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Ousia ( ancient Greek οὐσία ousía , also transcribed as usia , "being", "essence", literally "beingness") is a central concept of ancient Greek ontology . It is a with the past participle on ( "being") etymologically related noun .

The translation with “ substance ” is common. But it is problematic because it only reflects part of the spectrum of meanings of ousia . In general, the term refers to being from the point of view of its constancy and to the “essence” or “nature” of something as the constant factor that establishes a permanent or time-independent identity. The contrast to ousia is formed by changeable characteristics, the appearance or disappearance of which does not affect the identity of the wearer.

Origin and history of the term

The derivation from a root with the meaning "to be" is considered certain, but the etymological development can only be reconstructed hypothetically. The oldest documented meaning of ousia is " fortune ", "property". This use of the word occurs already with Herodotus and still in the Roman Empire . In particular, the word was used to designate real estate. At the end of the 5th century BC It also had the meaning "reality" or "real existence".

In the philosophical terminology ousia was introduced as a technical term in the 4th century BC. Introduced by Plato . He used it to designate the ontologically stable, unchangeable and essential, whereby he was able to tie in with the idea of ​​permanence associated with property. In this philosophical sense, ousia expresses that something has the property of being “being” in the sense of a constant being. This is what the literal translation "beingness" refers to. Since Plato only means a true being in the sense of an unchangeable reality, ousia can also be translated as "reality". At the same time, Plato also uses ousia to designate the essence of a thing (that which gives the thing its permanent identity). Depending on the respective context, Plato's ousia can be translated in some cases with “being” (beingness), in others with “essence”. In addition, other meanings occur with him, from which it can be seen that the philosophical use of words was not yet clearly established in the initial phase.

Even with Aristotle , a natural constancy is what defines the ousia . For him an ousia is a single thing that exists as such on its own. This existence is made possible by the presence of a stable substrate that guarantees the constant identity of the thing despite all changes in variable properties. In this substratum, which underlies the existence of the individual thing, its ousia consists ; the thing as such is the substratum. Therefore, even in ancient times, ousia was rendered in Latin with substantia , a noun that belongs to the verb substare , which means “to be present beneath (or at the same time)”, “to underlie”. The German foreign word “substance” is derived from this.

Substantia expresses that something is underlying, but does not encompass the entirety of what can be meant by ousia in Greek . It is not a faithful translation, because substantia does not reveal the connection between ousia and being. Even in ancient times, another literal Latin translation was used, which refers to the basic meaning "being": essentia , derived from the verb esse ("being"). The made-up word essentia was created specifically for the purpose of reproducing ousia . Its creator was Cicero , as Seneca reports. In late antiquity , some authors ( Augustine , Calcidius ) still used essentia as a synonym for the more common term substantia . Under the influence of the Aristotle translator Boethius , however, a distinction became established that was decisive for the use of the term by medieval and early modern philosophers. According to this understanding, substantia is the standard translation of ousia and expresses its substratum aspect; essentia means “essence” (“wasness”) and stands for the characteristic nature of a thing, which gives it the defining features and thus a certain being. Substantia relates to the being that belongs to the individual thing as such, essentia to the species and generic nature that the individual things exhibit due to their belonging to species and genera .

In modern literature on the history of philosophy, ousia is usually translated - depending on the context - with "being", "essence" or "substance". The common translation “substance” is also criticized as a narrowing of the meaning content; They are emphatically rejected by the philosopher Rudolf Boehm , who criticizes them as inadequate and therefore wrong. Wolfgang Schneider also thinks that “substance” does not adequately reflect the meaning of ousia . He advocates "being", the translation already used by Martin Heidegger . Hermann Schmitz considers - as far as Aristotle texts are concerned - "Wesen" to be the best translation, since the German word like the Greek word can be used both as a two-digit predicate and as a single- digit predicate .


