By Christos Evangeliou
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Additional resources for Aristotle's Categories and Porphyry
The hypothesis that Por phyry followed this tradition in giving his answers to the above questions can be supported on the following grounds. Simplicius answered in great detail all six questions and, in a reference to Porphyry's lost Commentary, he stated: 3 This attitude of the ancient commentators towards the Categones contrasts with the tendency of many modern scholars who seem to confine the importance of Aristotle's logic to the theory of syllogism and, therefore, tend to neglect the categorial doctrine which does not admit syllogistic treatment.
Homonymy The stipulative definition of όμώνυμα with which the treatise on the categories opens reads as follows in Greek: "Όμώνυμα λέγεται ών δνομα 13 As Porphyry put it (p. ,, 14 This argument is obviously tenuous. It is better to follow SAC, p. 38, 11-18, which asserts that the cases (c) and (d) belong to the field of Rhetoric rather than to Philosophy proper. 15 The point is that sharing in the same name is a necessary but not sufficient condition for two things to be called homonymous. For they may very well be synonymous if, upon investigation, it is found that the same definition is applicable to both of them, that is, that they belong to the same genus categorially.
The exegetical problems related to the Categories were crystallized in an established tradition which had to be followed by any serious com mentator. In all probability Porphyry followed the tradition in giving his answers to the six questions in his systematic commentary. However, in his extant commentary Porphyry selects of the six traditional questions only the two which relate to the title and the purpose of the treatise. As I tried to show, the way in which these two questions are answered by a com mentator is indicative of the interpretation of the categorial doctrine which he had adopted.
Aristotle's Categories and Porphyry by Christos Evangeliou
Categories: Logic Language