Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


In adopting his own position, Brentano shows his sympathy for the ontological vigor of the third thesis, although he appears to not share it entirely and he links it with many elements from the second. He claims that the categories are: (1) actual concepts, ὄντα καθ᾽αυτω εξω τες διανοιας, (2) analogous meanings of being according to the analogy of proportionality and according to the analogy with respect to the same ends, (3) universal concepts as top kinds of being, different among themselves for their different relationships with substance and for the different ways in which they predicate about it.

As for their classification, as has been mentioned, Brentano feels it is possible to determine the criterion strictly, give it a "deductive proof" according to a division of being. This is the crucial point and at the same time the most original note of the Brentanian interpretation of Aristotle's doctrine of the categories, in which the stress on the analogical unity of the being and the attempt of a systematic deduction of the categories go hand in hand.

Brentano attributes to Aristotle himself both the strong interpretation of the analogy and the classification of the categories by division starting from the common concept of being, although he admits that Aristotle never mentions them. However, according to Brentano, Aristotle himself is likely to have carried out the systematic deduction he postulates for two reasons: first of all, because it is unthinkable that he has settled for a πίστις δια της ἐπαγωγῆς, having the possibility of a πίστις δια συλλογισμου; secondly, because the expression αι διαιρεθείσαι κατηγορίαι, repeated several times (An. Pr. I, 37; Top. IV, 1; De An. I, 1, 401a 24; 5, 410a 14), makes one think of an act of division, and, more precisely, in that of the διαίρεσις τοῦ ὄντος from where the categories would result.

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