Plato, who introduced the technical term ousia into philosophy, combines various aspects of meaning with it. In relation to the totality of the real, ousia is the characteristic “being” present in every being and common to all real, which defines the reality character of the existing things. In relation to the opposition between the unchangeable and the changeable, ousia is the being of the unchangeable as opposed to the becoming of the arising and passing phenomena. With reference to the transitory objects of sensory perception, ousia denotes that which establishes their permanent identity in change: the totality of the constant characteristics on the basis of which the objects can be defined.

Ousia in the realm of the transitory

Plato regards definition as a central task of the philosopher. It is important here to correctly and completely state those characteristics that make a thing what it is in order to distinguish it from everything else. To define a thing therefore means to determine its ousia . Whoever is able to do this has gained a correct and comprehensive knowledge of this thing and thus acquired real knowledge of it.

The ousia eins Dings X is determined by the defining features that make it possible to answer the question “What is X?” Clearly and truthfully. If we are talking about a sensually perceptible object, which as such is always subject to change, then it must be about the constant characteristics that a certain thing, as long as it exists as such, always and everywhere, and the constant about it turn off. Thus, these features cannot relate to the individual sensory object with regard to its variable special nature. Rather, they must concern that which gives the object's identity its stability: its belonging to a species. In relation to a sense object, ousia is therefore always the ousia of the species to which it belongs.

A single sensibly perceptible thing thus has no ousia of its own inherent in it , but what gives it ousia - its being and essence - is its kind. It is the actual bearer of the entire ousia . All observations that the philosopher makes on individual sense objects are only used to determine the nature of the species and genera to which these objects belong, using examples. The aim is to find out how the species and genera relate to one another within the framework of a hierarchical order. Only species and genera can be defined. Therefore, only they are possible objects of scientific knowledge.

From Plato's point of view, that which is real in the area of ​​sense perception is not that which is immediately presented to the senses - the individual sense objects - but the general given in the sense objects: the essential characteristics that they each with all other objects of the same Kind of have in common. These characteristics exist independently of the coincidental continuation or decline of the individual sensible things in which they appear. The essence of a species is a timeless fact that is not subject to any change.

For Plato, this results in a hierarchical order of the levels on which ousia occurs. The species-specific general, as the true bearer of the ousia, is generally of higher priority than what constitutes the particularity of the individual. Of ousia as a being and essence of the individual can only be spoken in so far as the individual receives from its kind its essentials, on which its existence is based. Seen in this way, the individual is a product of its kind. There is a relationship of participation ( methexis ) between the species and its individuals . The individual thing has a “share” in the essence of its kind, it is to a certain extent “involved” in the nature of the kind. The ousia of the species can only be thought of if one turns to it as such, that is, if one disregards all individual peculiarities and only looks at what is common, the entirety of the respective species-specific characteristics.

Ousia in the purely spiritual area

For Plato, species and genera are not human mental constructs, but transcendent objects, the later so-called “ Platonic ideas ”. Together they form an area that is withdrawn from sensory perception, but real and independently existing. This is of a purely spiritual nature (“ noetic ”, Latin “ intelligible ”) and can therefore only be recognized in a purely spiritual way. In Platonism , the ideas are regarded as the true being, the actual reality, their ousia is being in the actual sense. Every idea is of timeless perfection. The ousia existing in the purely spiritual realm is characterized by its unchanging perfection. Characteristics of the perfect are certainty and unity.

In relation to this area, ousia denotes the true, actual being as opposed to both becoming and non-being. The ousia is eternal, but its eternity is not conceived in terms of time; this is not about continuity, but a timeless reality. Plato uses the term ousia in this context both for the individual ideas, each of which is constituted by its own ousia - its being and essence - and for being or being itself as the totality encompassing all beings.

For Plato, a fundamental difference between the true ousia of ideas and the improper ousia of sense objects is that ideas are "in themselves" ( kath 'autá ) existing givens that exist independently of references, while changeable things only relate to being show that comes to them through their relationship to the ideas.

