I hope to forestall any initial strong objections to the admittedly non-standard approach I shall take. And even if I fail to convince the reader of the cogency of the approach by the end of the chapter, I hope that the reader will have benefitted from seeing Aristotle’s categorial scheme treated from a heterodoxical perspective. For what it is worth, it is my contention that Aristotle’s categorial scheme, as is the case with many works in the history of philosophy, is best illuminated by opposing beams of interpretive light.

    The following discussion is framed by two questions concerning Aristotle’s categorialism: (1) How did Aristotle arrive at his list of categories? and (2) What is the connection between Aristotle’s categories and his hylomorphic ontology. These questions are not often treated together, which is not altogether surprising, since each question is extremely difficult to answer in its own right. Hence, treating them together piles difficulty upon difficulty. Moreover, owing to their difficulty scholars have given wildly different answers to each of the questions. So the amount of scholarly disagreement about the issues involved is rather daunting. Nonetheless there is an interpretively and philosophically interesting reason for discussing both questions in a single paper, namely the possibility of interestingly co-ordinated answers to the questions.The possibility stems from a tradition of interpretation that finds its origin in the Middle Ages. Because of its medieval origin, the interpretation is out of step with recent scholarly trends. Nonetheless, I hope at least to show the interest in the interpretation. Mygoial in this chapter is not to present anything like a definitive case for an interpretation of Aristotle's Categories but rather to discuss what I take to be a provocative and interesting interpretation that has the resources to provide systematic and co-ordinated answers to two very large questions concerning Aristotle's categorial scheme. In short, according to the interpretation, Aristotle’s list of highest kinds can be derived a priori from his hylomorphic ontology. To understand the import of such a claim, however, first requires a discussion of the two questions I have just mentioned." (pp. 64-65)

  23. Surdu, Alexandru. 2006. Aristotelian Theory of Prejudicative Forms. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

    Contents: Vorwort des Herausgebers IX; Foreword XI; List of Signs XV; Part I. Hermeneutic Investigations 1; 1. Interpretation of the First Two Chapters of Aristotle’s Categoriae 3; 2. Interpretation of the Third Chapter of Aristotle’s Categoriae 19; 3. Interpretation of the Fifth Chapter of Aristotle’s Categoriae 25; 4. The Problem of Prejudicative Relations in other Aristotelian Works 33; 5. 5. Commentaries and Interpretations 61; 6. Specificity of Prejudicative Relations 105; Part II. Logical Significance of Prejudicative Relations 125; 1. A Short Characterization 127; 2. Introducing the Symbolic Notation 129; 3. Classical-Traditional Analysis of Prejudicative Relations 133; 4. Logical-Mathematical Significance of Prejudicative Relations 167; Part III. General Philosophical Conclusions 209; 1. A Short Characterization 211; 2. Subsistence, Existence, and Being 213; 3. The Five Voices, Essence, and Quiddity 217; 4. The Problem of the Universal (General) 221; 5. Intellect, Reason, and Rational Intellect 223-228.

    "The starting point of the present paper was the symbolic interpretation - of a logical-mathematical type - of the first chapters of Aristotle’s work Categoriae - work which is usually not taken into account by the modems. Beginning with the first attempts I was surprised to notice that the mentioned texts are lending themselves -more than any other text - to a logical-mathematical formalisation, the difference being that they show, besides the currently interpretable forms, other ones that are not to be found either within symbolic logic, or within the classical-traditional one. We named them “prejudicative forms”, since they have a certain resemblance with the classical judgements, but precede them, without being judgements in their own right, that is affirmations or negations.

    The prejudicative forms represent an unstudied field, so far. Their affinity with symbolic forms grants them a prejudicative character and complete these last ones in many respects, which leads to the conclusion that, although the symbolic logic is the most recent logic, its field is anterior - from a logical point of view - to the classical field. And certainly Aristotle and some ancient commentators of the Organon had this intuition.

