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Harvard Divinity School The Amphibolous Terms in Aristotle, Arabic Philosophy and Maimonides Author(s): Harry Austryn

Harvard Divinity School

The Amphibolous Terms in Aristotle, Arabic Philosophy and Maimonides Author(s): Harry Austryn Wolfson Source: The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Apr., 1938), pp. 151-173 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Harvard Divinity School Stable URL:

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IN ARABIC philosophic texts, and following them also in Hebrew



(avovc,vva, mutawdti'ah), terms 1 usually contain another type

of term which stands midway between these two. It is called

So far

no adequate explanation as to the origin of this type of term has been advanced. In the latest and most important study of the subject, the problem of its origin has been left unsolved.2 To solve this problem as well as to account for the various treat-

ments of ambiguous terms in Arabic philosophy, including Alfarabi, Avicenna, Algazali, Averroes and Maimonides, is the purpose of this paper.



of Aristotle's distinction be-



(od,ucjvva, mushtarakah) and

'ambiguous' or 'amphibolous'

(mushakkikah) terms.


solution of this problem is to be found in Aristotle's

Topics and Alexander's commentary thereon. In one passage of the Topics (I, 15, 106a, 9), Aristotle distinguishes between terms which have many meanings (7roXXax&s) and terms which

have one meaning

corresponds to his distinction in Categories, Ch. 1, between 'equivocal' and 'univocal' terms. In commenting upon those terms which Aristotle describes as having many meanings, Alexander remarks that they are also called 'equivocal' (60tc;-

only (,.Loax&s), a distinction which evidently


and 'ambiguous'


In another passage,

a little

later in the Topics (II, 3, 110b, 16-17), Aristotle further dis- tinguishes within terms of many meanings between (a) those

whose meanings and (b) those

aXXovrpo&rov). Here again, commenting

Alexander says that by terms which have many meanings 'in

differ by way of equivocalness (Kao'oboovvilav) whose meanings differ in some other way (Kar'




1 Categories, Ch. 1, la, 1-12.


Cf. D. Z. Baneth, "La-Terminologiah ha-Pilosofit shel ha-Rambam," Tarbiz, VI (1935), 36-39. 3 Alexander in Topica, ed. M. Wallies (1891), p. 97, 11.22-23.


some other way' than 'by way of equivocalness' Aristotle means 'ambiguous terms' (a'ui1/oXa).4 From these passages it is quite clear that Aristotle distinguishes a type of term which differs from 'equivocal' terms, on the one hand, and from 'univocal' terms, on the other, and that this intermediate class of terms is described by Alexander as 'ambiguous.' Once we know that Aristotle himself distinguishes an inter- mediate type of term which is to be called 'ambiguous,' we shall now be able to find in Aristotle's own writings, with the aid of his Greek commentators, the origin of the various treat- ments of these intermediate terms in Arabic philosophy. We shall take as a starting point the treatment of ambiguous terms by Alfarabi,5 and this we shall supplement as well as comple- ment by statements drawn from the treatments of the same subject by Avicenna,6 Algazali,7 Averroes8 and Maimonides.9 The description given by Alfarabi of ambiguous terms is that their application to two different things is according to the order of priority and posteriority. This description is the most prevalent in Arabic philosophy. It occurs in Avicenna, Al- gazali, Averroes, and, after them, in the Hebrew texts that happen to deal with ambiguous terms. The source of this de- scription of ambiguous term is to be found in a passage of Aristotle's De Anima with Alexander's comment thereon. In De Anima I, 1, 402b, 6-8, Aristotle makes the statement that "if there is a different definition for each separate soul, as for horse and dog, man and god," then the term 'animal,' as the universal, is to be regarded "(a) either as nothing (ov0ev)(b) or

According to Alexander 'equivocal' refers to a 'term' (pvo,ua)

whereas 'ambiguous' refers to a 'sentence' (X&yos). This phase of the distinction, how-

ever, plays no part in the Arabic texts to be dealt with in this paper. 6 Risalat fi Jawabi Masa'il Su'il 'anha, ? 12, in F. Dieterici, Alfarabi's philoso- phische Abhandlungen: Arabic (1890), p. 88; German (1892), pp. 145-146.

