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The 'Analogia Entis' according to Franz Brentano

A Speculative-GrammaticalAnalysis of Aristotle's "Metaphysics' E n z o Melandri

Die Kategorieneintheilung des Aristoteles hat in einer The first of these two considerations was the
wunderbaren Weise dem Wechsel tier Zeiten getrotzt. -- discovery of non-Euclidean geometries, or rather the
Brentano proved possibility to give them a coherent physico-
mathematical interpretation. This is a well-know fact
and we need not linger upon it. But it is worth making a
1. In the modern age the problem of individuation was point which is important for our argument. The spatio-
solved through a physicalistic reference. Usually the temporal indexing, once non-Euclidean geometries are
solution was presupposed implicitly, but Kant made the admitted, is no longer sufficient to ensure individuation,
attending reduction explicit. Space and time, as forms of unless we specify the kind of geometry that is in
intuition, are sufficient to provide every existing thing question, that is, the sign and degree of curvature of the
with a unique indexing (x~, x2, x3, x4 ---- t). Thus space space being considered. And notice that the whole
and time are not c a t e g o r i e s any more, but indexical question is independent of relativity theory, since it
p a r a m e t e r s which are part of the cognitive apparatus. originated before it and therefore can be understood in
Going back to the origins of this turning point in the its absence. Gauss was already aware of it.
history of thought, we see that the postulate of the The second consideration, less well-known in epis-
impenetrability of bodies was connected with the temology, goes back to Lotze and to his researches in
extensional individuation of physical reality: in the res the physiology of spatial perception. 2 Lotze was able to
e x t e n s a every space-time point must be outside every prove for the first time that the space perceived, that is,
other. Every existing thing, if it is to be individuated, spatial consciousness, is not based on some preexisting
must obey such a postulate. This has the advantage of form of intuition, but is itself the contingent result of an
reducing the metaphysical problem of the i n d i v i d u a t i o n operation of logical reorganization of local sensations.
of a being to the easier problem of the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n So there is no innate form of spatial intuition. For if
of a body through mathematico-physical coordinates. there were one, it would be universal and necessary,
Obviously, the reduction is not automatic: there must be whereas from a genetic point of view topical sensations,
a Copernican revolution in the viewpoint. But this though localized, do not predetermine any unique and
metaphysical shift is not part of science, it remains logically cogent result. Which naturally does not exclude
insensible and subterranean: it is enough to say that the that at some level of development of a spatial con-
tree of knowledge has its roots deep into the earth. sciousness there might be a convergence on Euclidean
If two different bodies could coexist within the same geometry, say through a process of equifinality. But this
space-time point, clearly the spatio-temporal indexing would be a fact to be explained, not an a priori binding
would not be sufficient for individuation. At the time of condition. Therefore proceeding from the bottom up we
classical physics, from Descartes at least until Laplace, get to the same result: the psychic space is as pluralistic,
one could not predict that such a condition might not in principle, as the geometric-axiomatic one. Not less
hold a priori, that is in a necessary and universal way. important will be the researches on time, on the
But for more than a century now two theoretical temporal flux, and on duration conducted by the
considerations, marginal at first, have gradually become experimental psychologists of the turn of the century,
so crucial as to shake our confidence in the constituting among whom are important Meinong and the Graz
presuppositions of this m a t h e s & u n i v e r s a l i s : a clear sign school.
that a 'deus deceptor, valde callidus sive malignus' may Even without recurring to later theories, like special
induce us in error even when the evidence is most and general relativity, or to indeterminacy in micro-
reliable. physics, we have enough justification here to talk about

Topoi 6 (1987), 51--58.

9 1987 by D. Reidel Publishing Company.

