• Ignacio Angelelli


After a brief reference to Frege’s distinction between Merkmal (mark) and Eigenschaft (property) of a concept (5.1), the philosophical significance of this distinction is pointed out, first, in general (5.2) and secondly, in the particular cases of the first antepredicamental rule (5.3) and the so-called “triplex status naturae” (5.4). Higher predicates could not be added easily to the standard Aristotelian predication theory (5.32) and they seem to have had a tendency to “descend” to the first-level predicates (5.5).


High Predicate Traditional Philosophy Predication Theory Modern Sense Philosophical Significance 
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  1. 1.
    “Mark” and “property”; for the translation, “Merkmal” = “mark”cf. my note in Birjukov [1], glossary.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    §In addition BGGE, p. 201; UBR, p. 9. The distinction is also mentioned in GRL, § 88, SUB, 42, GRG I, p. XIV (where “psychologism”–the word is not used–is said to be a reason why logicians did not make Frege’s distinction); cf. following note.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ich vergleiche die einzelnen Merkmale eines Begriffes den Steinen, aus denen ein Haus besteht…“ (UBR, p. 9). ”Ich kann eine Vorstellung von einem schweren Geschoße haben. Diese enthält dann als Teilvorstellung die der Geschwindigkeit. Diese Teilvorstellung ist aber nicht Eigenschaft der Gesamtvorstellung, ebenso wenig wie Deutschland Eigenchaft Europas ist“ (GED, p. 70). Of course, Frege says that marks are ”logische Teile“ (UGG, p. 373). But it should be observed how persistent Frege is in speaking of marks as composing concepts. Cf. GRL, § 53, GRG I, p. 3, 24.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cf. Becker [1] (first Unters.); Cornford [1] (the structure of the world of forms), etc.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kant [3], pp. 204, 205.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    In the 16th century Caietanus gives careful definitions combining the analysis of a concept into its marks with the subordination (UO) of concepts. Caietanus [1], proe.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Leibniz [1], V, p. 18.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kant [2], Einleitung,VIII.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    A traditional textbook (19th century) says: “… L’idée inadequate nous present l’objet au moyen de caracteres qui ne suffisent pas à nous le faire distinguer de toute autre… par example si je me represente le poisson comme un animal qui nage” (Mercier [1], p. 83, italics ours). It may be presumed that le poisson or l’objet are those natures,typical of traditional philosophy, which are neutral with respect to singularity and universality. I would not assert, however, that Frege was exactly the first in introducing the distinction mark (of a concept)-property (of an individual falling under that concept). Höfler [1], 15, 21 (first ed., 1890) introduces practically the same distinction, without indicating his sources. Eisler [2] article “Merkmal”, gives as the central meaning something close to Frege’s distinction; the same applies with respect to some of the other reported meanings (Külpe, Honecker). In the ‘80’s a disciple of Brentano said: “Im übrigen ist der Terminus ”Merkmal“ einer von denjenigen, über dessen Anwendung eine Einigung unter den Logikern noch herbeizuführen ist...” (Marty [1], p. 214).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cf., for instance, Trendelenburg [1], pp. 72–73 (in particular note 2). Commenting on Aristotle, Trendelenburg says: “Der Theil des ganzen Begriffes ist das Merkmal.” But, at the very most, this implies the Fregean distinction between being a mark of a concept and being a property of the individual falling under that concept, not the distinction between a mark of a concept and a property of the concept. Trendelenburg, in agreement with traditional standards, holds in fact that a mark of a concept is a property of the concept: “… das Merkmal als ein Begriff des Begriffes…” (p. 73). “Und jedes Merkmal eines Begriffs darf von ihm ausgesagt werden” (Mauthner [1], III, p. 360). A similar distinction is that of “praedicatio intrinseca” and “extrinseca”, an example of the latter being “animal est genus” (Signoriello [1], “praedicatio”). Of course, there may be incidental or isolated distinctions coinciding with that of Frege (cf. Section 5. 44 ).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Aristotle [1.1], lb, 10. It should be observed that Aristotle [3.1] does not translate the essential phrase “as of a subject”.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Aristotle [1.1], 3b, 4.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Man predicated of this man and animal of man; therefore, animal is predicated of this man.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Cf. Section 5.34.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cf. Section 1.2.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cf. Section 4.3.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Cf. Section 5.4.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Aristotle [5].Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Man-himself“ (Aristotle [3.1]) or ”ipse homo“ (Pacius [1]).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pacius sums up the Aristotelian text in the following way: “Rei proprium convenire debet etiam ideae, non quatenus est idea simpliciter, sed quatenus illius rei est idea. Hinc refutatur proprium, si ideae non convenit. Confirmatur, si ideae convenit, quatenus est illius rei, cui proprium attribuitur, idea” (Pacius [1], p. 685).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Aristotle [2].Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Cf. Tricot’s interesting note in Aristotle [2.1], II, p. 737. Bonitz’s commentary is partially quoted there; it is interesting because it uses the Latin term “nota” to designate those “elements” which make up an Idea (biped, animal in the case of man). Frege’s “Merkmal” is the exactly corresponding word in German.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Aristotle [2].Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    I follow Ross in Aristotle [2], II, p. 197.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Pp. 80–81.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
  27. 27.
