Homonymous and representations

When things have only a name in common and the definition of being which corresponds to the name is different, they are called homonymous. Thus, for example, both a man and a picture are animals. These have only a name in common and the definition of being which corresponds to the name is different; for if one is to say what being an animal is for each of them, one will give two distinct definitions.

Aristotle’s Categories

What does Aristotle mean by things having a name in common? He gave the example of a man and a picture (presumably of a man) being animals, that is, the physical being man and the representation of a man are both also animals. But this would be shorthand. For a man is an animal, and a picture is a representation of an animal. Just because a man is upright and two-legged and the representation is also of a figure who is upright and two-legged does not make it a homonymous, of different definition of beings. When you purchase a portrait you are obviously not purchasing that person but a representation of that person. The person and the painting or photograph are two objects.

Aristotle is talking about how words work. The book is called “Categories” not things or some other title. And as a corpus linguist words are their own domain of study, separate from their concepts or physical objects they represent.