a crisis of the foundations of contemporary knowledge 2. For Aristotle space and time are categories, not
(not only of physics), which reopens in a completely parameters. This means that their combination does not
general way (and not only within metaphysics) that support a principle of individuation, because they lack
problem of individuation that had previously been inherence in a substance. It would be like saying that
forgotten because it was considered solved. This is there is a coincidence of 'musical' and 'white' without
borne out by the research themes of the turn of the mentioning 'who or what' is musical and white. The
century: the theory of judgment, the thesis of the problem of individuation is solved by saying what/s that
primacy of the proposition on the terms, the psychology we talk about, and this is an ontological problem. The
of acts, the independence of objectivity from existence question of ontology cannot be solved by a "science of
and in general the reappearance of an ontological being", 6wo-2oTia in general, as is the case for those
formulation of cognitive problems, not to mention the particular sciences which deal with a special ontic
great development of logic. determination, such as psychology, physiology, cos-
So when looking back more than a century later we mology, and so on: Aristotle says that 'being is not a
see the emergence, under various titles and beginning genus', that is, it is not a particular object, which can
from different disciplines, of an area of related inter- be circumscribed categorially. Thus the problem of
ests within which in my opinion must be located the ontology becomes the converse problem, that is, that of
"Aristoteles-renaissance", too. The development of establishing what it means to be in discourse.
these studies (it will be enough to refer here to Zeller, The question can be reformulated as follows: can
Prantl, and Trendelenburg) takes off from an interest language understood as 26yoq d~o~avroc6q answer by
in the history of ideas, to be reconstructed with a its means the question rt" gar,? -- concerning the quid,
philologico-critical method, but issues, especially with the "what" we talk about? And this not only in the sense
Brentano, in theoretical results which without repre- of the category, of the predication which answers the
senting novelties still constitute at the time very question by making being fall within an ontic genus, but
important suggestions for a critical reflection. On the also and especially in the stronger, ontological, sense,
other hand, in all the "renaissances", which Toynbee which expresses the modality of its relation with the "ens
interprets as contacts of a civilization with itself at per se", ~v raOdvrr, and determines its individuation
different times, the rediscovery of the ancient on the as well as its identification?
part of the new becomes frequently the reason of It is to Brentano's credit that he, developing a
unpredictable developments. well-known thesis of Trendelenburg, radicalized the
Let us summarize. For Aristotle a principle of indirect way in which Aristotle addresses the onto-
individuation based only on the identification of a logical problem, to repropose it in terms which it is
space-time point would not have been sufficient. For not abusive to define of speculative grammar. Trendel-
such a coincidence could have occurred through the enburg 4 would have been the first one to notice, among
combination of two categories, space and time, in a the moderns, that in Aristotle
purely accidental manner, without any implication of
inherence in a substance. To such a space-time point if one thing is essentiallypredicated of another so that name and
could belong many other categories, whereas the concept of the predicate applies to it, then this occurs in a
essential implication of substance excludes such dis- grammatically different form than if the predicate merely gives its
name to the subject without being of the essence of the subject.5
tributivity. Aristotle's problem, from a metaphysical
point of view, was that of seeing whether with the
means of declarative discourse it was possible to And it is Brentano himself who speaks of Trendelen-
identify what the discourse itself talks about. The burg's peculiar ability to exploit the "speculative
solution of this problem is the theory of substance. But content" of the ancient thinkers by starting with the
the identification of a space-time point does not support affinity that such content often has with the grammatical
such a construction, and does not exhaust referentiality peculiarities of "linguistic forms". 6
in the Aristotelian sense. The problem is not one of Let us proceed carefully. What are categories in the
"recovering" substance, but of beginning to reflect on Aristotelian sense? (We know that the term is generally
the meaning (perhaps new for us) of some very old used in a very vague way.) They are the highest or most
questions? general predications, which must be understood both in

the ontic sense of greatest genera, 12g~tara ygvrl, which modify the substance and is the most distant from it, we
circumscribe a certain region or section of being, and in have the category of rd arO6g rt, the external relations. 11
the logical sense of predicates which cannot themselves Thus for Brentano the Aristotelian categories are
be subjects, that is, ~carq~ooiat with respect to which no exactly 2 3 ----8, as the result of three applications of the
further predication is possible. The purely logical 8tafoeatg. le And in fact in Aristotle, too, occurs this
conception of categories is the simplest and also the number, in inclusive alternative with ten. The two
least deceptive, but this reduction to mere predicates is residual categories, in this case, that is, having (~xetv)
rejected by Brentano because Aristotle's logic -- or and posture (regaOat), may be regarded as redundant
better, analytic -- is not part of metaphysics or ~rOo)rr/ and subordinated to the ~ctvgaetr
gartar0/ar/ (which is real science), but as formal science Note in passing how this reformulation makes it
deals only with fictitious entities like the "ens tamquam easier to understand the origin of the distinction,
verum', 6v aSg 6.2r/0gq, and not with real predication. not much used today, between relations proper, that
This remark will be better appreciated later, when is external, and affections altering the substance, that
Brentano deals with trans-categorial or analogic pre- is internal: the latter are the last six ztdOr/, excluding
dication, the 6/uwvf~pwg 7r For the o~)aia and v~t z~O6g ft. And to go back to our previous
moment, it will be enough to remember the fact that argument, it will be noticed that space and time are here,
logic and metaphysics are equally interested in the consistently, not relations but affections of things. Space
division into categories. 7 Categorial predication is thus and time are not parameters because they react on what
part of that way of relating to being which Aristotle calls they contain.
