Institutional Scholarship

Genus and differentia : reconciling unity in definition

TriCollege Digital Repository

Title: Genus and differentia : reconciling unity in definition
Author: Vogler, Brian
Advisor: Kosman, Aryeh
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Philosophy
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 161620 bytes66394 bytes
Issue Date: 2004
Abstract: Aristotle argues in the Metaphysics that substances are essentially one, yet their definitions consist of two terms: a genus and a differentia. In this essay, I develop two theories that solve the problem of unity within genus-differentia definitions. I argue first that the genus on an analogical theory would be identical to the differentia. In this way, the definition is one term because the genus is resolved into the differentia. I then give a second theory on which the genus is univocal. On this theory, the genus is understood as a potentiality on which differentiae act to determine the genus as a species, i.e. as the definition of a thing. In this way, the genus and differentia are the species just as matter and form are primary substances.
Subject: Substance (Philosophy)
Subject: Philosophy
Terms of Use:
Permanent URL:

Files in this item

Files Description Size Format
2004VolgerG.pdf Thesis 157.8Kb PDF
2004_Vogler_release.pdf ** Archive Staff Only ** 82.01Kb PDF


Vogler, Brian. "Genus and differentia : reconciling unity in definition". 2004. Available electronically from

This item appears in the following Collection(s) Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as


Advanced Search


My Account