Talk:Categories (Aristotle)

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Only a beginning[edit]

This article has been helpful in making the work clearer to me, but it seems only a beginning. I'm interested in this work, but I am no scholar of antiquities, and am unlikely to learn the Greek any time soon. I'll add a little at the end of the page about the section on contraries (since consideration of contraries/antonyms takes up a good deal of the work) and hope that someone more knowledgable may come along.-- 03:13, 24 November 2005 (UTC)#

I think this article helps clear up the meaning a little as well, but generally speaking to gain a better understanding of this book you just need to re-read the introduction several times. Is their a specific part you don't understand?--(ACooney 16:48, 23 July 2006 (UTC))

When was it written? There seems to be some basic information missing.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by David Poole (talkcontribs) 03:56, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia Entry, the Latin name of the Categories is 'Predicamenta', not 'Categoriae'. Was wondering if someone could clear this up? It would also be nice to know when the division into pre-predicamenta, predicamenta, and post-predicamenta occurred. I'm assuming around the time of Aquinas? vwoodstock (talk) 18:18, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

The Greek word "Categoria" means "assertion" or "that which can be positively stated, declared, or said about a thing." From this Greek word comes the English word "category." The Latin word "Praedicatus" means the exact same as the Greek word "Categoria." From this Latin word comes the English word "predicate." Over time, these English words have been polluted. "Category" now means "class." As for the word "predicate," in early school we were taught that it is a verb or verb phrase (this was back in the day when grammar was taught).Lestrade (talk) 23:11, 13 February 2011 (UTC)Lestrade
In the context of Aristotle's categories, the word used in Latin was praedicamenta, not praedicata. The Tetrast (talk) 00:30, 14 February 2011 (UTC).

"Praedicamenta" is a plural of the Late Latin "praedicāmentum." It means "those things that are asserted or declared about something." Like "predicate," it originally comes from the Latin "praedicāre": to assert. "Praedicamentum" means exactly the same as "predicate." Language is known to be susceptible to alteration, ambiguity, and degeneration. Some call it development, growth, and progress. Others call it decadence, decay, and deterioration.Lestrade (talk) 04:15, 14 February 2011 (UTC)Lestrade


I notice that there is a red link to Affection (philosophy) whereas there is also already a Affect (philosophy) article which doesn't refer to Aristotle. However it's relatively easy to find other author's who refer to Aristotle's idea of affect. e.g. affect. Would it be sensible to rename this paragraph? Given the exclusively emotional sense in which the word affection is used these days it would seem more helpful, but I'm no expert on Aristotle. However my dictionary says that affection derives from affectare to strive after whereas affect (n) comes from afficere to act upon. So affection may be an incorrect translation. Chris55 (talk) 15:44, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

The word "affect" when used as a noun in English is usually a technical-sounding term meaning emotion or mood, so it's no more useful than "affection" or "passion" in rendering Ancient Greek paschein and, to top it off, it's not a traditional translation of Aristotle's word for that category. One uses the words "affection" and "passion" because they are the traditional translations in philosophical discussion touching on Aristotle's categories, so at least one of them (and "affection" seems the more common translation) is the appropriate choice to lead off the paragraph, and one needs to know them if one is going to pursue the subject. The "Affect (philosophy)" wiki is not about the Aristotelian category so it would be the wrong link. It's probably best to leave the red link to "Affection (philosophy)" as an article that should get written. Anyway, the Affection paragraph does address the matter of the unusually broad meaning of "affection" as referring to Aristotle's category, so we're not in too bad shape.
On a sidenote, such pitfalls of meaning seem to me to have attended the terminology from the start. The Tetrast (talk) 17:02, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Normally in psychology the word affect doesn't refer directly to emotion but rather the "instinctual reaction to stimulation" (see Affect (psychology)). That is pretty close to the definition of affection: "The reception of change from some other object" in the article. So I think they're talking about the same thing, but it may well be that philosophers have not used the word when referring to Aristotle's categories. Whether Deleuze is talking about the same thing I don't know. His terminology is as opaque as much modern French philosophy. Chris55 (talk) 18:56, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Due to the fact that humans at the present time cannot understand the difference between the words "affect" and "effect," they have both been replaced in common parlance by the word "impact" which seems to be much easier for everyone to remember.Lestrade (talk) 00:39, 16 February 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

I'd forgotten about that link. I'll change it to point it to the Affect (psychology) page. If I've misunderstood Tetrast I apologize. Chris55 (talk) 20:00, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Terminology can be troublesome, so I inserted the actual text from Aristotle. I also placed the redlinked "Affection (philosophy)" again, because I agree with The Tetrast's comment. Hpvpp (talk) 01:20, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

What is a category?[edit]

A category (from the Greek) is the same as a predicate (from the Latin). It is a word that designates that which can be said about something. In other words, it is a word that designates what something is. Aristotle and Kant tried to list the words that could be said about any object (i. e., a general object). This is in contrast to the usual notion that a category is a class. Simple? Yes. But if I included it in the article. it would be quickly deleted. Yet, there are people who merely want to know what a category is, and this explanation would be correct for them.Lestrade (talk) 02:08, 13 February 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

People who wish merely to know what a category is would go to Category and from there they might go to Category of being which does discuss various conceptions of category. The Tetrast (talk) 02:55, 13 February 2011 (UTC).
I should add that many people would not immediately get the idea of a difference between a category (predicate) and a class. They would quickly get the difference between a category and a set or collection. In everyday English the word "class" does not evoke the idea of a collection of things with a property in common; instead the word "class" just seems like a more technical-sounding word for a kind (or category). This is reinforced in some technical uses, as in biology, where "class" does not mean a collection (such as a population), but instead means a certain taxon broader than a species. The Tetrast (talk) 03:03, 13 February 2011 (UTC).

At the beginning of the article, an Aristotelian category is said to be "all the possible kinds of things that can be the subject or the predicate of a proposition." This is incorrect. An Aristotelian category is a predicate [property, characteristic, quality] of anything that may be a subject, that is, a predicate of a subject in general.Lestrade (talk) 19:53, 22 July 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

Except the category of substance.—Machine Elf 1735 01:19, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Substance is a very peculiar category. It is strangely divided by Aristotle into primary and secondary substance. Primary substance is a category or predicate that is not a category or predicate. It is that about which a category or predicate cannot be said. For example the tautologous sentence “Socrates is Socrates.” A secondary substance is a category or predicate. It is that about which a category or predicate can be said. For example the word "man" in the sentence “Socrates is a man.” Both of these meanings of substance are contrary to the usual meaning which is "that which stands alone and is what has inherent predicates [categories, attributes, qualities, properties, characteristics]".Lestrade (talk) 17:47, 25 July 2012 (UTC)Lestrade
Not the "usual meaning" in an Aristotelian context... "this is Socrates" and "this man..." or "this ox..." in the primary and secondary sense :-) respectively.—Machine Elf 1735 03:17, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Correct. Aristotle's definition of substance was unusual. Usually substance in itself is the subject of a proposition, not an attribute [predicate or category]. Aristotle said that substance in itself is an attribute [predicate or category] in itself. This can be very confusing if not clearly explained. To complicate things, a proposition takes the form "substance is attribute" or the form "subject is predicate."Lestrade (talk) 14:36, 26 July 2012 (UTC)Lestrade