Friday, January 29, 2016

Categories/Metaphysics - Aristotle

If there are no objections, I'm going to combine these two works from Aristotle.  All of my standard objections to Aristotle apply here, maybe more than usual.  I felt that much of it went over my head.  Aristotle is probably best worked through with other people.

'Categories' is Aristotle's opening to the study of logic.  The basic theme is that things can be put into different categories and better understood that way.  Categories can have sub-categories, as in cats > tabbies > female tabbies.  He recognizes several various ways that things can be categorized:
Of things said without any combination, each signifies either substance or quantity or qualification or a relative or where or when or being-in-a-position or having or doing or being-affected. To give a rough idea, examples of substance are man, horse; of quantity: four-foot, five-foot; of qualification: white, grammatical; of a relative: double, half, larger; of where: in the Lyceum, in the market-place; of when: yesterday, last-year; of being-in-a-position: is-lying, is-sitting; of having: has-shoes-on, has-armour-on; of doing: cutting, burning; of being-affected: being-cut, being-burned.

 Got all that?  Good.  I'm sure that this is ground that needed to be broken at some point, but it is so well lived at this point, that it didn't feel like anything new was being added to my life.

'Metaphysics' is an effort to understand the 'substance' of things.  I must admit that I understood little of this.  I talked with my dad and he said that one of the obstacles might be in the translation from ancient Greek to English.  Things like 'form' and 'substance' are virtually synonyms in English but they may have meant very different things back then.
This could be.  And it could also be that my mind has very little attention for discussions of 'the whichness of what'.  It's easier for me to work with problems of ethics and the like.  Your mileage may vary, but I found the Aristotle this month to be quite a struggle for very little reward.

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