It was composed by Porphyry in Greek in Sicily during the years , and sent to Chrysaorium, according to the commentators Ammonius, Elias, and David. Many writers, such as Boethius himself, Averroes, Abelard, Scotus, wrote commentaries on the book. Other writers such as Albert of Saxony and William of Ockham incorporated them into their textbooks on logic. The earliest Latin translation, no longer extant, was made by Marius Victorinus in the fourth century. Boethius relied upon it in his own translation.

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Porphyry is, like Aquinas, sometimes better at writing Aristotle than Aristotle is. Porphyry rocks pun very much intended. Jan 31, Evan Kramer rated it it was amazing These are my notes on the passage. Genus Descriptio of Genus: that which is predicated essentially of many things differing in species. Differs from property in that genus is predicated of many species, whereas property is predicated only one species and to the individuals belonging to that species.

Genus different from difference and common accident. Though difference and common accident may be These are my notes on the passage. Though difference and common accident may be predicated of many things differing in species, they are not essentially predicated essentially, but qualitatively. Species Two kinds of species. That which is species only and that which is also a genus.

The descriptio that applies to all species is this: that which falls under a genus or that which genus is predicated of essentially. The lowest species is also that which is predicated essentially of many things differing in number. Difference There are three meanings to difference. Commonly, it refers to anything that causes something to differ from either something else or itself e.

Properly, two things are said to differ whenever they differ because of some inseparable accident: being hooked nosed, greyness of eyes, etc. Strictly, two things differ insofar as they differ because of a specific difference e. Common and proper differences cause something to differ in quality. Strict or specific differences cause something to differ in essence.

From these essential or specific differences the divisions of genus into species arise and also definitions because definitions consist of a genus and specific difference. There are separable and inseparable differences. Some examples of separable differences include being ill or well, in a state of rest or motion, etc.

Inseparable differences include being rational, snubbed nosed, having grey eyes. Some inseparable differences exist per se and some per accidens. Examples of the latter include being snubbed nosed, having grey eyes, and having a scar. Examples of the former include being rational. Per se differences belong to the essence of a thing, whereas per accidens differences do not. Per se differences do not admit of more or less whilst per accidens differences do we do not say something whose essence is being human that he or she is more human than another.

Among per se differences there are those by which we divide the genera and those by which the divided genera are constituted as species. For instance, animal contains animate and sensible, rational and irrational, etc. But it is by the difference animate and sensible that animal is constituted the substance essence, genus, species that it is. Also, we divide the genus animal into its species by rational and irrational. Man is constituted as man in virtue of being rational, and beast in virtue of its irrationality.

Thus, it is rationality, though contained in an indeterminate way in the species, i. The species is said to exceed the genus insofar as the difference is added to it, for if the genus contained all of the differentia it would contain contradictory predications e. It should be said, however, that the genus contains the differences of the subordinate species potentially, not actually. And it is the species which contains it actually. Property Porphyry gives four different definitions, which I will avoid reiterating.

It is midway between accident and specific difference. It is something that every species without fail will possess even though it does not belong to the essence of the thing, insofar as it is not constitutive of the definition or species. In other words, the property proprium flows from the essence of the thing, but is not a part of its essence. For example, man is a rational animal and in virtue of this he is risible able to laugh. While all members of the species possess this capacity in virtue of being human, it is not a part of the essence.

Properties are also convertible: if there is a horse, there is a capacity to neigh; if there is the capacity to neigh there is a horse. Accident Def. For instance, a man can be sleeping at one moment and not at another both in the intellect and reality. An inseparable accident can be separated from the substratum in the intellect but not in reality.

For instance, we can consider the crow or the Ethiopian LOL! For example, rational contains the species man. Animal, likewise contains man, but it does, but contains other species that rational does not. Another common characteristic is that the species and individuals depend upon their genus such that the species and individuals are destroyed if the genus or difference does not exist.

Difference Between Genus and Difference Genus is predicated of more thing than the difference qua specific difference. The genus contains the specific differences potentially. Genera are prior to their species. The destruction of the species does not entail the destruction of the genus, for genus can still be conceived of without some specific species e. Genus is predicated essentially, whereas differences is predicated essentially. Each species has only one genus, but can have multiple differences.

Man differs from other animals in being mortal, rational, biped, etc. Genus is like matter, whereas species is like form. Common Characteristics of Genus and Species Considering species as species only and not genus, species, like genus, are both prior to the things they are predicated of and are a "kind of whole. Genus can be predicated of its species, but not vice versa. Common Characteristics of Genus and Property Both consequences of the species. If there is a man, there is an animal.

If there is a man, there is the capability of laughter. Difference Between Genus and Property Property is posterior and genus is prior. Moreover, property is convertible, but genus is convertible with nothing. Common Characteristic of Genus and Accident Predicated of many things. Difference Between Genus and Accident Genus is prior conceptually to its species, whereas accident is posterior existentially?