    By means of the entities they focus on, the prejudicative forms -the individual, the singular, the species, the genus and the supreme genus - contribute to the solving of some of the generally philosophical issues which are still debatable on, as the problem of universal, which also appeared in relation with Aristotle’s logic and was pointed out by Porpyhrius Malchus in his famous Isagoge.

    Coming back to Aristotle, one can indeed wonder whether it was possible for him to accomplish so many things in the field of logic and, moreover, to foresee - explicitly or not - problems which find a reasonable explanation just nowadays. One should not forget that subtle scholars preceded Aristotle, and that the problems of logic were so to say “floating” in the atmosphere of Greek philosophy. Moreover, once discovered, the field of logic could have been unrestrictedly covered, as these were no hindrances. Aristotle did cover it. Faced with a savage and hardly coverable field, he was often forced to clear it. Today, these soundings are astonishing, since the field is crossed by large railways and rapidly covered. Nevertheless, there are some moments when nobody can say “Dig here!”

    Aristotle did not finish, but he gave a lot of suggestions, and, if we do not think in a different way, but we think something else, his logic will still be a precious source of hints and information." (Foreword, pp. XII-XIII)

  24. Tarán, Leonardo. 1978. "Speusippus and Aristotle on Homonymy and Synonymy." Hermes.Zeitschrift für klassische Philologie no. 106:73-99.

    Reprinted in: Leonardo Tarán, Collected Papers 1962-1999, Leiden: Brill, 2001, pp. 421-454.

    "Modern scholarship since the middle of the last century has generally accepted it as an established fact that Speusippus made an exhaustive classification of words or names (ὀνόματά) in relation to the concepts they express and that he gave definitions of homonyma and synonyma only in reference to words and their meanings; that is to say that for him homonyma and synonyma are properties of linguistic terms and not of things, whereas for Aristotle, especially in the first chapter of the Categories, they are properties of things." (p. 421)


    "He [Jonathan Barnes, "Homonymy in Aristotle and Speusippus," Classical Quarterly, N.S. 21 (1971), pp. 65-80] contends, in the first place, that Speusippus's conception of homonyma and synonyma is essentially the same as that of Aristotle, the slight differences between their respective definitions of each being trivial, and, secondly, that even though in a few places Aristotle does use homonyma and synonyma as properties of linguistic terms, this is due to the fact that Aristotle's use of these words is not as rigid as the Categories would lead one to believe; he could not have been influenced by Speusippus because the latter conceived homonymy and synonymy as properties of things and, in any case, if influence of one on the other be assumed, it could as well have been Aristotle that influenced Speusippus.

    Though I believe that his two main contentions are mistaken, I am here mainly concerned with the first part of Barnes' thesis; for, if he were right in believing that for Speusippus homonyma and synonyma are properties of things and not of names or linguistic terms, then Hambruch's [*] notion that Speusippus did influence Aristotle when the latter uses synonymon as a property of names would be wrong, even though Barnes himself were mistaken in his analysis of the Aristotelian passages he reviews in the second part of his paper. Whereas, on the other hand, if Speusippus's classification is really of ὀνόματά, then, since Barnes himself admits that Aristotle does sometimes use homonyma and synonyma as properties of names, the influence of Speusippus on Aristotle is at least possible; and it becomes plausible and probable, regardless of the relative chronology of their respective works, when it is seen, as I shall try to show, that in some cases Aristotle is in fact acracking doctrines which presuppose a use of homonyma and synonyma such as can be ascribed to Speusippus or is using synonymon in the Speusippean sense, different from Aristotle's own notion of synonymous words." (pp. 422-423)


    "Our only source for Speusippus's classification of names is the three texts that Lang has assembled as frags. 32a, 32b, and 32c, (7) three passages from Simplicius's commentary on Aristotle's Categories."

    [*] E. Hambruch, Logische Regeln der platonischen Schule in der aristotelischen Topik (1904).


    Margherita Isnardi Parente, Speusippo: Frammenti; Edizione, traduzione e commento, Naples: Bibliopolis 1980 (Greek text and Italian translation; see Fragments 13, 14, 15).