6 Najat: I. Logic (ed. Rome, 1593), p. 23; (ed. Cairo, 1331/1913), p. 142; Shifa':

I. Logic, quoted by I. Madkour in his L'Organon d'Aristote dans le monde arabe (1934),


7 Maqasid al-Falasifah: I. Logic, pp. 11-12, II. Metaphysics, p. 106 (Cairo, with-

out date);


Latin translation from the Hebrew: Epitome in

Libros Logicae Aristotelis, in Aristotelis Opera(Venice, 1574), Vol. I, Pars II2, p. 36 I-M.

4 Ibid., p. 152, 11.7-8.


Mi'yar al-'Ilm (Cairo, 1329/1911), p. 44.

8 Original Arabic not extant.

Hebrew translation: Kol Meleket Higgayon:

(Riva di Trento, 1559), pp. 2b-3a;

9 Millot ha-Higgayon, Ch. 13, ed. L. Roth (1935); Moreh Nebukim, I 56.

as posterior









in his

Quaestiones makes the following comment: "If, says Aristotle, these things, namely, horse and dog and man and god, are not of the same genus and 'animal' therefore is not their common genus, then each of them has its own proper definition, with

the result that the term 'animal,' which is predicated in com- mon of all of them, (a) either does not signify any particular


anything, is to be taken in the same sense as it is supposed to

nature and is nothing but an equivoque, (b) or, if it does

be in the case of those terms of many meanings (7roXXax&os

Xeyo6,geva) between



is the


of the


and the posterior (r6 TrpO6Tpo Kal VoiTpov)."10

In this passage,

then, Aristotle, as interpreted by Alexander, includes under iroXXaXwcsXeyb6/rva two types of terms, namely, (a) equivocal terms and (b) terms which apply to things according to prior- ity and posteriority. Taking this passage together with the passage in the Topics where the two types of roXXax<sXEy6ouva are (a) equivocal terms and (b) ambiguous terms, we may con- clude that ambiguous terms are terms which apply to things according to priority and posteriority. This general description of ambiguous terms in Alfarabi is followed by three examples. The first of these examples reads: "as substance (jauhar) and accident ('arad)." From parallel passages in Avicenna, Algazali and others we may gather that what Alfarabi meant to say is that the term 'being' (maujud) in its application to the terms 'substance' and 'accident' is an ambiguous term, inas-

much as it is applied priorily to substance and posteriorily to accident. The source of this illustration is to be found in Aristotle's discussions in the Metaphysics as to the relation of 'being' to the ten categories into which it is divided. The most characteristic passages are as follows: "The term 'being'

meanings (XCyeraL7roXXaX's), but they are

all with reference to one, and to one certain nature, and not


equivocally." 11 Alexander in his comment on this

marks that the term 'being' is between (uTra4b)equivocal and

(r6 6v) bears many


10 Alexandri Scripta Minora, ed. I. Bruns (1892), p. 23, 11.4-9. n Metaphysics IV, 2, 1003a, 33-34.


univocal terms.12 In another place Aristotle says still more

clearly that the term 'being'

vvuws) nor 'in the same

sense' he means here what he elsewhere describes as 'univo-

the in-

termediate position of the term 'being' between equivocal and

univocal terms, or what Alexander would call for Aristotle an 'ambiguous' term, may be supplemented by other passages in

cally' (avvcwviuc0s).l4 These statements with regard to

is used neither

'equivocally' (6uw- by 'in the same

sense' (co-arcvos); 1

which Aristotle

speaks of 'being' as applying

'first' (rpccrws) to

'substance' and then to the other categories, i.e., accidents. The most characteristic passages on this point are the follow-

ing: "The term 'is' is predicable of all things, not however in the same sense, but of one sort of thing first and of others

next." 15 To what things it applies primarily is explained by him elsewhere: "While 'being' has all these senses, obviously that which is first is the 'what,' which indicates the substance

of the thing." 16 And, again,

is simply

The second example given by Alfarabi for ambiguous terms

actuality (fi'l)." Here,

reads: "as potentiality

(quwwah) and

too, as in the case of his first example, what Alfarabi means to

say is that the term 'being' in its application to the terms 'potentiality' and 'actuality' is an ambiguous term, inasmuch

as it is applied to them according to priority and posteriority.