of "synonymy", ovvwv~l~wg ravqTooe~aOat , and which Resuming the exposition of Brentano, we see now the
consists in subsuming the t~v under its most general strict correspondence subsisting between the categorial
ontic determinations. Synonymy must be understood as schemes and the grammatical forms of the "nomen
internal to each of these highest genera. 8 For the substantivum" (substance), the "nomen adiectivum"
distinction and correlation of the logical and the (quality and quantity), the "verbum activum etpassivum"
metaphysical sense in Aristotle see e.g. the corre- (to act and to be acted on), the "adverbia loci et
sponding use of the apophantic 'tamquam', which works temporis" (where and when) and the "praepositiones"
synonymously (tO ~v ,~ 6v), and of the existential- (external relations), respectively; the two residual
individual 'per se', which works transversally (r6 6v categories of having and posture may correspond to the
~r 9 "participium praesens et perfectum" ( habens, habitus). 14
As against Kant and Hegel, who wanted to see in the This correspondence, of course, does not become a
Aristotelian table of categories nothing more than a precise one in the absence of an adequate speculative
merely inductive list without any systematic justification, commitment, which could convincingly interpret as
Brentano can establish how to get to this table by a anomalies the morphological deviations from the ideal
consistent and complete 6tas162 l~ The systematic form, and which could continue to the end in the
criterion coordinated with the procedure of division by direction of rational radicalization thus opened. E.g. an
two and reutilization of the residue follows the order of abstract noun like 'whiteness' will have to be understood
the growing closeness to o~)aia. Proceeding in the not as a noun, nor as an adjective, but as a pure relation
reverse order, from the top down, we find first of all the extrinsic to the unity that joins together the innumerable
great division between the category of of~aia, the prime white things) 5
substance relative to the individual, the fvroreipevov, We can thus easily reach the conclusion, from
and all the other not substantial but accidental ontic another point of view, that the eight (or ten) Aristotelian
determinations, the ovlufleflrlr6m. Among these we categories completely exhaust the kinds of questions
distinguish, according to the categories of inherence, the that can be meaningfully asked about ontic determina-
gwztd~xovra, that is how much (aroaOv) and what tions, that is, about the 6Oocd of the r{ eo~/,.16 In fact,
(z~ot6v); then come the dynamical affections, the this seems to be the way to get there genetically, starting
Ktvgaetg of acting (aroteCv) and suffering (zdo'zetv); in a from the Socratic etoove(a. From this angle, too, the
similar way, these are followed by the circumstances, rd exhaustivity of the categories does not force one to
~v rtvt', where (arot3) and when (~roz~); and then, as the regard their possible redundance as a capital defect.
