Categories (or "Categoriae") is a text from Aristotle's Organon that enumerates all the possible kinds of thing which can be the subject or the predicate of a proposition.
The Categories places every object of human apprehension under one of ten categories (known to medieval writers as the praedicamenta). They are intended to enumerate everything which can be expressed without composition or structure, thus anything which can be either the subject or the predicate of a proposition.
The text begins with an explication of what is meant by "synonymous" or univocal words, what is meant by "homonymous", or equivocal words, and what is meant by "paronymous", or denominative words. What we say:
Is either simple, without composition or structure, such as "man", "horse", "fights", etc;
Has composition and structure, such as "a man fights", "the horse runs",
Next, we distinguish between a subject of predication, namely that of which anything is affirmed or denied, and a subject of inhesion. A thing is said to be inherent in a subject, when, though it is not a part of the subject, it cannot possibly exist without it, e.g., shape in a thing having a shape.
Of all the things that exist,
Then we come to the categories themselves, (1)-(4) above being called by the scholastics the antepraedicamenta. Note, however, that although Aristotle has apparently distinguished between being in a subject, and being predicated truly of a subject, in the Prior Analytics these are treated as synonymous. This has led some to suspect that Aristotle was not the author of the Categories.
The ten categories, or classes, are
The first six are given a detailed treatment in four chapters, the last four are passed over lightly, as being clear in themselves. Later texts by scholastic philosophers also reflect this disparity of treatment.
After discussing the categories, four ways are given in which things may be considered contrary to one another. Next, the work discusses five senses wherein a thing may be considered prior to another, followed by a short section on simultaneity. Six forms of movement are then defined: generation, destruction, increase, diminution, alteration, and change of place. The work ends with a brief consideration of the word 'have' and its usage.
Categories, translated by E. M. Edghill.
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