Moreover, all things that share in genus, do not share equally in genus, whereas not all that share in an accident share equally of the accident, but admits of more or less. Genus is predicated essentially of a species or individual, but accident is predicated qualitatively. Common Characteristics of Difference and Species Both are shared in equally and always present in the things of which they are predicated. Difference Between Difference and Species Difference predicated qualitatively and the species predicated essentially.

Difference is prior to species insofar as a destruction of the species does not destroy the difference, but a destruction of the difference destroys the species. Common Characteristics of Difference and Property Both do not admit of less and more; they are equal shared by the things that partake of them.

Porphyry also notes that they are present in every member of the species, not as in fact existing in them, but as the natural end of a things essence. Man is naturally biped. His nature is such that it tends toward this end unless impeded or there is some interposing cause. Difference Between Property and Difference Difference can be predicated of many species, property only to the species it belongs to.

Hence, difference is not convertible, whereas a property is. Common Characteristics of Difference and Accident Both predicated of many things. Difference and inseparable accident are always present in the things of which they are predicated. Just as two-footed is present in all crows, so also black is present in all of them as well. A crow could be conceived of without the latter which is why it is an accident , but not without the former. Properties of Difference and Accident The difference contains rather than is contained in contradistinction to accident.

Moreover, accident admits of more and less, whereas difference does not. Common Characteristics of Species and Property They are co-extensive with one another. Difference Between Species and Property Species is able to be a genus of other species, whereas property belongs only to its own species.

The species is always present actually in what it is predicated of, whereas the property may only be contain in potentiality. Common Characteristics of Species and Accident Each predicated of many things. Difference Between Species and Accident Species is predicated essentially, accident only qualitatively. Every substance shares in only one species, but many accidents both separable and inseparable. The species is conceived of before the accidents there must be some substratum in which accidents inhere.

Sharing in species is equal, but in accidents they are not. Common Characteristics of Property and Inseparable Accident In whatever they exist in, the thing does not exist without them Difference Between Property and Inseparable Accident Property is predicated only of its proper species, whereas accidents exist in many species. Property does not admit of more or less, but accidents do. Properties are convertible, but accidents are not.


Porphyry (philosopher)

Biography[ edit ] Porphyry was born in Tyre. His parents named him Malchus "king" in the Semitic languages [d] but his teacher in Athens , Cassius Longinus , gave him the name Porphyrius "clad in purple" , possibly a reference to his Phoenician heritage, or a punning allusion to his name and the color of royal robes. Under Longinus he studied grammar and rhetoric. In he went to Rome , attracted by the reputation of Plotinus , and for six years devoted himself to the practice of Neoplatonism , during which time he severely modified his diet. At one point he became suicidal. On returning to Rome, he lectured on philosophy and completed an edition of the writings of Plotinus who had died in the meantime together with a biography of his teacher.



Laurentianus 71, Parchment, quarto. A poor quality text. The first was made from the Greek by Athanasius of Balad. He was a pupil of Severus Sebokht at the monastery of Kinnesrin ancient Chalcis , where he made the translation, then went to the convent of Malchus, and eventually became the monophysite patriarch. A copy is extant written in AD according to the manuscript, Ms.


For instance, I shall omit to speak about genera and species, as to whether they subsist in the nature of things or in mere conceptions only; whether also if subsistent, they are bodies or incorporeal, and whether they are separate from, or in, sensibles, 3 and subsist about these, 4 for such a treatise is most profound, and requires another more extensive investigation. Still, this signification appears to be most ready, 7 for they are called Heraclidae who derive their origin from the genus of Hercules, and Cecropidae who are from Cecrops; also their next of kin. Again, in another way that is denominated genus to which the species is subject, called perhaps from the similitude of these; for such a genus is a certain principle of things under it, and seems also to comprehend all the multitude under itself. As then, genus is predicated triply, the consideration by philosophers is concerning the third, which also they explain by description, when they say that genus is that which is predicated of many things differing in species, in answer to what a thing is, e. For of predicates some are predicated of one thing alone, as individuals, for instance, "Socrates," and "this man," and "this thing;" but others are predicated of many, as genera, species, differences, properties, and accidents, predicated in common, but not peculiarly to any one. Now genus is such as "animal," species as "man," difference as " rational," property as " risible," accident as "white," "black," "to sit.


Arabic manuscript of the Isagoge The earliest Latin translation, which is now no longer extant, was made by Marius Victorinus in the fourth century. Boethius heavily relied upon it in his own translation. The earliest known Syriac translation was made in the seventh century by Athanasius of Balad. An early Armenian translation of the work also exists.

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