only category not of affection or ardOog, which does not From a logical point of view, the syllogistic principle

intervenes as a test of the normality of categorial category, but only in the residual ontic sense of a
predication. It is in this direction, toward the atEartg &d Restbegriff.17
ovMtoyto/~oO, that not so much Aristotle's logic as his
analytic, that is, his speculative grammar, developed. 3. The problem of being must then receive a non-
E.g. in 'Socrates is white, and white is a color; therefore synonymic formulation. This is what is meant first and
Socrates is a color' the reduction to syllogistic morphol- foremost by 'being is not a genus'. At the beginning
ogy proves deceptive. But theoretical reflection shows of the Categories Aristotle prefixed the distinction
that 'white' occurs the first time as a qualitative adjective between "homonymous" and "synonymous" terms. We
(inherence) and the second time as an abstract noun have already discussed the synonymous ones: they
(relation to one); finally the conclusion shoultl hold are the categories understood as highest genera and
again as an inherence. One can only conclude down- ultimate predicates. Of the homonymous (or equivocal)
ward: 'therefore Socrates is a colored thing.' One can ones is given a purely grammatical exemplification. But
only go from the top down, or stay on the same level, elsewhere (Eth. Nicom., 1, iv, 1096b) he says, after
and nothing else: the syllogism does not allow us to excluding the case of "fortuitous homonymy", that the
increase our knowledge ex terminis. But it has another most important theoretical question is that of the
function, too: it is a test of order and regularity in "homonymy by analogy". Thus predication can be
categorial predication. The reduction in syllogistic form, synonymic or categorial, but also homonymic or
however, requires as a supplement an independent analogical. The latter, too, is a predication, though its
theoretical conception of grammatical morphology. terms do not fall within the categories. It concerns the
When this reduction is successful, this means that the ontological, not the ontic, sense of being, and this
categories have a homogeneous application, without explains why Brentano, following Aristotle, does not
holistic complications: a "mereological" application as it allow one to speak of the categories in terms of purely
were. logical predicates.
The principles of Aristotelian "synonymy", that is, of The disjunction would seem complete, if it were not
pure categorial predication, can finally be reduced to for paronymy. In the introduction of the Categories
two: the principle of excluded contradiction and the paronymy comes last and is treated hurriedly, so much
principle of relevance, that is, of categorial order. The so that it never raised much attention. Paronymic
first one excludes that there be contradictory predicates, predication concerns the relation between the casus
or which is the same, infinitely many predicates in the rectus and the other casus obliqui, or between the
definition of the object; the second one entails the meaning of a word or root and that of the other words
necessity to follow a fixed order, from the top down or which derive etymologically from it. To put it in more
viceversa, when considering the succession of the speculative terms, paronymy concerns the relation
various categories. Traditionally one always followed between substance, which normally should be expressed
the order from the top down, from substance to relation. by the noun in the nominative, and accidents, which as
Aristotle himself does it that way. This order is we saw should be expressed by other parts of speech
commonsensical and intuitive, since it is easier to think and different cases. Now the same thematic root can
downward than upward. But this procedure has the work as a noun, an adjective, a verb, etc. To us, the
drawback that it distracts attention from the fact that the question seems strange, especially because Aristotle
first division, the one between substance and accidents, himself tells us that the noun signifies by convention,
is radically different from all the others, those between ~ a r d ovvO~rrlv, and not by some intrinsic virtue, or
the various accidents. The order in terms of a maximum (~(met (De Int., ii, 16a). But we must consider the special
and minimum of substantiality or a maximum and theoretical context of speculative grammar, the antiquity
minimum of relationality is not sufficient to fill the gap, of the problem and its connections with other areas of
because the first division is between ontological and knowledge. Its origins are in the theme of the
ontic, whereas the others concern the ontic only. Going voktoO~og, of the creator of words and their derivations
from the bottom up, on the other hand, from the from the grvkta, as we find it for example in Plato's
relational to the substantial, we can see how the process Cratylus, which for Aristotle is related with the analysis
of integration of ontic determinations never reaches the of metaphors and analogies, treated in books I and II of
summit of oOaEa. Substance as ztOtbrq o~)oia may be a the Rhetoric. But the whole question can (in fact, must)

be understood in a more strictly theoretical sense, and the ~rot6v in the descending order of accidental
then it becomes, as we will see, an integral part of the predications starting with the ogas Which, as we will
analysis of the ~ctOtov~/~t9~ rare~.'oQegaOat, that is, of see, could have some intrinsic reasonableness: it is not
accidental predication par excellence.1 s to be taken for granted that the qualification must
To return to Brentano, he wants first of all to accept precede the distinction. Is it not the case that the "quale"
the thesis of the complete dichotomy of synomymic has its foundation in the "quantum"? Or is it only
and homonymic predication, by including paronymic viceversa?
predication under the homonymic one) 9 Homonymy is Then there is the purely proportional analogy,
the Aristotelian thesis of the ~022aZt~ ~ 2ey61aevov, without either quantitative or comparative implications.
