Workshop in Ancient Philosophy (Thursday - Week 5, HT23)

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy

In the Categories, Aristotle lays the foundation for his ontology. He distinguishes between two important relations. On the one hand, some entities are said of other entities; that is to say, some entities bear to other entities the relation of being said of. On the other hand, some entities are in other entities; that is to say, they bear to other entities the relation of being in.  These two relations have been discussed at length by ancient and modern commentators. But the conceptual apparatus used by Aristotle to describe the relation of being in deserves to be further explored. He is adamant that the relation of being in does not imply the relation of being a part. Thus, the concept of part shows up early on in the treatise and is mentioned in the description of one the two basic relations. The purpose of this study is to investigate the roles that the concepts of part and whole play in the analysis of various categories. My investigation will raise a series of important questions: In the Categories and in other early logical works, what is a part of a substance? How can Aristotle explain the claim that the parts of substances are substances? What is a part of a quantity? Is there any difference between the parts of substances and those of quantities? Does an entity’s persistence depend on its parts? I shall analyse passages of chapters 5 and 6 of the Categories with the aim of answering these questions.

If you would like to go out to dinner with the speaker after the talk, then please contact the chair of the meeting before Tuesday. The meals of the chair and the speaker are covered by the faculty; others attend at their own expense.

Chair: Paolo Fait

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy Convenors: Ursula Coope, Simon Shogry and Alexander Bown