Neoplatonic Word Classes that Designate Aristotle’s Categories

  • Maria Chriti Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Keywords: Aristotle, Porphyry, Grammatical categories, Parts of speech, Word classes


The subject of this paper is the way that Neoplatonic commentators
on Aristotle treat the word classes that designate the philosopher’s categories. In
the Categories Aristotle provides us with the first “model” of a conceptual classification.
These classes are designated by specific linguistic utterances, the possible
categorization of which has been puzzling thinkers and scholars ever since
antiquity: why did the philosopher choose these specific terms for his categories?
Neoplatonic philosophers who comment on the first logical treatise believe
that only certain linguistic utterances can render Aristotle’s ten classes and their
approach emerges from: i) the treatment of the Categories’ purpose, as related
to the subject matter of On Interpretation; ii) their discussion of the ‘parts of
expression’ (lexis) in connection with the grammatical ‘parts of speech’ (logos).