    rtveç Se dnoeofot (ibid.,p. 52, 1.9).Google Scholar
  28. 28.
  29. 29.
  30. 30.
  31. 31.
  32. 32.
    Anonymous [1], p. 7.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Petrus Hispanus [1], 7.45; also 6.06.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Alcorta [1], p. 14.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Aristotle [3.2], I, p. 57 note.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Duns Scotus [2].Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ubi notandum, quod haec regula habet veritatem quando est praedicatio essentialis superioris de inferiori. Et hoc notatur per illud quod dicitur “ut de subiecto”. Et ideo si arguatur: Sortes est homo, homo est species, ergo sortes est species, non valet, quia cum species sit secunda intentio et ens rationis non praedicatur essentialiter de homine“ (Nicolaus Dorbelli [1]).Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Tonquedec [1] (p. 546 below): “Dire: ”Si A est attribut de tout B,et B attribut de tout r, A est attribut de tout F“ [.:.] c’est dire équivalemment: ”Tout ce qui s’affirme de l’attribut devra s’affirmer du sujet“.” Joseph [1], on the contrary, affirms that the antepredicamental rule is not the dictum de omni (p. 50). Of course, these are but two examples.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Husserl [1], I, § 41.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kant [2], § 63.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Cf. Section 7.56.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lask [1], (p. 120): “Dann kommt man immer, wie jetzt rekapituliert werden mag, zu folgenden Substitutionen: Sein ist Kategorie, Kategorie gilt, also Kategorie ist ein Gelten, folglich ist auch Sein ein Gelten.”Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    De Wulf [1], I, n. 187.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Essentiae vero rerum aut sunt in ipsis rebus, aut sunt in intellectu; unde habent tres respectus: unus respectus essentiae est secundum quod ipsa est non relata ad aliquid tertium esse, nec ad id quod sequitur earn secundum quod ipsa est sic. Alius respectus est secundum quod est in his singularibus. Et alius secundum quod est in intellectu“ (Avicenna [1], Logica,f. 2b).Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    At enim inquiunt, hominem, et caetera huiusmodi, tribus modis esse posse, et tria quodammodo esse habere, unum in mente et cognitione nostra, quod nuncupant esse mentale, sive esse cognitum; alterum in singularibus et individuis suis, quod votant esse existentiae, sive esse fundamentale; tertium, ut ipsi loquuntur, in se et in natura, sive essentia sive quidditate sua, quod appellant esse essentiae, sive esse quidditatis.… Nam ego quidem probe intelligo quid sit esse in mente et cognitione nostra, et quid sit esse in singularibus et individuis, sed quid sit esse in se, et in natura sive essentia sive quidditate sua prorsus non intelligo; ac nec eos quidem qui hunc tertium essendi modum finxerunt, satis arbitror intellexisse, quid comminiscerentur…“ (Nizolius [1], Lib. 1, cap. VII).Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Avicenna [1], Logica,f. 12a, below.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    For example: “Diffinitio enim equinitatis est praeter diffinitionem universalitatis. Nec universalitas continetur in diffinitione equinitatis. Equinitas etenim habet diffinitionem que non eget universalitate. Sed est cui accidit universalitas. Unde ipsa equinitas non est aliquid nisi equinitas tantum. Ipsa enim ex se nec est multa nec unum nec est existens in his sensibilibus nec in anima, nec est aliquid horum potentia vel effectu, ita ut hoc contineatur intra essentiam equinitatis” (Avicenna [1], Metaphysics, f. 86c, below).Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Where animal is a predicate of man,and the latter a predicate of Socrates,i.e., where animal is a predicate of a predicate (cf. Section 4.3).Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Caietanus [l], n. 75 (pp. 117–118), is a remarkable text for showing how all these historical motivations are at work, and actually come into conflict. An Aristotelian logician, who already employs the expression “predicate of predicate” for class-inclusion, and who also has some interest in higher predicates in the true sense, begins by having to remove an objection. As Caietanus says (commenting on Aquinas [3]): “In hac parte tertia capituli huius talem obiectionem ex supradictis excludere intendit: quia quod praedicatur de praedicato praedicatur et de subjecto; sed species praedicatur de homine, quod est praedicatum respectu Sortis: ergo species praedicatur de Sorte…”Google Scholar
  50. 50.