Plato assigns a mediating role in his ontological model of the world soul . In the dialogue Timaeus he distinguishes three types of ousia : the indivisible and always consistent ousia of the ideas that divisible ousia , which is assigned to the area of perishable body, and one produced by mixing these two types third type The mixed. Ousia is the creation myth of Timaeus the mode of being of the world soul and also of the individual souls . Thanks to its mixed character, the world soul is the mediating authority between the purely spiritual world of ideas and the material realm, the body of the cosmos. Since it encompasses the indivisible and the divisible at the same time, it has access to both areas. In their mixed ousia , however, the aspect of immutability is the primary one that is decisive for their quality. It shapes the nature of the world soul and makes it immortal and indivisible and thus belongs to the intelligible realm. The same applies to people's souls and their relationship to human bodies.

In Sophistes late dialogue , Plato attributes movement to ousia and thus to ideas. It is about the act of cognition, which does not appear to be feasible without movement. It is postulated that a movement of the ousia is necessary for a factual realization of a knowledge, because something absolutely resting is not recognizable, but in principle withdrawn from all activity, including the process of knowledge. This seems to contradict Plato's thesis that in the purely spiritual realm there is only something unchangeable. Various proposed solutions are discussed in research.

Ousia and the good

The idea of ​​the good occupies a special position . In Plato's model it is superior to all other ideas, that is, it has the highest rank in the hierarchy of things that are. Just as ideas give sense objects their ousia , the idea of ​​the good gives all other ideas their ousia . Thus the idea of ​​the good is the highest principle.

The question of whether, for Plato, the idea of ​​the good, together with the other ideas, constitutes the realm of true being, or whether it is superordinate to this realm, ie “transcendent” is very controversial in research. The research controversies mainly revolve around a passage in Plato's interpretation of his parable of the sun , where it is stated that the good is "not the ousia ", but "beyond the ousia " and surpasses it in originality and power. Here it depends on whether ousia is only meant in the sense of "being" or also of "being" and whether "beyond ousia " is to be understood in the sense of an absolute transcendence .

A number of influential historians of philosophy interpret the controversial passage in terms of the transcendence of being. According to their interpretation, the idea of ​​the good differs from all other ideas in principle in that it transcends the realm of being. Since it is the cause of the entire intelligible realm, it cannot belong to it itself, but has to be located ontologically above it; it is absolutely transcendent (“overseeing”).

Proponents of the contrary opinion believe that it is not a question of an “overbeing”, but only of a special kind of ousia that differs from that of the other ideas, or that with the ousia that is exceeded, it is only the essence, not that Being meant by ideas.


Since Plato's student Aristotle rejected the theory of ideas, his understanding of ousia differed from Platonic. Like Plato, Aristotle was also convinced that there can only be a science of the general, not of the individual. In contrast to Plato, however, he refused to accept a real area of ​​the general that existed independently of the individual sense objects and to assign the true, proper ousia to this area . While Plato only attached an ousia in the full sense to the general and the individual things only a participation in the ousia of their respective species, Aristotle, conversely, transferred the primary, original ousia to the individual things and only granted the species a secondary, derived ousia .

In his relatively early work Categories , Aristotle treated the subject differently than in the later work Metaphysics . This has led to intense debates in research about the coherence of Aristotelian teaching. Whether and, if so, to what extent the philosopher's different handling of the ousia problem in the two works reflects a change of opinion is controversial. Some historians of philosophy assume an insoluble contradiction that shows the lack of a consistent concept. Others equate only one of the two theories with the valid position of Aristotle and consider the other to be a failed attempt. There are also efforts to coherently combine the two theories. According to the current state of research, a limited revision of the original position is more likely than a radical break with it. Ilan Moradi thinks it is an evolution from “category writing” to metaphysics . Aristotle did not give up his first theory, but only supplemented and expanded it for use in a different context.