In one place, he

says that "'being' and 'that which is,' in these cases we have

mentioned, sometimes means being potentially, and sometimes

The source of this example is again Aristotle.

"therefore that which is first and

(not 'is something') must be substance." 17

being actually." 18 As to whether potentiality or actuality is prior, we have different statements in Aristotle. Thus, in one

place, he says:

actual cause], and it is not necessary for everything

19 and, in another

to be disposed that way [i.e., to be actual],"

is prior to that cause [i.e., the



12 Alexander in Metaphysica, ed. M.

13 Metaphysics VII, 4, 1030a, 34-35.

14 Cf. the commentaries of Bonitz, Schwegler and Ross ad loc.

15 Metaphysics VII, 4, 1030a, 21-22. On the terms 'first' and 'next' see below,

Hayduck (1891), p. 241, 1. 8.

nn. 27 and 28.

16 Ibid. VII, 1, 1028a, 13-15.

17 Ibid., 1028a, 30-31.

18 Ibid. V, 7, 1017a, 35-b, 2.

19 Ibid. III, 6, 1003a, 1-2.


place, he says that "it is clear that actuality is prior to po- tentiality." 20

A third example given by Alfarabi for ambiguous terms

reads: "as prohibition and command." 21 A parallel passage in Avicenna's Najdt states that an ambiguous term "is that which applies to a thing and its contrary (didd), such as the

terms lawful and prohibited." 22

Avicenna, then, we gather that Alfarabi's example of 'prohibi- tion and command' is not to be taken as an illustration of his own stated description of an ambiguous term as that which applies to things according to priority and posteriority, but rather as an illustration of a new description, left by him un-

stated, namely, that an ambiguous term is that which applies to contraries. The example itself, as given by both Alfarabi and

Avicenna, seems to be incomplete, just as the previous two ex- amples given by Alfarabi. The term 'law' evidently has to be supplied here just as the term 'being' had to be supplied in the previous two examples. What Alfarabi and Avicenna mean to say is this: The term 'law' in its application to the con- traries 'prohibited' and 'lawful' (or 'commanded') is an illus-

tration of this new description of ambiguous terms. So also in Philo's De Fuga et Inventione 18, ? 95, and 19, ? 100, the con- traries 'prohibition' (aTrayopevaLs) and 'command' (rpbo-raLts) are said to be subdivisions of the term 'legislative' (YvooO6rLKt) or 'laws' (6/oLt). As the previous description and examples so also this new description and example, I shall now try to show, can be traced to Aristotle.

From this parallel passage of

As for the description, it can be traced to that passage in the

Topics in which, as we have shown above, Aristotle, according to the commentary of Alexander, differentiates between equiv- ocal and ambiguous terms. Aristotle enumerates four kinds of such ambiguous terms. In the second of these four kinds, he says that an ambiguous term is that which is applied to two

20 Ibid. IX, 8, 1049b, 5. 21 al-nahy wal-amr.

22 The Cairo edition (p. 142, 1. 13) has here: al-halil wal-ndhil, in which, from a com-

parison with Alfarabi, al-ndhil is evidently a corruption of al-ndhi. In the Rome edition

(p. 23, 1. 7) the reading is al-hdmil wal-bahil, pregnant woman and unmarriedwoman.



different things which lead to the same end, "as the science of contraries (epavria) is said to be the same (for of contraries the one is no more an end than the other)." 23 Neither Aristotle nor his commentator Alexander, however, uses here the ex- ample given by both Alfarabi and Avicenna. Aristotle does not

give here any examples at all. Alexander gives three


(1) medicine, which is the science of both health and disease, (2) music, which is the science of both harmonized and un- harmonized sounds, (3) gymnastics, which is the science of both good bodily condition and bad bodily condition.24 But the example of 'law,' which is the science of both 'the prohibited' and 'the commanded' or 'lawful,' used here by Alfarabi and Avicenna, can be traced to another passage of Aristotle which occurs in the Metaphysics. In that passage, Aristotle discusses again the term 'being' and tries to show that it is not an equivocal term but rather a term which Alexander would call for him 'ambiguous.' In connection with this, he repeats the statement with regard to contraries which we have

just quoted from the Topics.

traries is to be examined by one and the same science, and in each pair one term is the privation of the other." 25 This state- ment leads him to the discussion of the contraries 'just' and 'unjust,' in the course of which discussion he defines the 'just' as one who is "obedient to the laws (vo6uots)" and the 'unjust' as

one who is "in some respect deficient" with reference to obedi- ence to the laws.26 It can be easily seen how Alfarabi's and Avicenna's example of lawfulness and prohibition as an illus- tration of the ambiguity of terms when applied to contraries may have survived as a reminiscent phrase of Aristotle's dis-

in the sense of obedience

cussion of the 'just' and the 'unjust,'

and disobedience to the laws, in connection with his similar dis-

cussion of the ambiguity

When one recalls that the Greek word for law used by Aristotle

in this

where it became ndmis, and is used there in the same sense,

He says:

"Every pair of con-

of terms when


to contraries.

namely, vouos, has been adopted into Arabic,


23 Topics II, 3, llOb, 19-21.

24 Alexander in Topica, p. 152, 11.19-20. 26 Metaphysics XI, 3, 1061a, 18-20.

26Ibid., 25-27.


the connection between Alfarabi's and Avicenna's example and the passage in Aristotle becomes still more evident.


As correlated with the distinction of 'priority'


Trpo67pov) and 'posteriority'

tioned by Alfarabi and illustrated by the example of the term 'being' in its application to substance and accident, Algazali in his Mi'ydr al-'Ilm, p. 44, mentions also two other similar

distinctions. First, the distinction of 'primary' or 'first'

(awwaliyy) and 'subsequent' or 'next' (dkhiriyy), which he illustrates again by the example of 'being' in its application to a thing to which it belongs essentially (min dhdtihi) and to a thing to which it belongs by reason of something else (min ghairihi). Second, the distinction of 'intensity' (shiddah) and 'slightness' (da'f), which he illustrates by the example of the term 'whiteness' in its application to 'ivory' ('dj) and a 'crown' (tdj). Now these two new kinds of distinctions can also be traced to Aristotle. With regard to the first distinction, Alga- zali's phrase 'primary and subsequent' (al-awwaliyy wal-


Greek words 7rpwows and

E7rogfvos. Furthermore, the example used by Algazali to illus-

trate these two terms reflects Aristotle's statement

term 'first' or 'primary' (rpW^ros)applies to things to which 'being' belongs essentially (KaO' airo) as distinguished from things to which it belongs in virtue of something else (Kar' aXXo),27 in the latter case of which he could probably also say

that 'being' belongs to those things 'next' or 'subsequently'

(ta'akhkhur,viarpov)already men-

reflects the


that the

(c7ro1iEcs), for in another place he says that 'being' is predicated

'first' (rp&Tcws) of one sort of thing, i.e., substance, and 'next' (iEojLcvws) of others, i.e., accidents.28 With regard to the sec-

ond distinction, Algazali's phrase

shiddah wal-da'f) literally reflects the

aub6pa and 'ipe'ua which occur often in Aristotle.29 But from the fact that Algazali uses it here with reference to some difference

with which the term 'whiteness' is

applied things it may be inferred that it reflects the Greek phrase 'more

'intensity and slightness' (al-


Greek terms

to different white

27 Metaphysics VII, 6, 1031b, 13-14.

28 Ibid. VII, 4, 1030a, Q1-22. 29 Cf., e.g., Topics III, 2, 117b, 23, and see Bonitz, Index Aristotelicus, s.v.


and less' (r6 UIaXX\o KatLrT jrrov)

which is often used by Aristotle

in a similar connection as, e.g., in his statement that "one

is said to be more (ua2XXov) or less (7rrov) white than another." 30

The changing by Algazali, or by somebody else before him, of Aristotle's original phrase 'more or less' into 'intensity or slightness' may at first sight seem to be purely accidental, for the two phrases are sometimes used by Aristotle himself in the same sense.31 Furthermore, a similar change of terms also oc- curs in Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Categories where the term 'more' (akthar), which is used in the Arabic translation of Aristotle's text as the literal translation of the Greek uaxXXov, is changed to the term 'more intense' (ashadd).32 But later, when I shall take up the question whether Aristotle would call 'whiteness' in its application to different white things

an 'ambiguous' term, I hope to show that the change of the phrase 'more or less' to 'intensity or slightness' in this particu- lar instance was made for a definite purpose.33 In the same place in his Mi'ydr al-'Ilm, Algazali adds a set of three other examples to illustrate the use of ambiguous terms. (1) A term which applies to different things by virtue of their proceeding from one beginning, as, e.g., the term


'medical' (tibbiyy) in its application to (a) a book (kitab), (b) a

(2) A term which

applies to different things by virtue of their conducting to one

end, as, e.g., the term 'healthy' (sihhiyy) in its application to (a)

a drug (dawd'), (b) gymnastics (riyadah), and (3) venesection

(fasd). (3) A term which applies to different things by virtue

of their having both one beginning and one end, as, e.g., the

application of the term'divine' (ildhiyyah) to all things. This


tion of Aristotle's equivocal terms places under what he calls 'equivocal in meaning' (o6yc'vvouos aro blavoias), (1) terms ap- plied to things proceeding from one source (a?'Yros), such, e.g.,

has been traced to Porphyry,34 who in his reclassifica-

small knife (mibda'), and (c) a drug (dawa').

30 Categories, Ch. 8, 10b, 26. 31 Cf. Bonitz, Index Aristotelicus, sub j.aXXov.

32 Cf. M. Bouyges, Averroes: Talkhig Kitab al-Maqoilat (1932), p. 32, 1. 138 of Aristotle's Text and p. 33, 1. 1 of Averroes' Commentary; also p. 84, 1.458 of Text and 1. 4 of Commentary.

33 Cf. below, p. 167.

34 Cf. Baneth, op. cit., p. 37.



as the application of the term 'medical' (iarpLKOS) to (a) medi-

cal book (Lq3SXltolaTpLK6v), (b) a drug



a small

knife (auALXov), and (2) terms applied to different things lead-

such, e.g., as the application of the


ing to one end (rpos (v),












a [hygienic]




there is no doubt that part of Algazali's passage is based upon that of Porphyry, but still Porphyry's passage by itself would not account for the peculiar fact that Algazali makes use of these examples as illustrations of ambiguous terms, nor would it explain how Algazali, or whoever was responsible for it, hap- pened to introduce the term 'venesection' which does not occur in Porphyry's passage. In order to be able to account for this particular use made by him of these examples as well as for his use of the term 'venesection,' we must turn again to Aristotle

and Alexander, for most of the examples used by Porphyry and Algazali occur also, though in different form, in that passage of the Topics where Aristotle discusses what Alexander calls for him ambiguous term. In Aristotle they occur under the first of the four kinds of ambiguous terms enumerated by him there. It is described by him as a term which is applied to dif- ferent things of which one is an end and the other is a means to that end. Aristotle illustrates it by the example of the term 'medical' in its application both to the science of producing



(6&aLcr7ia).36 Alexander illustrates it by the term 'medical' in

its application to health and to those things which produce

(vyiLeav 7roL7oaaL) and

to the


of prescribing



as diet


cutting (ro07)




tLS).37 Now, the term roy', which means 'cutting' in any kind of surgical operation, may have been taken by some Arabic reader or translator of Alexander in the special sense of 'cutting of vein' (X0ESoroIuta) and hence Algazali's 'venesection.' Fur- thermore, in the Metaphysics Aristotle uses the term 'medical' as an illustration not only of its application to different things by virtue of their leading to one end but also of its application to

