Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 21, 2021

Does Aristotle’s ‘Being Is Not a Genus’ Argument Entail Ontological Pluralism?

  • Maciej Czerkawski EMAIL logo

Abstract

This paper differentiates between two readings of Aristotle’s argument that unity and being are not “genē” (UBANG for short). On the first reading – proposed by commentators such as Ackrill, Shields, Loux, and McDaniel – UBANG entails the proposition that there are no features that characterise all beings insofar as they are, referred to by its contemporary proponents, including McDaniel, as ‘ontological pluralism’. On the second reading – proposed here – UBANG does not entail this proposition. The paper argues that only on the second reading does Aristotle’s argument secure its conclusion, that the second reading is, in fact, the correct reading of UBANG, and that anyone who thinks that UBANG succeeds and entails ontological pluralism probably equivocates between two different senses of ‘genos’.

Ackrill, J. L. (ed.) 2002. Aristotle’s Categories and De Interpretatione. OxfordSearch in Google Scholar

Anselm, Proslogium. 1903. Trans. by S. Norton Deane. Chicago, IL.Search in Google Scholar

Aristotle, Metaphysics. The following translations were used. For Book Alpha: W. D. Ross. 1984. The Collected Works of Aristotle. Revised Oxford Translations. Princeton. For Book Beta: Madigan, A. 1999. Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Book Beta and Book Kappa 1–2. Oxford. For Books Gamma and Epsilon: Kirwan, Ch. 1980. Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Books Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. Oxford.10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-metaphysics.1933Search in Google Scholar

–. Posterior Analytic. Translation used: Barnes, J. 1993. Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics. Oxford.10.1093/oseo/instance.00262308Search in Google Scholar

–. Topics. The following translations were used. For Book I: Smith, R. 2003. Aristotle’s Topics. Books I and VIII with excerpts from related texts. Oxford. For Book VI: A. W. Pickard-Cambridge. 1984. The Collected Works of Aristotle. Princeton. 1984.10.1093/oseo/instance.00258598Search in Google Scholar

Barnes, J. 21993. Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics. Oxford.Search in Google Scholar

Berti, E. 2002. “Being and Essence in Contemporary Interpretations of Aristotle”. In Bottani et al. 2002. London.10.1007/978-94-017-1866-0_3Search in Google Scholar

Bottani, A./Carrara, M./Giaretta, P. 2002. Individuals, Essence, and Identity: Themes of Analytic Metaphysics. London.10.1007/978-94-017-1866-0Search in Google Scholar

Charles, D. 2002. “Some Comments on Prof. Enrico Berti’s Paper ‘Being and Essence in Contemporary Interpretations of Aristotle’”. In Bottani et al. London, 109–126.Search in Google Scholar

Grice, P. 1988. “Aristotle on the Multiplicity of Being”. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 69, 175–200.10.1111/j.1468-0114.1988.tb00308.xSearch in Google Scholar

Heathwood, Chr. 2011. “The Relevance of Kant’s Objection to Anselm’s Ontological Argument”. Religious Studies 47, 345–57.10.1017/S0034412510000314Search in Google Scholar

Irwin, T. H. 1981. “Homonymy in Aristotle”. Review of Metaphysics 34, 523–44.Search in Google Scholar

Kant, I. 2007. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. by N. Kemp Smith. Basingstoke.10.1007/978-1-137-10016-0Search in Google Scholar

Loux, M. J. 1973. “Aristotle on the Transcendentals.” Phronesis 18, 225–39.10.1163/156852873X00168Search in Google Scholar

–. 2012. “Being, Categories and Universal Reference in Aristotle”. In Categories of Being: Essays on Metaphysics and Logic. Ed. by L. Haaparanta/H. J. Koskinen. Oxford.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199890576.003.0001Search in Google Scholar

Madigan, A. 1999. Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Book Beta and Book Kappa 1–2. Oxford.10.1093/oseo/instance.00264024Search in Google Scholar

Matthews, G. 1972. “Senses and Kinds.” The Journal of Philosophy 59, 149–157.10.2307/2025226Search in Google Scholar

McDaniel, K. 2009. “Ways of Being”. In Metametaphysics. Ed. by D. J. Chalmers/D. Manley/R. Wasserman. Oxford, 290–319.10.1093/oso/9780198719656.003.0002Search in Google Scholar

–. 2017. The Fragmentation of Being. Oxford.10.1093/oso/9780198719656.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Plantinga, A. 1966. “Kant’s Objection to the Ontological Argument”. The Journal of Philosophy 63, 537–46.10.2307/2024217Search in Google Scholar

Ross, W. D. 1924. Aristotle’s Metaphysics, vol. I. London.10.1093/oseo/instance.00263632Search in Google Scholar

Shields, C. 1999. Order in Multiplicity: Homonymy in the Philosophy of Aristotle. Oxford.10.1093/0199253072.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Turner, J. 2010. “Ontological Pluralism.” The Journal of Philosophy 107, 5–34.10.4324/9781315112596-14Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2021-08-21
Published in Print: 2022-12-31

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 24.2.2024 from https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/agph-2020-0062/html
Scroll to top button