Organon F

Volume 26, May 2019, Issue 2, Pages 186–206

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Research Article

Categories and the Language of Metaphysics

Mirco Sambrotta


The purpose of this paper is to better understand what ontologists are doing when they ask questions about the categories of the world. I will take Cumpa’s attempts to find out the fundamental structure of the world as a case-study. In one of his latest paper (Cumpa 2014), he conceives the classical ontological question about the existence of the fundamental categories of the world (what are the fundamental categories of the world?) as a question about the category able to unify the two Sellarsian images of the world: the manifest and scientific images, considered as two different languages. According to him, the only category with such an explanatory power is the category of ‘facts’ (or ‘state of affairs’): the fundamental category of what he calls ‘the metaphysical language.’ I will argue that if Cumpa takes the latter to be a broader language or framework, in Carnap’s terms, common to both the ordinary and the scientific ones, then his proposal turns out to be rather problematic (as they are ultimately ‘incommensurable’). On the other hand, if he understands it as external to both of them, then his solution ends up being meaningless and devoid of any cognitive content, with at best a practical character and/or an expressive function.


Categorial ontology; sortalism; ontological disputes; scientific image; manifest image.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)


Mirco Sambrotta


University of Granada


Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, University of Granada, Campus de la Cartuja, 18011 Granada, Spain


About this article


9 May 2018


2 October 2018

Published online

14 March 2019


Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as


Sambrotta, M. (2019). Categories and the Language of Metaphysics. Organon F, 26(2), 186–206.


Sambrotta, Mirco. 2019. "Categories and the Language of Metaphysics." Organon F 26 (2): 186–206.


Sambrotta, M. (2019). Categories and the Language of Metaphysics. Organon F, 26(2), pp. 186–206.

Copyright information

© Mirco Sambrotta

Response page

The above URL is linked with the article's response page. The response page is a permanent location that is associated with the article's DOI number.

This article is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Institute of Philosophy
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Klemensova 19
813 64 Bratislava
Slovak Republic
(+421 2) 5292 1215
FAX (+421 2) 5292 1215

Organon F takes part on the long-term preservation of the digital cultural heritage carried out by the University Library in Bratislava.