Aristotle on Nonsubstantial Individuals

Ancient Philosophy 29 (2):289-310 (2009)

Authors
Phil Corkum
University of Alberta
Abstract
As a first stab, call a property recurrent if it can be possessed by more than one object, and nonrecurrent if it can be possessed by at most one object. The question whether Aristotle holds that there are nonrecurrent properties has spawned a lively and ongoing debate among commentators over the last forty-five years. One source of textual evidence in the Categories, drawn on in this debate, is Aristotle’s claim that certain properties are inseparable from what they are in. Here the point of contention is whether this commits Aristotle to holding that these properties are inseparable from individuals, since it is commonly held that a property is nonrecurrent, if it is inseparable from an individual. I argue that this evidence is neutral on the question whether there are nonrecurrent properties in Aristotle. One of my aims here is to disentangle the question of recurrence from local issues of individuality and universality in the Categories. But another aim is to turn from the textual considerations, which have dominated the debate, to broader methodological considerations. It is a shared assumption among all those who look to textual evidence from the Categories, so to decide whether Aristotle believes there are nonrecurrent properties, that in this work Aristotle is engaged in a project where the question of recurrence is relevant. I argue that Aristotle’s concerns in the Categories are disjoint from the question of recurrence, and so this shared assumption is false
Keywords Ancient Philosophy  Classical Studies  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0740-2007
DOI 10.5840/ancientphil200929227
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Aristotle on Predication.Phil Corkum - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):793-813.
This.Phil Corkum - 2019 - Ancient Philosophy Today 1 (1):38-63.

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