The Plan of the Categories

Michael V. Wedin

in Aristotle's Theory of Substance

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780199253081
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598647 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies

The Plan of the Categories

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Wedin argues, against prevailing opinions, that Aristotle's account of homonymy, synonymy, and paronymy, with which the Categories begins, must be understood as an integral part of the treatise. The three ‘onymyies’, as Wedin calls them, are grouping principles, or one‐over‐many principles, that each collect a number of items under a single term. Wedin focuses on synonymy in particular, because it enables Aristotle to construct a theory of the fundamental kinds of things that are, and as such provides the basis for the system of the categories. For Wedin, the Categories is not just concerned with classification but also with ontology and semantics: it offers a theory about the underlying ontological implications of standard categorical statements, with the aim of determining what must exist, and in what relations these things must stand, in order for the statements to be true.

Keywords: categorical statements; Categories; classification; homonymy; one‐over‐many principles; ontology; paronymy; semantics; synonymy

Chapter.  13940 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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