which applies properly to the "ens" (rv) and to the E.g. 'this thing is as hot as that thing is white'. A
"unum" (fv), but then extends easily to all transcen- proportion always has four terms, but here the analogy
dental, that is, transcategorial concepts. To be precise, - should we then call it continuous? -- uses a single

what Aristotle says repeatedly is that "being is said in mode of comparison, that of qualitative attribution. Is
many ways, but not equivocally (o~)z 6/xa)v~ptog): the principle of the ta6rq~ 267toy satisfied here? I
rather, by analogy and relative to a one and to a unique would think it is, provided that we understand it as
nature (d22dt rar'ava2oTs rat ~Q6~ ~v nQrff relative to a dSog, which qualitatively is something
i~[av rtvdt r Brentano interprets the exclusion of more than a ~v s r~o22~v. We agree with Brentano on
equivocity only as irrelevance of fortuitous homonymy the extreme importance of this non-quantitative form of
(which is fine), but analogy as inclusive not only of equality of ratios, which institutes some kind of
proportion and proportionality but also of the relation "preestablished" (though not always decidible) harmony
to an identical term? ~ among all the forms of predication of being. Not only
All depends on how one expands analytically the quality but also all the other categories are subject
famous Aristotelian phrase zto22azt~ q 2ey6tzevov. To to this proportional modification of their ultimate
say 'by analogy and with respect to a one etc.' could be a meaning.
hendiadys (fv 6t& 6vogv), which expresses one and the We are thus left with attributive analogy, which is a
same meaning by two words..In this case the legitimate relation among three terms, that is, of two in relation to
homonymy is the one regulated by analogy, which also one. In the Scholastic conception analogy is understood
includes what the Scholastics used to call 'attributive from the point of view of a creature, that is, of the
analogy'. Attributive analogy has three terms and dependence relation that each being has with the "ens
includes the reference to a one. But the phrase might increatum", intrinsic origin and end of all things. All
also not be a hendiadys, and then the analogy does not beings therefore depend on the god, or on the nature at
include all cases, but only some of them. Among those once original and teleological, and this dependence is
left out is precisely the one of the contingent relation to related with their distance from the origin or the end: it
a one, the zcObg gv ~cai ~rObg /xCav rtvdt (~Oatv. The is a function of their proportionate imperfection. It is
question could turn out to be purely nominal, but it is doubtful whether we can still speak of analogy here, or
worth mentioning. of analogical analogy, and so on, unless this concept
The Scholastics used to distinguish three kinds of becomes itself equivocal, and in a derogatory sense. The
analogy. The first one is called of proportionality, and in reference to a one is for Aristotle identical per se with
it falls certainly the Aristotelian ta6~g 26ytov. The the reference to being, though the one and being do not
equality of ratios is to be understood not only in a coincide in the in se: from an objective point of view
quantitative or mathematical sense, but also in a they are the same, but in the concept they are distinct.
comparative one. According to proportionality, this He says that 30 ~v ~ca~rO 8v TavTOv 7ca112ia ~Oatg, but
holds whenever a/b = c/d. This structure includes also from a logical point of view they are not the same, ot~z
the so-called continuous analogy, avvr/zgg, where the r ~vi ,~Oyqg.21 Brentano puts this kind of relation to
middle term sets the proportionality, as in a/b = b/c. the one, too, which seems transanalogical besides being
The Aristotelian ta6rqg ~67tov bears traces of the transcategorial, under the general title of the 6gogv~lttog
many Pythagorean, Platonic, and Eudoxian speculations rarqTopefaOat. He sees that case, too, supported by a
on this subject, and is also the reason why many principle of hidden analogy. But it is likely that he does
Aristotelian commentators want the r~oarv to precede so not to be forced to admit, in addition to the first two

grids, the synonymic one and the homonymic-analogic Perhaps the ;tt)7og d:to~avur6g can individuate the
one, a third one, paronymic, which would regenerate the being of which it guards the secret only if the speaker is
whole problem from which we started. 22 given the faculty of proceeding to infinity.
