Isagoge: Chapter 5 — Of Accident

Here’s what Porphyry has to say about the term accident:

Accident is that which is present and absent without the destruction of its subject. It receives a two-fold division, for one kind of it is separable, but the other inseparable, e. g. to sleep is a separable accident, but to be black happens inseparably to a crow and an Ethiopian; we may possibly indeed conceive a white crow, and an Ethiopian casting his colour, without destruction of the subject.

They also define it thus; accident is that which may be present and not present to the same thing; also that which is neither genus, nor difference, nor species, nor property, yet is always inherent in a subject.

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone reading this blog. However, this is a reasonable place to mention something I learned yesterday, as I continue to work through Maritain’s Introduction to Philosophy: the term accident has a slightly different meaning in logic than in metaphysics. In logic, accident is one of the five predicables, along with genus, difference, species, and property; in metaphysics, as I understand it, the term includes the logical accidents, but also the logical properties.

Comments are closed.