Predication And Ontology In Aristotle's Organon
McPartland, Keith E.
In the Categories, Aristotle recognizes two relations that an entity can bear to a subject: it can either inhere in or be said-of a subject. In this dissertation, I offer an interpretation of the natures of these relations and their relata. I also examine Aristotle's views about predication, the nature of truthmakers, and ontological priority. At Categories 1a24-25, Aristotle offers a definition of inherence which, on the most natural reading, holds that a nonsubstance can inhere in a substance only if it cannot exist without that substance. An entity that inheres in a particular substance must be a nonsubstantial particular which is numerically distinct from any entity that inheres in a distinct substance. This reading of 1a24-25, however, is inconsistent with the most natural reading of Aristotle's claim 2a34ff that the universal color must inhere in a particular body. To render Aristotle's claims consistent, we must reinterpret either 1a24-25 or 2a34ff. In chapters 2-6, I show that various attempts to reinterpret these passages are not successful. I argue that Aristotle's claims really are inconsistent. In chapters 7-10, I consider what might have led Aristotle to this inconsistency. I conclude that Aristotle's error results from a confusion about the nature of the said-of relation. In chapter 7, I argue that Aristotle regards the said-of relation as a whole-part relation holding between universals and particulars, but is confused about whether the said-of relation is purely extensional. In chapter 8, I argue that the same confusion infects some of Aristotle's views about kath' hauto and katholou predication in the De Interpretatione and Analytics. In chapter 9, I examine Aristotle's views about ontological priority relations between particulars and universals. I note that none of the types of priority defined in the Categories will secure Aristotle?s view that particulars are prior to universals. I reconstruct a view with the desired result from Aristotle's discussion of one thing's being a 'cause of being' for another. I conclude in chapter 10 that Aristotelian primary substances are prior to all other entities in that they alone are nonrelational entities.
dissertation or thesis