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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


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L ogic, metaphysics, philosophy of language [from Greek kategorein , to accuse] The basic and general concepts of thought, language, or reality. Aristotle and Kant provided the classical discussions of categories, although categories play different roles in their thought. Aristotle introduced the term in a logical-philosophical context, meaning “to assert something of something” or “to be predicated of something.” Thus, his notion of category is closely connected to the subject-predicate form. Categories are, in the first instance, kinds of predicates . In the Categories and the Topics 1.9, Aristotle introduced ten kinds of categories: substance, quantity, quality, relation, place, time, position, state, action, and affection. As kinds of predicate, they reveal different ways in which a subject can be. Because there is a corresponding kind of being for each category, each category can also be considered to be a kind of being. Some categories come from ordinary interrogatives (what, when, where, how); others are derived from grammatical structures (for instance, the active and the passive). Only in two places does Aristotle list all ten categories; in other places he gives a shorter list, often ended by “and so on.” Through his classification of categories, Aristotle explained many difficulties in the philosophy of Parmenides and Plato , and greatly influenced the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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