Let us summarize. In the homonymic predication The Brentano of the essay on Aristotle would
there are three grids: one is the analogy of propor- certainly not agree with these conclusions of ours. But
tionality, the second is the simply proportional one, and even without considering the later development of his
the third we can call equally well attributive analogy or thought, which tends to give to being a fundamentally
paronymic predication. The analogy of proportionality univocal meaning, what we get in the end from his
is a system of quantitative or comparative relations, interpretation of Aristotle is that the analogia entis is
which is decidable by the understanding. Given three ultimately a lucus a non lucendo.
terms, the fourth one is always contained, even if for
the moment it is unknown. Sometimes, as in the
continuous analogy, one can deduce two terms over 4. Aristotle's "transcendentalia" are not concepts
four. But analogy besides being continuous can be itself derivable from judgments of reflection, but simply
analogical, become an analogy of the analogy, move to properties of being that are ubiquitous because they are
qualitative inherences by going from the bottom up. It analogical. Unless we say that the very language by
can bring us to saying, always respecting critical reason, which he tries to fix the sense of the reference to things
'this is as hot as that is white'. This a mere proportional of this world, be they substances or accidents, is in its
analogy in the predication of inherence, qualitative in turn an affection of the substance which we want to
this case, of the second order. All of this is still express. But to objectivize a reflection in this sense, that
straightforward, and it holds for all cases of analogico- is, in the sense of a retroaction of being on its
proportional predication, not only the qualitative ones. individuation, we need different -- and later --
But when we pass on to attributive analogy, to the theoretical concepts.
pure and simple relation to a one, the one understood In contrast with the above, a coherent analogical
thematically, how can we avoid noticing that we are interpretation of being will be given by Plotinus, though
dealing with no restriction of the contingently such, of at the cost of annihilating being. Plotinus refers to the
what at any one time is understood thus-and-so, but is analogy that will later be called attributive, solving in
relational in an abstract and ultimately arbitrary sense? his own way the difficulties of Plato's Parmenides, by
The third and last grid, the one of attributive analogy, assigning a strong sense to the relation with the one.
shows a decided inversion of tendency and involves a This is possible provided that we locate this one within
regress to the fortuitous. The first two analogies could absolute transcendence, that is beyond being, g:tgretva
perhaps be understood as successively upward, in ~ o~)txs and it is only by virtue of the dependence
direction of a progressive ontic convergence on the on the one that being becomes what it is. The one and
ontological. The third one cannot. It tends irresistibly to being, distinct in the concept, do not coincide even
trivialize itself into the c o m m o n sense of what is one at a objectively any longer. The relation of participation in
given time, according to the occurrence, the occasion, the one is what gives substantiality to beings, and the
the changeable and impermanent and ephemeral sense preeminence of this relation becomes the measure of
of communicative discourse in act. At any rate, it is fatal the attributive analogy. The converse relation, which
that the highest analogy, the attributive or paronymic proceeds from the one to the world, becomes the
one, cannot be expressed if not in the same terms of the emanation from the ineffable center into the various,
lowest category, the least substantial, ~lrtO'ra of)os the degrading hypostases.
pure and simple relation :r06g ft. All of this is perhaps Platonic, but certainly not
There is of course the possibility of a recourse to the Aristotelian. Aristotle criticizes the doctrine of ideas
One or the G o d as an object of the eminent reference. because of its separateness, the hypostases, the so-called
But even admitting that we can reach such a persuasion, third man argument etc. More significant, in my opinion,
how could this convince us that we have offered an is his unwillingness to admit a ktil~latg or alternatively a
explanation of the problem of being? A theism born out ktg0e~tg as relations founding the dependence of being
of desperation cannot suppress even in the believer the from a single principle. Thus we can make sense of the
deepest atheism of the purely intellectual or~pLg. fact that the philology of the last century classified

Plotinus among the "Neoplatonists", a historiographic gmtrrOl~l, must be competent to determine the :t06 q gv
category which has some intrinsic systematic value. rag ~rOOqpear vtvd ~(~atv.
