Monday, April 6, 2009

The Categories

*clears throat*, "Harvey" (translator) here. Just thought I'd do a quick post on Aristotle's ten categories.

In the Categories (a section of his works on Logic - Aristotle is the father of Logic), Aristotle lays out ten categories (or predicaments) of being which are a metaphysical identity card of sorts of man. They are secondary attributes of the subject or first substance (eg Count Sneaky).

1) Second substance: the intelligibility or quiddity of Count Sneaky (man)
2) quality: Count Sneaky has visible qualities (brown hair, brown eyes) and invisible qualities (intelligence, artistic sense, virtues...)
3) quantity: Count sneaky is x feet tall
4) relation: CS is as tall or taller than "Harvey"
5) action: CS is reading
6) passion: CS is happy
7) time: any physical movement implies time and place
8) place: CS is in Twitterville (or somewhere else)
9) position: CS is sitting
10) state: CS is holding the phone

From another realistic thinker (GD): "the ten categories will always remain imo one of the signs of Aristotle's superior intelligence.

It is probable that this list proceeds from the sole and pure intuition of the Philospher, after having meditated on the being of things. It is the fruit of an absolute vision of intelligence, no doubt at the term of a long inductive observation of beings and things, where each time (10 times) a trigger mechanism was produced in his intuitive intelligence, distinct from and prior to reason. In this manner, it can be said the "Categories" are the doorway to reasoning."

The categories have a quiddity, ie their own "form" and intelligibility. They express the modalities of being but are relative to substance (what unites first substance - CS - and second subtance - man.)

My substance is my soul but substance is not soul, else all that would be would live. :-)

Dear readers, do not ponder over this too long and hard, else you will get a headache, but as we will be speaking of substance (the source of all determinations) and categories, I thought it useful to lay this out. ;-)


  1. The Count is extremely flattered to be equated with the first substance rather than the second substance (epistletoric expositories) or the third substance (erogenous expeditionaries) or, as we sometimes mistakenly refer to them, proctological postulates. This of course, begs the question, "What is the first substance and why doesn't it twitter?" The answer, I think, lies in the false assumption that Aristotle himself was in control of his presumptive publishers or, did his student Plato write his stuff for him before munching the hemlock or was it hemp? Irregardless, (Did you know there is no such word?)
    some of these categories are, categorically, not accurate. For instance the Count is not 10 feet tall. I assume you understand X means 10 in Roman numerals. Also, the Count is not all aTwitter and does communicate with twitterers or birds in general.The hair, what there is-is white, the eyes are a sparkling green...the invisible qualities are quite accurate though. The Count is probably not taller than Harvey,"The White Rabbit" although this must remain a tautologically imponderable. My modalities were recently checked by my urologist and everything seems to be copacetic down there. My metaphysical identity card seems to contain the proper quiddity plus all the stamps and seals necessary to get me from here to eternity. My best to Ari and the rest of the boys down at the Empirical Logic Bar. Count Sneaky

  2. hahaha Count! :) I think there is an argument to be made that contemporary intelligence is "né sous X" (ie parents unknwon). Paging mother and father of intelligence, paging... son/daughter needs your support to get off hands and knees before deploying wings and lifting full throttle off tarmac ... come, don't be shy, all will be forgiven! :)

    It is true that this substance business is confusing. Substance-principle is the Greek Ousia, it was lost in translation by the Latins. For some centuries, first substance has been equated to Ousia (substance-principle), which is rather toxic really.

    The boys at the Logic Bar have forgotten that Ari considered Logic to be but a tool. In fact, Being is "what falls first in intelligence", before Logic can say anything about it... Logic deals with universals (beings of reason), a synthesis of concrete realities, whereas Being is neither concrete not abstract.

    I'll stop here before short circuiting :)

  3. "Dear readers, do not ponder over this too long and hard, else you will get a headache"

    LOL...too late!!!

  4. Eva Marie,
    hehe :) Actually, you need to read the philosophical stuff (and think about it) a number of times before it starts sticking... that was the meaning of my comment. I'm often just content to listen to the neuron purr. :)

  5. Hola Shane! :) These categories or ways of being are just folds of intelligence. As further musings may contain the words substance, quality, quantity, relation, theses terms need to be at least vaguely familiar for the reader.

  6. It's good to see your voice BaQ. I hiss U2.

  7. Thank you 3L. It's good to come out of the woodwork ;)