Categories in Topics I. 9

Marko Malink
New York University
This paper offers a close reading of Aristotle’s account of categories in Topics I.9. It consists of four sections. The first argues that the categories introduced in Topics I.9 are different from those introduced in Categories 4. In particular, the first category of Topics I.9, the category of essence , is different from the firstcategory of Categories 4, the category of substance .The second section contains the main proposal of this paper: I shall argue that the category of essence is characterized by Aristotle as including all terms which are the subject of some essential predication, i.e., all terms which possess an essence. In Topics I.9, Aristotle accepts essential predications such as ‘whiteness is colour’ as well as ‘man is animal’. Thus, the category of essence includes non-substance terms such as ‘whiteness’ as well as substance terms such as ‘man’. The third section proposes a solution to a problem concerning the status of differentiae in the Topics. The problem ist hat, according to the Topics, differentiae are predicated in the essence but do not signify essence . The solution will be that differentiae function as the predicate of essential predications but do not belong to the category of essence.The fourth section investigates the nine non-essence categories of Topics I.9 . I shall argue that these include paronymic non-substance terms such as ‘white’ and ‘coloured’, whereas the corresponding nominal forms such as ‘whiteness’ and ‘colour’ belong to the category of essence
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