35 Porphyrius in Categorias, ed. A. Busse (1897), p. 66, 11.2 ff.

36 Topics II, 3, 10b, 17-19.


different things by virtue, as he says elsewhere, of their proceed-

0vos).38 He thus says that the term

'medical' applies both to a [medical] discourse (Xoyos) and to a small knife (uaxa'pLov) on the ground that "the former proceeds

ing from one source (a4'

from medical


(a76 ro


larpLKS?7), and the latter

is useful

to it." 9 Finally, Simplicius, in his commentary on the Cate- gories, states definitely that terms applied to things proceed- ing from one source (a4' evos) or leading to one end (rpos ev) are neither equivocal nor univocal40 but that they are inter-


(r6 /E.cov)



and univocal.41

In short,

they are ambiguous terms. A further extension of the use of 'ambiguous' terms is to be

found in Averroes' Epitome of Porphyry's Isagoge.42 Defining an 'ambiguous' 43term as that which is applied to different

things which are related to one source, as, e.g., one agent,44

or to one end 45 or to one subject,46 he divides it into two main

divisions of which the first has two subdivisions and the second four subdivisions, as follows: 41

38 Nicomachean Ethics I, 6, 1096b, 27-28. 39 Metaphysics XI, 3, 1061a, 3-5.

40 Simplicius in Categorias, ed. C. Kalbfleisch (1907), p. 74, 11.30-31.

Here Simplicius mentions only &a' ev6r.

42 Cf. above, n. 8.

43 nomina analoga (p. 36 L). In the Hebrew version: D'p1iDD nlDW (p. 3a), i.e.,


Ibid., p. 228, 1. 9.

nomina ambigua. On the use of analoga for ambigua, see below n. 84.

ti, ad principium unum: sicut si compa-

rentur, ad efficiens unum. This reflects Aristotle's interpretation of Apx/ as an efficient

cause in Metaphysics VI, 1, 1013a, 7-10.

44 inNlyD




nnti ninnn

45 nnt n'Rn

46 ad subjectum unum.

KH,adfinem unum.

K, i.e., ad locum unum.

The Hebrew :lpu seems to reflect here the Arabic mahall rather than the Arabic makdn and hence the Latin subjectum. The Arabic mahall in Maqasid al-Falasifah: II. Meta- physics, p. 80, is translated into Hebrew by ltvo, i.e., DlpD (Kawwanot ha-Pilosofim,

MS. Paris,

Cf. my Crescas' Critique of

Aristotle, p. 577, n. 15.

gazel's Metaphysics, ed. J. T. Muckle (1933), p. 6,1. 8).

In the Hebrew version:


Bibliotheque Nationale, Cod. Heb.

901), and into Latin by subjectum (Al-

Latin translation the description 'ambiguous' (or as it is called there

This is due to the fact

that the Latin translation contains only one kind of equivocal terms instead of the two

kinds found in the Hebrew translation, and consequently the Latin translation takes Averroes' concluding statement "Et istae species, exceptis primis duabus speciebus,

sunt notae in nominibus analogis [= ambiguis]," ly-iI ,Dn3,K"n D'rDv n:l ,o'r InlIl

D'pDIDDnunlo, to refer to B

and the clause exceptisprimis duabus speciebus to refer

to the one kind of equivocal terms and to A.

47 In the 'analogous')

terms refers only to what I designate here by B.



A. (1) [Primitive] terms, such, e.g., as the term 'being' in

its application to 'substance,' 'quantity,' 'quality' and the other categories, or the term 'heat' in its application to 'fire' and to other hot objects.48 (2) Derivative terms, such, e.g., as the term 'medical' in its

application to a 'lancet' and to a 'drug,' the term 'healthy' to


'gymnastics' and 'symptom,' the term 'good' to a 'place' a 'house' and the term 'true' to 'slavery' and 'wisdom.'

