Volume 18, 1993
Michael R. Baumer
Chasing Aristotle’s Categories Down the Tree of Grammar
This paper addresses the problem of the origin and principle of Aristotle’s distinctions among the categories. It explores the possibilities of reformulating and reviving the “grammatical” theory, generally ascribed first to Trendelenburg. The paper brings two new perspectives to the grammatical theory: that of Aristotle’s own theory of syntax and that of contemporary linguistic syntax and semantics. I put forth a provisional theory of Aristotle’s categories in which (1) I propose that the Categories sets forth a theory of lexical structure, with the ten categories emerging as lexical or semantic categories, and (2) I suggest conceptual links, both in Aristotle’s writings and in actuality, between these semantic categories and certain grammatical inflections.