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The Four-Category Ontology – A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Four-Category Ontology: A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science

E. J. Lowe


The four-category ontology is a metaphysical system recognizing two fundamental categorial distinctions — these being between the particular and the universal, and between the substantial and the non-substantial — which cut across each other to generate four fundamental ontological categories. The four categories thus generated are substantial particulars (‘objects’), non-substantial particulars (‘modes’), substantial universals (‘kinds’), and non-substantial universals (‘attributes’). This ontology has a lengthy pedigree, with many commentators attributing a version of it to Aristotle on the ... More

Keywords: categories, causation, dispositions, laws, metaphysics, necessity, ontology, realism, truth, universals

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780199254392
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006 DOI:10.1093/0199254397.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

E. J. Lowe, author
University of Durham
Author Webpage