    Paul Lang, De Speusippi academici scriptis accedunt fragmenta, Bonn 1911; reprint, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1965.

  25. Thorp, J.W. 1974. "Aristotle's Use of Categories. An Easing of the Oddness in "Metaphysica" Δ 7." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 19:238-256.

    "We are accustomed to think that when Aristotle introduces a list of categories into an argument he is effecting a division of the matter into ten separate kinds or predicates or senses. For example, at de anima 410 a 23 when he is wondering what sort of thing the soul is,

    he gives a list of the categories to show what sorts of things there are and goes on to ask of each sort whether the soul belongs to it.

    The list of categories divides up all that is into ten departments for easier handling. Again in the Categoriae he divides up predicates into ten sorts by a list of categories, and goes on in the rest of the book to give the peculiar logical and grammatical features of the sorts - although the treatment of the later sorts is not extant. Here the list of categories serves almost as a table of contents, dividing up the matter for piecemeal treatment. Let us call this use of a list of categories to divide the matter into ten departments "use (a)". No doubt this is the most prevalent use in Aristotle: a philosopher of analytic temperament like the Master is always dividing things up." (pp. 244-245)



    The orthodox view of the mesh of four uses with ten senses - that only per se being has ten senses - can now be revised. There are five uses of εἶναι, not four, and only the fifth, the existential use (not mentioned in A 7) is divided into ten senses according to the categories.

    Per se being is semantically unvarying. (p. 256)

  26. Ushida, Noriko. 2003. "Before the Topics?: Isaak Husik and Aristotle's Categories revisited." Ancient Philosophy no. 23:113-134.

    "I. Husik, in arguing for the authenticity of the Categories (in: Philosophical Review 13, 1904, pp. 514-528), substantially overstated the case for the similarity of that treatise to the Topics. The two works differ greatly in their treatment of the theory of substance (Cat. 5, 3 B 10-21; SE 22, 178 B 38ff.)."

  27. Verdenius, Willem Jacob. 1948. "Two Notes on the Categories of Aristotle " Mnemosyne no. 4:109-110.

    "Cat. 6 a, 19-22: Aristotle does not say: "A thing which is two cubits long does not possess its length to a higher degree than a thing of three cubits possesses its length of three cubits", but: "One thing cannot be two cubits long to a higher degree than another". That means: a thing of a certain length does not possess this length to a higher degree than things which are longer or shorter, for these things do not have this length at all. The same applies to numbers: "three is not three to a higher degree than five is three, nor is five five to a higher degree than three is five", i.e. a number does, or does not, possess a certain amount. This meaning is clearly expressed by the traditional text." (p. 109)


    "Cat. 8 a, 31-32: Aristotle wants to say that the use of a wide definition should not induce us to suppose that the possession of a relation makes a thing essentially relative in the sense that its existence can only be explained in terms of a relation to another thing."(p. 110)

  28. Ward, Julie K. 2007. Aristotle on Homonymy. Dialectic and Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Contents: Acknowledgments VII; Abbreviations IX; Introduction 1; 1. Aristotle's theory of homonymy in Categories 1 and its precursors 9; 2. Homonymy in the Topics 43; 3. Systematic homonymy 77; 4. The homonymy of Being 103; 5. Physis, Philia, and homonymy 137; 6. Homonymy and science 168; Afterword 201; Bibliography 207; Index of passages 215; General index 219-220.

