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Classical Reasoning I, Lesson 01. Porphyry, Chapter 1

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In this lesson, we begin the study of the Introduction of Porphyry (234-305 AD).  This ancient work was composed to provide an introduction to the study of Aristotle’s Categories and, therefore, we will study it carefully before getting started with the Organon.  In this opening chapter, Porphyry identifies five terms that we must carefully define before studying Aristotle.


Porphyry (234-305)

Since it is necessary, both to the doctrine of the Categories of Aristotle, and to the formation of definitions, and in short, to those things which pertain to division and demonstration, to know what Genus and Difference, Species, Peculiarity, and Accident are; and since also the theory of these is useful, in a summary way, I will briefly endeavour to discuss for you, in the form, as it were, of an Introduction, what has been delivered on this subject by the ancients, abstaining from more profound investigations, but appropriately directing my attention to such as are more simple.

My meaning is, that I shall omit to speak about genera and species, whether they have a subsistence in the nature of things or have an existence alone in the mere conceptions of the soul; and if they have a subsistence in the nature of things whether they are bodies or incorporeal, and whether they are separate from sensibles, or in sensibles, and about these have their subsistence. For a discussion of this kind is most profound, and requires another, and a greater investigation. In what manner, however, the ancients, and especially the Peripatetics discussed these, and the other proposed objects of enquiry, in a more logical manner, I will now endeavour to show you.


Classical Reasoning I, Lesson 01 Exam