Categories in Aristotelian Logic

Categories in Aristotelian Logic

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

A word will not be used correctly unless it is associated with the reality that is meant to be expressed; Aristotle, who argues that if a word is used to mean more than one thing in an ambiguous or ambiguous manner, its various meanings should be carefully distinguished from each other, Aristotle divides his work called Categories into discussion of various ideas about what it means to exist, and in this context, the famous reveals the doctrine of categories.

In fact, according to many Plato and Aristotelian commentators, the distinction between autonomous and relative existence of the Academy is at the basis of the category doctrine. Accordingly, Aristotle, who passed from a metaphysical teaching to a description of individual objects, limits what is autonomous or self-existent with the thing itself and its essential properties, while expressing what is relatively existing or dependent on something else with the accidental properties that can be attributed to that thing. .

According to Aristotle, existence is primarily a substance, that is, being the basis of various qualities or predicates. (i) substance (e.g. man), which needs nothing else to exist, to maintain its existence, is the first and fundamental category. Aristotle, who takes substance as a basis for later determinations, defines it metaphysically as the bearer of properties and logically as the subject to which predicates can be attributed.

There are nine other categories apart from the substance as something that is permanent with its essence, and they are understood as total accidents. These are the basic building blocks that enable us to grasp all the properties of things in change and formation, and they can only exist depending on the substance. Aristotle lists the remaining nine categories in his concept of substance-accident as follows: (ii) Quantity expressing the unity and succession of beings (for example, two elbows long); (iii) a substance or quality describing how a thing is (eg, white); (iv) the relation revealing the state of being dependent on other things (for example, couple); (v) “where?” place or place (for example, in High School) as the category that answers the question; (vi) “when?” time (for example, “yesterday”) as the category that answers the question; (vii) state in the sense that something itself or certain parts of it are aligned and in harmony with certain parts of the space in which it is located (for example, “sitting”); (viii) possession as a certain relation of one thing to another (for example, “in shoes”); (ix) activity as incidental to the influencer (for example, “cutting”) when something acting affects something else; (x) passivity, which expresses the state of the subject (e.g., “cutting”).

The first and basic category is substance for Aristotle, who uses the two basic criteria, particular-universal and substance-accidental opposition, respectively, in the classification of categories. Especially from the logical point of view, “being” means to him to be something that can be talked about and fully defined. In Aristotle, for whom “being” means to be something that can be talked about and be the subject of predicates, it means that what really exists is not universals as in Plato, but individuals, beings with a certain nature that we show as “that”. Substance is the subject to which the remaining nine categories as total accidents, namely, categories such as quantity, quality, relation, place, basic quality or predicates can be attributed. Accordingly, to exist in it is to be a certain kind of substance.

In particular, from a logical point of view based on the categories of being, substance is reduced to the individual, individual being in Aristotle. In other words, what really exists in him is primary substance as individual being. It, that is, primary substance, is that which cannot be attributed to a subject, cannot be affirmed about a subject, but to which everything else is attributed, about which everything else is affirmed. On the other hand, what is ascribed to a subject is the species or genus to which it is a member: For example, in the proposition “Ahmet is human”, Ahmet must be a first-order substance as what really exists, whereas the human species of which Ahmet is a member must be a secondary substance. They derive their being from first-order substance. On the other hand, what is present in a subject are its qualities; For example, whiteness or courage are qualities that are present in Ahmet.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook