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Categories: Homonyms

The method I will follow when presenting Aristotles thought is as follows: First I will tell you where we are in Aristotle’s thought. Second, I will quote Aristotle from his book Categories. Third, I will explain what he said. Fourth, I will explain any problems or difficulties that arise. Finally, there will a link at the bottom of the page that will lead to the next part of the categories. Any knowledge of Aristotle that is necessary will be linked below. Otherwise, you can safely assume that you dont need to know anything he says elsewhere.

When things have only a name in common and the definition of being which corresponds to the name is different, they are called homonymous. Thus, for example, both a man and a picture are animals. These have only a name in common and the definition of being which corresponds to the name is different- for if one is to say what being an animal is for each of them, one will give two distinct definitions.

Sometimes we use the same word for things that are completely different. Any word like this is a homonym. For example, we might refer to a picture of a man and that man using the word man. But pictures of men and physical men are completely different things. Only the word used to refer to them is the same. If one were to give a definition of man when used to refer to an actual man, and a definition of man when used to refer to a picture of man, the definitions would be different. The definitions would include being an animal in different ways. One is an animal because all men are animals. The other is an animal because it is a picture of an animal.

Next, Aristotle will discuss what a synonym is.

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