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Categories of BeingEssays on Metaphysics and Logic$
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Leila Haaparanta and Heikki Koskinen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199890576

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199890576.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

Dividing Being

Dividing Being

Before and After Avicenna

(p.36) 2 Dividing Being
Categories of Being

Taneli Kukkonen

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys the reception of Aristotle's Categories in the late ancient and Arabic traditions. There is a puzzle when it comes to philosophical encyclopedias and compendia in the later Islamic tradition: Aristotle's categories gradually recede in importance before disappearing from sight altogether. This chapter shows that Avicenna initiates a move of the categories within the philosophical curriculum from logic to metaphysics, where he claims they rightfully belong. Avicenna nonetheless fails to follow through on his promise to carry out a full metaphysical investigation of the categories. This chapter shows that Avicenna is responding to certain problems regarding the Aristotelian categories which had their origins in late antiquity and the late ancient Platonists' appropriation of Aristotelian logic in their school teaching. While Avicenna managed to resolve many of these problems successfully, the categories ended up a casualty of this reordering of the way Aristotelian logic and ontology relate to one another.

Keywords:   Aristotle, categories, Islamic tradition, Avicenna, Platonism

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