Dividing Being

Taneli Kukkonen

in Categories of Being

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199890576
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980031 | DOI:
Dividing Being

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This chapter surveys the reception of Aristotle's Categories in the late ancient and Arabic traditions. There is a puzzle when it comes to philosophical encyclopedias and compendia in the later Islamic tradition: Aristotle's categories gradually recede in importance before disappearing from sight altogether. This chapter shows that Avicenna initiates a move of the categories within the philosophical curriculum from logic to metaphysics, where he claims they rightfully belong. Avicenna nonetheless fails to follow through on his promise to carry out a full metaphysical investigation of the categories. This chapter shows that Avicenna is responding to certain problems regarding the Aristotelian categories which had their origins in late antiquity and the late ancient Platonists' appropriation of Aristotelian logic in their school teaching. While Avicenna managed to resolve many of these problems successfully, the categories ended up a casualty of this reordering of the way Aristotelian logic and ontology relate to one another.

Keywords: Aristotle; categories; Islamic tradition; Avicenna, Platonism

Chapter.  12581 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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