Ousia in the categories

In the “Category Writing”, Aristotle starts from the Platonic distinction between the independent being of the constant and the only related being of the changeable. In doing so, he introduces a new idea: For him , the ousia is a stable substrate that underlies the existence of a single thing ( sýnholon ) and ensures its constant identity. Variable properties, the accidentals ( symbebēkóta ), are added to this substrate . The accident, as something added, does not belong to the nature of the thing with which it is connected; it is factual, but neither necessarily nor generally present. The presence or absence of accidents is random and has no influence on the identity of the thing, since this is to be equated with its substrate, the "underlying" ( hypokeímenon ). The ousia differs from the accidental activities in that it does not allow more or less, that there is nothing contrary to it and that it can incorporate opposing accidental provisions without forfeiting its identity.

Aristotle distinguishes ten categories. Its categorization encompasses everything that can be the subject or predicate of a statement, i.e. the entirety of what can be linguistically expressed. Ousia is the first category; it is usually called the "category of substance" in the history of philosophy literature. The underlying falls under it, that is, everything that "is neither predicated of an underlying nor is in an underlying". The other nine categories include the accidental items that can be attached to an ousia (for example, quantity or quality). They are testified by an ousia or are in it. Aristotle cites the color on a body as an example. The body is as underlying ousia , the color is akzidens.

In the category writing, Aristotle takes the position that every sensually perceptible concrete individual thing is an ousia and as such is an underlying. Only One is ousia in the strict sense ( "the said primary and first and exquisite ousia "). He cites the individual human being (“this particular human being”) and the individual horse as examples. He calls the ousia of the individual things “first ousia ” in contrast to the “second ousia ”, the ousia of the genera (for example “living beings”) and species (for example “man” or “horse”). Aristotle is cautious about the assumption that genera and species are to be regarded as ousia ; he considers it plausible, but not necessary.

The first and second ousia together form the first category. But there are important differences between them. The first ousia can never function as a predicate in a judgment, the second, on the other hand, can be predicated on an underlying, a first ousia (“Socrates is a person”). The first ousia is indivisible, that is, a division would destroy the individual thing and thus the ousia . It is a unit in number. The second ousia, on the other hand, does not show such indivisibility and is stated by many individuals. The unity and indivisibility is for Aristotle as for Plato a main characteristic of the ousia in the real sense. In contrast to Plato, however, he does not locate these in general, but in the individual. He ascribes an ousia to the genera and species only insofar as they are determinations of the concrete individual things and are given with them. The being of such a determination is derived, for it is dependent on its substratum, the first ousia , and is inseparably connected with it. Without the first ousia , nothing else would exist, for without individuals there would be no genera and species. The determinations belonging to the second ousia are not irrelevant, despite their ontological subordination, because they designate the individual thing as what it is, enable its definition and thereby make it identifiable.

A genus, since it comprises several species, is further removed from the simplicity of the individual things than a species. Hence the species have a higher degree of ousia than the genera; they relate to these with regard to the ousia as the individual things relate to the species.

Ousia in metaphysics

In metaphysics , Aristotle criticizes his own determination of the ousia as the underlying; he describes it as inadequate because it is unclear and leads to equating ousia with matter ( hýlē ). In the Aristotelian system matter is the underlying of the processes; it is what remains when everything else is mentally removed. It thus exhibits one of the characteristics of ousia , and from this point of view it is expressly referred to in metaphysics as ousia , but only in a very limited sense of this term. Since matter is completely indeterminate by itself, its ousia has nothing to do with that of individual things, because an individual thing is always a certain “this something”, and matter as the utterly indeterminate does not contribute anything. Thus the determination of the ousia has to be modified if the ousia of the individual things is to be recorded. Therefore Aristotle is looking for a new approach. He no longer uses the expression "second ousia ", with which he had assigned the species and genera the status of an ousia in the category script .

