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I've been reading the entry of Aristotle in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

"[Aristotle] says: ‘By “present in a subject” I mean what is in something, not as a part, and cannot exist separately from what it is in’ "

The pronouns, put in bold by myself, are driving me mad. If I rewrote the sentence like the following, would I be right?

By 'x is present in a subject (=S)' I mean, x is in S, though x is not S's intrinsic part. Also, x cannot exist separately from S which is like the 'container of x'.

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    This refers to qualities, like redness of a red apple, it is not a part of the apple and can not exist separately from the apple it is in. – Conifold May 4 '18 at 4:00
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See Aristotle's *Categories.

Aristotle analyzes the basic relation of predication, expressed by the word "is" that was later expressed with the ontological dichotomy : substance-accident.

In modern terms, he is trying to disentangle the different uses of "is" : "to be equal to", "to belongs to", "to be part of".

He classifies four cases by means of two relations: to be in a subject and to be said of a subject, where subject is a substance (an individual).

We have [1a16-1a19] :

(a) "some are said of a subject but are not in any subject. For example, man is said of a subject, the individual man, but is not in any subject."

In this case an universal (man, humanity) is predicated of a substance : "Socrates is a man." But humanity is not "included" in the individual.

(b) "Some are in a subject but are not said of any subject. (By ‘in a subject’ I mean what is in something, not as a part, and cannot exist separately from what it is in.) For example, [...] the individual white is in a subject, the body (for all colour is in a body), but is not said of any subject."

In this case, an attribute is not predicate of a substance : "white is a color".

(c) "Some are both said of a subject and in a subject. For example, knowledge is in a subject, the soul, and is also said of a subject, knowledge-of-grammar."

Here "is" is used both to express the fact that an attribute belongs to a substance and that an universal is subsumed in a more general one : the universal knowledge is included into the more "restricted" uiversal knowledge-of-grammar.

(d) "Some are neither in a subject nor said of a subject, for example, the individual man or the individual horse - for nothing of this sort is either in a subject or said of a subject.

  • Hello Mauro, what does "included" means bellow (a)? Is it like the physical included? like inside a box? How is it that humanity is not included in the individual? How could it? Thanks – César D. Vázquez May 9 '18 at 14:26
  • @CésarD.Vázquez - moder set inclusion. In A's terminology, the relation species and genera. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA May 9 '18 at 14:31
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The background is Aristotle's distinction between predication and inherence.

The predication-inherence distinction may ... understood as Aristotle's first attempt to distinguish what is essential from what is incidental to the nature of an individual thing. What is predicated of a subject is essential to its being what it is and what is present in a subject is incidental to this. Aristotle does not exactly say that he is trying to distinguish what is essential from what is incidental to the nature of an individual thing, but his examples and statements strongly suggest that the attempt is being made. The difference between an affirmative statement of predication and an affirmative statement of inherence ... is basically that in the first a particular is mentioned and the nature or part of the nature of that particular is specified, while . In "Socrates is (a) man" the nature of Socrates is specified, but in "Socrates is white" the nature of a particular present in Socrates is specified, namely, what we call his whiteness. (James Duerlinger, 'Predication and Inherence in Aristotle's "Categories"', Phronesis, Vol. 15, No. 2 (1970), pp. 179-203 : 181.

Some of the language here is unhelpful : 'in the second a particular is mentioned and the nature or part of the nature of another particular which is present in it is specified'. But the basic picture is clear :

When 'is a man' is predicated of Socrates, his essential nature is specified; it is the essential, not incidental, to nature of Socrates that he is a man. In other words, Socrates would not be what he essentially is if he were not a man. In contrast when 'is white' is used to describe Socrates, whiteness is merely incidentally 'present in' Socrates. He could be pink or blue and still be Socrates.

To take up your comments : whiteness is 'present in' Socrates but not as an essential part of his nature - in this sense 'not as a part'. Man or manhood is predicated of Socrates but whiteness inheres in men and other things. Not in all men but only in some, incidentally including Socrates. Whiteness 'cannot exist separately from what it is in' : no men and other things, no whiteness.

REFERENCES

James Duerlinger, 'Predication and Inherence in Aristotle's "Categories"', Phronesis, Vol. 15, No. 2 (1970), pp. 179-203.

J. M. E. Moravcsik, 'Aristotle on Predication', The Philosophical Review, Vol. 76, No. 1 (Jan., 1967), pp. 80-96.

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