Aristotle's Categorial Scheme

Paul Studtmann

in The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195187489
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Aristotle's Categorial Scheme

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  • Classical Philosophy
  • Metaphysics



Aristotle's categorial scheme had an unparalleled effect not only on his own philosophical system, but also on the systems of many of the greatest philosophers in the Western tradition. The set of doctrines in the Categories, known as categorialism, play, for instance, a central role in Aristotle's discussion of change in the Physics, in the science of being qua being in the Metaphysics, and in the rejection of Platonic ethics in the Nicomachean Ethics. Plainly, the enterprise of categorialism inaugurated by Aristotle runs deep in the philosophical psyche. Even so, despite its wide-reaching influence—and, indeed owing to that influence—any attempt to describe categorialism faces a significant difficulty: experts disagree on many of its most important and fundamental aspects. This article argues that Aristotle's categorial scheme, as is the case with many works in the history of philosophy, is best illuminated by opposing beams of interpretive light. It examines how Aristotle arrived at his list of categories and considers the connection between Aristotle's categories and his hylomorphism.

Keywords: Aristotle; categorial scheme; categorialism; philosophy; categories; hylomorphism; Physics; science; ethics

Article.  8409 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Classical Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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