Aristotle on Ontological Pluralism

Philosophical Investigations 15 (36):287-306 (2021)
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Abstract

Aristotle has repeatedly stated in his works that 'being has several senses'. Is this to be regarded as his pluralistic ontology, an approach that seems to be too nascent? If so, how can this newfound approach in ontology be linked to the ideas of the father of this science, i.e. Aristotle? These are the questions that the present article seeks to answer. First, we will show that Aristotle thinks of 'being' in four senses. Then, step by step he proceeds to leave different senses aside, insofar as only one sense remains: being in the sense of the figures of the categories. We argue, then, that it is better to found Aristotle's ontological pluralism upon the fourfold sorts, instead of the tenfold categories. We will provide some reasons for this preference, i.e. in defense of the fourfold sorts and against the tenfold categories. Each of these four modes of being will be discussed. Finally, a version of ontological pluralism will be provided and attributed to Aristotle: Sorting Version. According to this version of pluralism, we will demonstrate how Aristotle speaks of the ontologically fundamental structure of the world.

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