F r o m Plotinus descend the Arabic Aristotelians and F r o m a scientistic point of view, at this point one
then the Scholastics. A n d perhaps it was just an echo of would have to blame Aristotle for not having fully
the Scholastic, which he knew very well in its thomistic developed a coherent language of science in general.
formulation, that induced Brentano to classify paronymy For certainly his acute observations on synonyms,
under the title of attributive analogy, or rather of homonyms, and paronyms, though giving an overall
analogy of relation to a single term. e3 impression of great systematicity from an architectonic
We must say that Aristotle is rather stingy in point of view, are still insufficient, and hence unsatis-
exemplifying the paronyms. One of the clearest factory, from the point of view of method. In sum,
paradigms concerns medicine and health. A p r o p o s the the theory of categories leaves behind itself a residue:
~to22azd)g 2eyrltevov, he notes that the ontological notion of substance. The analysis of
the residue is done through the analogy, a more
if the word is used equivocally and in virtue of nothing common powerful principle, which retroacts on the categories
to its various uses, being does not fall under one science (for the and modifies their theory. A n d in its turn, the analogical
meanings of an equivocal term do not form one genus); but if the theory of the equality of ratios leaves behind itself
word is used in virtue of something common, being will fall under
another residue, be that called attributive analogy or
one science. The term seems to be used in the way we have
mentioned, like "medical" and "healthy". (Met.,K, ii, 1060b) 2a paronymy: that of the ultimate reference to being or to
the one. This last residue, too, if it could be theorized,
would retroact on the two previous theories. But there is
Or that "being is said in many ways, but always with
in Aristotle no theory of the third predicative level
reference to a one and to some one nature". Except for
which does not simply consist of a reference to 'at a
proportional analogy,
given time'. So here arises a problem which, not being
solved, reacts with deep destabilizing effects on the
all that "is" is related to one central point, one definite kind of
thing, and is not said to "be" by a mere ambiguity. Everything whole structure of Aristotelian gnto~p~1. The science of
which is healthy is related to health, one thing in the sense that it substance remains a presupposition, a ,3:r62e~ptg which
preserves health, another in the sense that it produces it, another cannot be reconstructed with the means of the 2670 ~
in the sense that it is a symptom of health, another because it is dJro(~avrtrr~.
capable of it. And that which is medical is relative to the medical There has been discussion for a long time on whether
art, one thing being called medical because it possesses it,
or not for Aristotle it was legitimate to speak of super-
another because it is naturally adapted to it, another because it is
a function of the medical art. And we shall find other words used sensible substances. This pseudoproblem is certainly of
similarly to these. (Met.,F, ii, 1003a--b) 25 Aristotelian origin, but it is discussed in the aporiae
(Metaphysics B). Now the simple fact here, leaving along
I do not know whether or not it is legitimate to the sterile exercise of "reading Aristotle's thought", is
generalize on the basis of these and the not many other that in Aristotle there are not even sensible substances.
similar exemplifications which one finds on the subject. Substance is something sublime, indeterminable and
But be that as it may, we can conclude that dealing with inexistent.
being in the sense of paronymic predication belongs to, But it would be a mistake to address a scientistic
and hence falls within the powers of, gerto~t~ 1. There- objection to Aristotle. F o r Aristotle g~to~flr] is not
fore the reference to the one does not indicate a based on an exact/udO~]at~, since it is nothing else than a
transcendence in the theological sense, but is something 66~a extended to a potentially general consensus. F r o m
accessible to science, even if to a science which among this point of view the result he obtained must be
its principles admits the teleological one. One will never considered perfect.
insist enough on the fact that that theoretical science
which Aristotle puts on the same level as physics and 5. A scientific language should be based on a semiotics
mathematics, and which he calls Oeo2oyt~cO,being like which is coherent, complete, and uniform. If some
the other two subordinated to the ztOtbrq gztto~prl, theory had to precede this semiotics to distinguish
should be translated as teleology. A fortiori then the categories of signs and different semiotic functions
science of substance, since it is part of the etQagr~/ the result would not be scientific, unless the latter

theory had in turn a coherent, complete, and uniform 2 H. Lotze, Medicinische Psychologie oder Physiologie der Seele,
semiology. But there is no semiotic r e p r o d u c t i o n which Leipzig, 1852.
is so indefinitely extended as to include the modifica- 3 M. Heidegger, in his 'Vorwort' to W. J. Richardson's Heidegger,
Through Phenomenology to Thought, The Hague 1963, says that
tions of semiotics. If these are not present f r o m the
Brentano's work was his first livre de chevet during his University
beginning, the result can be called in various ways, the days (pp. ix--xi). And the affinity is clear between Heidegger's thesis
least appropriate of which seems to be semiotics, since of the Seinsvergessenheit and the result of Brentano's work.
its n a m e is Erkenntnistheorie. 4 A. Trendelenburg, Geschichte der Kategorienlehre, I, Berlin 1846,
T h e objection to Aristotle, anticipating the modisti, in F. Brentano, op. cit., Ch. V, w15.
