Mediated Predication in Aristotle's Categories

Ancient Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract
I argue there are two ways predication relations can hold according to the Categories: they can hold directly or they can hold mediately. The distinction between direct and mediated predication is a distinction between whether or not a given prediction fact holds in virtue of another predication fact’s holding. We can tell Aristotle endorses this distinction from multiple places in the text where he licenses an inference from one predication fact’s holding to another predication fact’s holding. The best explanation for each such inference is that he takes some predication facts to be mediated by others. Once the distinction between direct and mediated predication has been explained and argued for, I show how it can help solve a persistent problem for the traditional view of non-substantial particulars in the Categories—that is, the view that non-substantial particulars are particular in the sense of being non-recurrent. Along with vindicating the traditional view, the direct/mediated predication distinction gives us a distinctive way of understanding what it is for something to be recurrent (or non-recurrent) as well as a better understanding of Aristotle’s broader commitments in the Categories as a whole.
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