    "The present book had its origin in many puzzles I encountered about pros hen predication." (p. VII)


    "This work examines homonymy, a topic that lies within Aristotle’s theories of language and predication. In Aristotle’s work, the idea of homonymy is paired with that of synonymy, and in fundamental ways, rests upon it. To English speakers,homonymy s known as a grammatical category referring to the case in which the same word has different meanings, and synonymy, the case in which different words have the same meaning. In contrast, Aristotle finds homonymy and synonymy to be concerned not merely with words, but

    also, and primarily, with things. As he explains in Cat. 1, synonymy refers to the situation in which two or more things have the same name, or term, and the same defining character (cf. Cat. 1a6–7)." (p. 1)


    "The present book on homonymy seeks to augment recent discussions, particularly aspects of Irwin’s and Shields’ work, by furthering the investigation in some areas and initiating study in others. In brief summary, the present chapters fall into three areas: (1) Aristotle’s account of homonymy in Cat. 1 and its possible precursors, (2) the utility of homonymy for refining premises in scientific arguments, and (3) the application of homonymy to specific concepts." (p. 3)

  29. Wardy, Robert. 2000. Aristotle in China. Language, Categories and Translation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Contents: Preface page IX; 1. The China syndrome: language, logical form, translation 1; 2. Aristotelian whispers 69; Epilogue 150; Glossary of technical terms 153; References 161; Index 166-170."

    "Aristotle in China is about the relation between language and thought. That is, of course, a topic of absurdly ambitious scope: it is only slightly less absurd to say that it concerns the particular question of the relation between language and philosophical thought, or even the relation between the Chinese language and Chinese logic. Perhaps readers will concede at the outset that my decision to explore these huge issues through reading Aristotle’s Categories in Chinese is mere wilful circuitousness, rather than outright absurdity; and I trust that, if they persevere, they will discover that indirection has its compensations.

    Chapter 1 introduces, defines and dissects varieties of linguistic relativism, with specific reference to the China question. Chapter 2 is entirely devoted to a reading of the (ming li t’an), ‘The Investigation of the Theory of Names’, a seventeenth century translation of Aristotle’s Categories into Chinese; indeed, one of my goals is to reanimate an ancient tradition, both Chinese and Western, by producing a sort of metacommentary.

    In principle, philosophers could read chapter 1 and dispense with chapter 2; and Sinologists could study chapter 2 and avoid philosophy: but of course my intention is to address philosophers, classicists, Sinologists, linguists, anthropologists and devotees of missionary studies throughout." (p. IX)

  30. Wedin, Michael. 1979. ""Said of" and "predicated of" in the Categories." Philosophical Research Archives no. 5:23-34.

    Abstract: "Anyone with more than casual interest in Aristotle's Categories knows the convention that "predicated of" ["κατηγορεἳται"] marks a general relation of predication while "said of" ["λέγεται"] is reserved for essential predication. By "convention" I simply mean to underscore that the view in question ranks as the conventional or received interpretation. Ackrill, for example, follows the received view in holding that only items within the same category (not arbitrarily, of course) can stand in the being-said-of relation and, thus, that only secondary substances can be said of primary substances. Despite its long received status the convention has never received a fully comprehensive examination and defense. In fact such an account is needed because, while enjoying considerable textual support, certain passages of the Categories appear to clash with the convention. My aim in this paper is, first, to develop and defend the standard interpretation, as I shall call it. Since the standard interpretation has lately been challenged in a closely argued article by Russell Dancy, my defense will proceed partly with an eye to his criticisms. Having met these, I go on to raise some difficulties with the rather unorthodox reading Dancy gives the Categories. The crucial point here turns out to be what Aristotle understands by a paronym."

  31. ———. 1993. "Non-Substantial Individuals." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 38:137-165.

    Abstract: "The rock bottom items of the Categories are individuals. Those neither present-in nor said-of a subject are unproblematic. They are primary substances such as Socrates and Secretariat. But the exact nature of those that are present-in but not said-of a subject is a matter of lively debate. Roughly, two schools of thought dominate discussion. For some, type-III individuals, as I call them, are nonrecurrent accident particulars; for others, they are fully determinate accident properties. I begin with Ackrill's version of nonrecurrence, the progenitor of the modern debate, and then turn to Owen's attack, which established what may be called the new orthodoxy. (1) After assaying Owen's arguments, I consider a kindred but improved version due to Frede. Finally, I argue for a revised version of the standard nonrecurrence view."

    (1) Owen, G. E. L. 1965. "Inherence." Phronesis 10, 97-105.