5 F. Brentano, op. cit., p. 185. George, op. cit., pp. 123--24.
would be the following. T h e different parts of speech,
60p. cit., ib.
that is, noun, adjective, verb, etc., when expressed in a 7 0 p . cit.,p. 194.
speculatively correct manner, have (in agreement with 8 0 p . cit., Ch. V, w
the modisti) different m o d i significandi. N o w it is true 9 0 p . cit.,Ch.V,w
that the diversity of these m o d e s can be m a d e precise, as lo Op. cit.,Ch.V, 915;p. 184.
we saw, for the various species of categories, such as 11 Op. cit., Ch. V, 913; see tables on pp. 175 and 177.
12 Op. cit., Ch. V, 91; see also g l 3.
substance, inherence, m o v e m e n t , etc. But the definition
13 Op. cit., ib.
c a n n o t be purely morphological, that is, ontic. It must 14 Op. cit.,Ch.V, 913.
take into a c c o u n t the modi-fying factor which inter- 15 Op. cit., lb., pp. 186--87.
venes in the regress to h o m o n y m y and p a r o n y m y of the 16 Op. cit., Ch. V, 98.
individuating, that is, ontological, signification. T h e 17 On this point Brentano's opinion is expressed very cautiously; see
residue re-modifies the determinations already acquired, Ch. V, 913, pp. 148--50. It is interesting to consider Brentano's
position in the light of the successive development of his thought:
and we are not at all certain that this guarantees a
first his work on Aristotle's De anima (Die Psychologie des
process of approximation. Since p a r o n y m y is modisti- Aristoteles, insbesondere seine Lehre vom 'nous poietikos', Mainz
cally undecidable, and therefore the system remains 1867), and then the celebrated Psychologie vom empirischen Stand-
always open, we must be ready to accept its unpredict- punkt, Leipzig 1874, where occurs the theory of the "intentional" or
able catastrophe. "inexisting object", by now entirely independent of Aristotle.
18 F. Brentano, Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung... , Ch. V, w
Only in a closed system, which tends artificially to
pp. 85 and 98.
univocity, coherence, and completeness within itself, 19 Op. cit.,Ch.V, 93.
would it be possible to have a perfectly formalized 20 Op. cit.,Ch.V, 96, pp. 108--13.
language and hence a conclusive science. But f r o m the 2~ Op. cit., Ch. V, 99, p. 126, footnote 161 (Met.,F, ii, 1003b).
point of view of language, that is, of communicative 22 Op. cit., Ch. V, w p. 98, see also above, Note 17.
23 Op. cit.,Ch.V, 911, pp. 143--44.
discourse, this would be a solipsistic language, which
24 The translation is from The Works of Aristotle, ed. by W. D. Ross,
cannot speak to others, not about the world. 26 In spite of
Oxford, Clarendon Press 1908, Vol. VIII.
its inadequacies, we prefer the clear c o m p e t e n c e of 25 lb. See F. Brentano, op. cit., Ch. V, w p. 96.
Aristotle in his Sprachlogik, the logic of speech. A n d we 26 We refer here to the distinction between "colloquial language"
would like to c o n c l u d e by quoting a graffiti which and "formalized language" in A. Tarski, 'The concept of truth in
a p p e a r e d at one time at the Sorbonne: formalized languages', in Logic, Semantics, and Metamathematics:
Papers from 1923 to 1938, Oxford University Press, 1956, pp. 152--
q u a n d on indique la lune du doigt, 278.
l'imb~cile regarde le doigt.
Dipartimento di Filosofia
Universit& di Bologna
Notes via Z a m b o n i 38
Bologna, Italy
1 F. Brentano, Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung des Seienden nach
Aristoteles, Freiburg im Breisgau 1862, p. 193 (Olms, Hildesheim
1960). The book is dedicated to Trendelenburg, "meinem verheres-
ten Lehrer', and its motto is r6 dv 2~erctt ~to22ctz~~. For the
English translation I used F. Brentano, On the Several Senses of
Being in Aristotle, ed. and transl, by R. George, Berkeley, Los
Angeles & London, University of California Press, 1975.