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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 18, 1993

Michael R. Baumer
Pages 341-449
DOI: 10.5840/jpr_1993_11

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.