Phillip Horky

Prelude to the Categories

In this major monograph project, Prof. Horky investigates metaphysics and the philosophy of language in early Greek philosophy. This project will be the first systematic study of category theory prior to Aristotle, and it aims to produce the most comprehensive account of category speculation in pre-Aristotelian texts. This work seeks to illuminate the theories of language and reality that informed Aristotle’s own path-breaking work, Categories, probably composed while Aristotle was in Plato’s Academy (ca. 367-347 BCE). In particular, it aims to demonstrate that Aristotle’s work reflects extensively on prior research on language and ontology, starting from the Eleatic philosopher-poets Xenophanes and Parmenides in the late 6th Century BCE, and concluding with Aristotle’s immediate competitors in the Academy. Hence, Prelude to the Categories will provide a comprehensive history of philosophical investigation into language and being prior to Aristotle, with new assessments of the theories of truth, predication and being, of the Eleatics, Sophists, early mathematicians, Plato, and his students in the Academy.