  32. ———. 1997. "The Strategy of Aristotle's Categories." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 79:1-26.

    "The Categories begins without fanfare. Missing is the promotional pitch customary in Aristotle's works, and even the obligatory announcement of subject matter is absent. Instead, we are given definitions of three technical notions: homonymy, synonymy, and paronymy. That is all the first chapter contains. In particular, there is no hint as to why Aristotle begins with these notions or how they fit into the Categories as a whole. In fact, by most accounts it is not clear that much would be lost were the first fifteen lines simply omitted. Indeed, chapter two's discussion of τα οντά or things that are is arguably a more natural starting place for what follows. For this reason, perhaps, most scholarship has focused on the three onymies themselves to the neglect of their wider role in the Categories. Some scholars would go so far as to maintain that the first four chapters are little more than a random assemblage of scraps. I shall argue, on the contrary, that the three onymies are part of a carefully drawn strategy that underwrites the unity of the first five chapters of the Categories. In particular, I propose that they are grouping principles, introduced to isolate the one relation that is able to provide the foundation for the system of categories, namely, synonymy." (p. 1, notes omitted)

  33. Wheeler, Mark Richard. 1999. "The Possibility of Recurrent Individuals in Aristotle’s Organon." Gregorianum no. 80:539-551.

    "In 1965, G.E.L. Owen's article "Inherence" sparked a contemporary debate concerning whether or not the nonsubstantial individuals posited by Aristotle in the Organon are universals.(1) Owen's antagonists claim that nonsubstantial individuals are nonrecurrent particulars. Owen's defenders claim that nonsubstantial individuals can recur and, hence, are universals.

    In this paper, I present an analysis of Owen's position in "Inherence", arguing that Owen commits Aristotle to the possibility of recurrent nonsubstantial individuals which are one in number. The implications of Owen's position for Aristotle's theory of primary substance in

    the Organon are considered. I demonstrate that the modal status of recurring individuals cannot be determined by Aristotle's explication of being present in a subject at 1a24 of the Categories. I then argue that, according to the sameness conditions laid down by Aristotle in the Topics, it is impossible for something which is one in number to recur and, hence, that it is impossible both for substantial individuals and for nonsubstantial individuals to be universals." (pp. 539-540, notes omitted)

    (1) See, for examples of the early debate in the journal literature, Ackrill [1963], Owen [1965], Matthews and Cohen [1968], Allen [1969]. See Frede [1978], Devereux [1992], and Wedin [1993] for examples of how the debate has developed since.


    Ackrill, J.L. (1963). Aristotle's Categories and De Interpretatione, translation and notes by Ackrill, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Allen, R.E. (1969). "Individual Properties in Aristotle's Categories," Phronesis, 14, pp. 31-39.

    Devereux, Daniel T. (1992). "Inherence and Primary Substance in Aristotle's Categories," Ancient Philosophy 12, pp. 113-131.

    Frede Michael. (1978). "lndividuen bei Aristoteles," in Antike und Abendland, Walter De Gruyter & Co. Translated as "Individuals in Aristotle" in Essays in Ancient Philosophy by Michael Frede (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987).

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

    Owen, G.E.L. (1965). "Inherence," Phronesis 10, pp. 97-105. Reprinted with original page numbers noted in Logic, Science, and Dialectic, ed. M. Nussbaum, Ithaca: Cornell University Press (1986), pp. 252-258.

    Wedin, Michael V. (1993). "Nonsubstantial Individuals," Phronesis 38, pp. 137-165.

  34. ———. 2001. "κατηγορία in the Topics and the Categories." Journal of Neoplatonic Studies no. 8:37-60.

    "The term kategoria in Aristotle's Topics and Categories denotes predicates. Hence the categories are best understood as classifying predicates and not predications. The equivocal use of the term in Top. 1, 9 is related to its use in signifying either linguistic or non-linguistic entities, and not because it can be used to mean predication."

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

Second part: D - H

Third part: I - O

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