Universal Categories are in Jeopardy

Species Homo sapiens, genus Homo, family, Hominid, primate order and mammalian class, animal kingdom, Eukarya domain. In these taxonomic categories are the 117 billion members of our species who were born on Earth

3 min readNov 18, 2021


Adapted from Brandenads

“Welcome back to Jeopardy! folks. We will play a second round, and it’s called the Double Jeopardy! round.”

Aristotle defined ten abstract and general notions, the Universals, the first principles from which the real is known and understood. The Substance is supreme, referent, independent, first, previous. What we know through the senses. It is the being that exists in itself. The other categories are given or exist in the substance as affections or accidents of this: the quantity, the quality, the relationship, the action, the passion, the place, the time, the situation and the habit.

The category is a ‘class that results from a classification of people or things according to a criterion or hierarchy’ (DRAE, 2021). They are ‘the fundamental logical concepts that reflect the links and the most general and substantial connections of reality’ (Marxist Philosophical Dictionary, 1946). They are ‘the different ways in which a predicate can be attributed to a subject’. They are ways of being because all attribution must refer to the existing reality (Organon).

Homo sapiens defines reality and people and things are classified and located in it according to their qualities and conditions. Thus, the categories are directives of logical thought as points of view, but always referred to the finite entity and always find their correlate in reality. For this reason, they are general aspects of being and configure the very structure of being. That is why categories are the elementary and necessary forms for being to “be”, and their logical aspect will always be the faithful reflection of what the Universe is in itself, of how it is really configured.

So, people are defined as good, bad and mediocre. Thus, life is classified as hard, beautiful or simply life is. Online games are free, freemium or Premium. Culture is local, central, global, or glocal. In sports you can win, lose or draw. In societies there are rich and poor, anonymous and acquaintances, cunning as snakes and prudent as doves. There are loud and shy individuals. All this coding or ordering based on a single species: Homo sapiens. And if we question all this, what? Categories are reconfigured as Tetris pieces that don’t fit together but evolve.

In “The Game of Life”, sooner or later, the category of the Substance, on which the affections are based, will be broken. At present the custom of studying, marrying, working, having children and retiring, slowly imploded one by one and society was ‘reordered’ and decided to advance six boxes, breaking the norms, customs and the existing state of affairs (status quo). The story stopped being a respectable wise teacher who taught and became an annoying and insignificant old woman who makes progress uncomfortable.

What are the new categories that emerged? On what Substance do they base their compositions? How long until History is a bad word or a modifiable mechanism to accommodate the present? When will the round peg in a square hole will be the new norm for Tetris? What will that new enigmatic lucidity be like?




Writer. Pic of abuelo (c.1930)