This book investigates philosophical and formal approaches to predication. The topics discussed include Aristotelian predication, a conceptualist approach to predication, possible formalizations of the notion, Fregean predicates and concepts, and Meinongian predication. The contributions discuss the approaches proposed by Aristotle and Frege, as well as the division of classes into a hierarchy of orders. They reanalyze the traditional notions, and offer new insights into predication theory. This book contributes to contemporary debates on predication and predicates in the philosophy of language.
Aristotle on Predication (António Pedro Mesquita)
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António Pedro Mesquita
University of Lisbon
Aristotle on Predication1
Abstract: Predication is a complex entity in Aristotelian thought. The aim of the present essay is to account for this complexity, making explicit the diverse forms it assumes. To this end, we turn to a crucial chapter of the Posterior Analytics (I 22), where, in the most complete and developed manner within the corpus, Aristotle proceeds to systematize this topic. From the analysis, it will become apparent that predication can assume, generically, five forms: 1) the predication of essence (τὸ αὐτῷ εἶναι κατηγορεῖσθαι), that is of the genus and the specific difference; 2) essential predication (τό ἐν τῷ τί ἐστι κατηγορεῖσθαι), that is either of the genus or of the differences (or their genera); 3) the predication of accidents per se and 4) simple accidents (ὡς συμβεβηκότα κατηγορεῖσθαι); 5) accidental predication (κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς κατηγορεῖσθαι). However, only types 2–4 are forms of strict predication (ἁπλῶς). In effect, the “predication” of essence is not a genuine predication, but a formula for identity, constituting, technically, the statement of the essence of the subject (or its definition). On the other hand, accidental “predication” can only be conceived of as such equivocally, since it results from a linguistic accident through which the ontological subject of the attribution suffers a displacement to the syntactic position of the predicate, which is not, by nature, its own. In neither case does the attribution bring about any legitimate predication. The study concludes with a discussion of Aristotle’s thesis according to which no substance can be...
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