  51. 51.
    This argument will be repeated down through the centuries; to appreciate its influence, it suffices to remember that it appears in Aquinas [3], p. 27 (cap. III): .. si enim communitas esset de intellectu hominis, tune in quolibet inveniretur humanitas inveniretur communitas, et hoc falsum est quia in Socrate non invenitur communitas aliqua…“ Perhaps already Alfarabi [1], p. 111. De Wulf [2] (Chap. III, sect. III, § 5: ”La théorie des universaux et le problème de l’individuation“) includes rich references to the ”triplex respectus“, and in particular that the Avicennian argument ”is an idea expressed many times in the Summa and Quodlibeta of Henry of Ghent.“ Cf. Gomez Caffarena [1].Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Suarez [1], VI, sect. III, 6. Cf. De Wulf, [2] p. 207.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    We give Gilson’s paraphrase: “Or non seulement il est indifférent à la nature qu’elle existe dans l’intellect ou dans un être particulier, donc qu’elle soit universelle ou singulière, mais même si on la prend telle qu’elle existe dans l’intellect, elle ne possède pas immédiatement et de soi l’universalité. Sans doute l’universalité lui appartient alors en vertu de notre manière de la concevoir, mais l’universalité ne fait pas pour cela partie de son concept premier;…” (Gilson [2], p. 450).Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    For instance, p. 154. Cf. note 38.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    P. 163 note: “L’essence humaine est affirmable de plusieurs individus, mais cette propriété ne convient qu’à elle, et non aux individus où elle se réalise. On affirme des individus l’essence, et non l’affirmabilité”. This is “Merkmal-Eigenschaft”.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Speaking of properties (essences), Albertus Magnus says: “Accipitur enim ali-quando secundum quod est absoluta per intellectum a suis appellatis, sicut quando dicitur, homo praedicatur de pluribus: nihil enim est in appellatis ipsis quod de pluribus praedicetur; tale enim praedicatum contingit formae, ita quod non contingit appellatis (Albertus Magnus [1], Lib. 7, tract. 2, cap. 1, italics ours). Why is it necessary to stress that a higher property is not a mark? See also Suarez [1], VI, sect. 2, 10. ”Unitas universalis“ and ”unitas formalis“ are characterized by the fact that the former does not ”pass“ to the individuals, while the latter does. Cf. ibid.,VI, 3, 1. Leibniz [1], IV, p. 120 (”Defensio Trinitatis…“) regards the suppositiones as a device for avoiding the ”falling down“ of higher predicates: ”Hoc principio adhibito, Scholasticorum taediosis circa suppositiones praeceptis carere possumus. V.g. “animal est genus, Petrus est animal, ergo Petrus est genus”. Respondeo; majorem non esse universalem, neque enim is qui est animal est genus“ (italics ours). Again, genus is not a mark of animal. Incidentally, also the ”suppositio naturalis“ (cf. Petrus Hispanus [1], 6.04) should be understood within the context of the triplex respectus; otherwise it certainly appears unclear (cf. A. Church, in Runes [l], ”suppositio personalis“)Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ignacio Angelelli
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TexasUSA

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