The Aristotelian Categories

Classical Quarterly 19 (02):75-84 (1925)
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The precise position to be assigned to the Categories in the Aristotelian system has always been somewhat of a puzzle. On the one hand, they seem to be worked into the warp of its texture, as in the classification of change, and Aristotle can argue from the premiss that they constitute an exhaustive division of the kinds of Being . On the other hand, both in the completed scheme of his logic and in his constructive metaphysic they retire into the background, giving place to other notions, such as causation, change, actuality and potentiality. Investigation has, moreover, been hampered, especially in Germany, by attempts to correlate them with the Kantian Categories, with which they have obvious points of contact. But Kant's formal a priori concepts by which the mind makes for itself a world, to use Mr. Bosanquet's phrase, imply an attitude to knowledge and reality so utterly opposed to the Aristotelian that the comparison has tended to confusion rather than elucidation. Scholars now realize better that the Aristotelian Categories can only be understood in connexion with the problems of Aristotle's own age



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