B. (1) Terms applied to things according to the order of

priority and posteriority, such,

its application to many of the categories and their species.50

as the term 'essence' in



48 Sicut est nomen entis, quod dicitur

nlmn:;by ,oxy;n byn,w

-tVK 1ND:

de substantia,quantitate, et qualitate, et

caeteris praedicamentis, et sicut caliditas quae dicitur de igne et caeteris rebus cali- dis.

In his Tahafut al-Tahafut, VII (ed. M. Bouyges, 1930, ? 37, pp. 387-388) he adds to these two examples taken from 'being' and 'heat' also the example of 'motion' in its application to locomotion and to other kinds of motion.



mnm ,nmNllDn,

.aDlnn o',n=-n N"apl

IN1 ,ml'n,lm


49 Et earum sunt quae dicuntur nomine derivato a nominibus, ut si dixeris phlebo- tomum medicinalem [et pharmacum medi-

,l'nlmnt) irl;n

nmiynmn "w1nD51orn " Dl r? l'Dv :



."nrnNi' 1D'D"nl1K'1:

cinale, exercitationem salubrem et signum salubre], (locum bonum et domum bonam, veram servitutem et veram sapientiam). In this Latin quotation, the passage within brackets is supplied from the Hebrew version; that within parentheses is omitted in the Hebrew. The example of the term 'medical' occurs also in Averroes' Epitome of the Metaphysics (cf. Averroes: Com-

pendio de Metafisica, ed. Quiros, 1919, II, ? 3, p. 37) where he adds also an example

from the term 60 Quaedam

secundum prioritatem et posterioritatem, rmn,i Dn' [nln',r in ;nrp nlimna] (ln'K1

sicut est comparatio multorum praedica-

mentorum et specierum eorum ad sub- stantiam.

I take the term oxy, substantia, in this passage to reflect the Arabic dhat, i.e., the Greek r6 rL a-rt, rather than the Arabic jauhar, i.e., the Greek oboia, and accordingly Averroes' passage here may be taken to reflect the following passage in Aristotle's Metaphysics VII, 4, 1030a, 17-23: "'Definition,' like the essence of a thing (Tr rl arT), has several meanings, for the essence of a thing in one sense signifies substance (obata) and the individual thing, but in another sense signifies each of the categories, quantity,

quality, and the like. For as 'being' (r goartv)belongs to all things, though not in the same sense, but to one sort of thing primarily and to others consequently, so also 'es- sence' (r6 ri &krw)belongs to substance absolutely but to the other categories in a sort of way." That the term substantia in this passage of Averroes cannot be taken in its literal sense is quite evident from the context.




ipsam ,inipnil


:) an,'


n,n',, r'rt



O''nl'i mninDDID


(2) Terms applied to things according to the same order.5' (3) Terms applied to things according to the relation of

analogy, such, e.g., as the term "principle' in its application to

the 'heart' of an animal, the 'foundation' of a wall, and the

'upper end' of a road.52

(4) Terms applied to things according to a relation of dif- ference, such, e.g., as the term 'vinaceous' in its application to a bunch of grapes and to the color of a face.53 By this type of ambiguous term Averroes undoubtedly means the same as that which Algazali in his Mi'ydr al-'llm, p. 44, describes as the ap- plication of a term to two things according to a difference of

and slightness' and illustrates by the example of

'whiteness' in its application to ivory and a crown.54 As to what justification Averroes had in including this kind of terms under ambiguous terms, we shall discuss it in connection with Maimonides. Averroes' classification, on the whole, as will have been no- ticed, is, with the exception of the inclusion of analogy, only a different arrangement of the elements which we have already

met previously in Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Algazali and the origin of which in Aristotle we have already accounted for. The inclusion of analogy, however, requires some attention. In


51Et earum sunt, quarum comparatio








ad ipsam est in gradu uno.

.nnr i DInD,n'n't n, onm

iDH' I H nrnnn1ra