On Aristotle Categories 5-6 (Ancient Commentators on Aristotle)
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Chapters 5 and 6 of Aristotle's Categories describe his first two categories, Substance and Quantity. It is usually taken that Plotinus attacked Aristotle's Categories, but that Porphyry and Iamblichus restored it to the curriculum once and for all. Nonetheless, the introduction to this text stresses how much of the defence of Aristotle Porphyry was able to draw out of Plotinus' critical discussion. Simplicius' commentary is our most comprehensive account of the debate on the validity of Aristotle's Categories. One subject discussed by Simplicius in these chapters is where the differentia of a species (eg the rationality of humans) fits into the scheme of categories. Another is why Aristotle elevates the category of Quantity to second place, above the category of Quality. Further, de Haas shows how Simplicius distinguishes different kinds of universal order to solve some of the problems.
4a22-b19 Unless one objects by saying that statement and belief [are such
lead students of philosophy to knowledge of the intelligible truth (see esp. 12,16-13,11; 159,9-12). Simplicius is convinced that Aristotle’s Categories is perfectly capable of serving that goal. (b) Another recurrent theme is the order in which Aristotle listed the 8 Introduction categories. All agree that substance should be listed first (75,31-76,12), but Archytas put quality second after substance, instead of quantity (120,27122,30). Although Aristotle himself does not seem to have had a
“such-andsuch”.’18 On this point it is the duty of anyone who is intellectually 30 121,1 5 10 15 100 20 25 30 122,1 5 10 15 Translation curious to ask further what each of the two philosophers had in view when the one put Quality, the other Quantity, first
three ways and can by nature be measured, is a quantity; but in so far as it is a substrate, remains the same and one in number and is receptive of the contraries, in that respect it is a substance. Consequently the followers of Lucius53 are wrong to criticize Aristotle on the grounds that he transfers body, which belongs to substance, to quantity. It is worth noting how he says: ‘Further, in addition to these, time and place are quantities.’54 For neither time nor place are united to body, but
like kind – then we call it large in an unqualified sense. For it is said to be larger than the house by participating in size per se.188 But things that are compared with their like and which have great and small in terms of comparison are considered not in an unqualified sense but in terms of their relation Translation 125 to something. The same argument fits the case of many; for amount is one thing when considered per se, and another when considered in terms of a relationship to something