As in the writing of categories, Aristotle also defines the ousia in metaphysics as the only one in the original sense and simply - that is, not on the basis of a reference to something else - beings. Here, however, he is not satisfied with pointing out the existence of the characteristics of the ousia in the individual things, but examines what constitutes the ousia in the individual things . He starts from his principle that every single thing is constituted by two principles: its specific, inherent essential form ( eídos ), which is its cause , and its matter. He resolutely denies that the ousia of individual things can be traced back to matter. He comes to the conclusion that the ousia of an individual thing consists in its essential form. For each individual thing, the essential form is what it is predicated as, and thus what is recorded in the definition and is accessible to scientific investigation. It is ousia in the original sense, but the individual thing can only be called ousia in a derived sense . While the individual thing arises and passes away, the essential form is a constant given; it is more original than the individual thing and thus ontologically primitive. In addition, individuals of the same kind are different through matter, while the essential form is indivisible and always the same. In addition, the essential form is an unconditional unity, while the individual things represent a relationship between the form and its material support. Thus the characteristics of the ousia , simplicity (disassembly) and immutability, belong to the essential forms of the species to a greater degree than to the individual things. In the species they are also given more than in the genera, since a genus consists of several species and therefore has less uniformity than a species. Thus, for Aristotle, the essential form of the species turns out to be the ousia in the proper sense. In this way he approaches the Platonic way of thinking in metaphysics . But he sticks to the rejection of the separate existence of ideas. For him there is an essential form only in the individual thing, it can only be separated from it in thought; no general can be ousia . Mathematical objects also have no ousia character.

In defining, ousia is the "what" of the object at which the definition is aimed. A species is defined with the procedure of Dihairesis (subdivision) by starting from a top genre and creating a series of terms by continuously differentiating, until one arrives at a content that cannot be further subdivided, the “last difference” with which the definition is reached is. Aristotle calls the last difference the ousia of the object of definition.

Aristotle emphasizes the primacy of the ousia over everything else; he states that it is first in every respect, both in concept and in knowledge and time. In his doctrine it is at the same time the principle of cognition and the principle of constitution of individual things, both that which is in the highest way and that which is most knowable.

The divine spirit ( nous ) is an exception to the Aristotelian rule, according to which everything being is composed of matter and essential form . It is a pure, self-existing form of being without matter, absolutely unchangeable and simply simple. Since it cannot be multiplied by matter and its individuality is based only on the essential form, the conceptual unity of the species and the numerical of the individual coincide in it. Thus, the characteristics of the ousia belong only to him to the highest possible degree.

Since Aristotle assumes various types of carriers of ousia , he distinguishes three types of being in metaphysics : the ousia of sensually perceptible, perishable individual things, such as living beings or objects made by humans, the ousia of sensually perceptible but immortal objects (heavenly bodies) and the eternal and unmoved ousia of the divine “unmoved mover”. As the ousia of a living being, Aristotle determines its soul.

To what extent Aristotle succeeded in metaphysics in submitting a consistent ousia conception that met his own requirements is disputed in research. In the effort to answer this question, various interpretive approaches compete (“predicative”, “idealistic” and “individualistic” interpretation). A main problem is that, according to Aristotle's understanding , the ousia must not be ontological, neither general nor individual. If it is general, it is affected by the criticism of the doctrine of ideas; if it is individual, it is in principle withdrawn from scientific access.

Stoics, Peripatetics and Epicureans

In the materialistic natural doctrine of Stoic philosophy there is no transcendent being and thus no archetypes in the sense of the Platonic doctrine of ideas. For the Stoics, the first ousia is the qualityless (qualitatively indeterminate) primordial matter as the material substrate of all determinations and the utterly simple thing. They also call the substratum of the individual things ousia . But they prefer the term “underlying” in their category theory. In the philosophy of the school of Epicurus , too , the ousia is understood materialistically; every simple or compound body is considered to be an "being in itself" ousia .

In the school of Peripatetics founded by Aristotle, the influential thinker Alexander von Aphrodisias uses the term ousia for the essential form as well as for matter and the individual thing constituted by these two principles. But he only assigns an independent reality to the individual physical thing. In contrast to Aristotle, he differentiates between a corporeal and an incorporeal ousia and regards the corporeal as ontological priority.


Plotinus , the founder of Neoplatonism , falls back on Plato's definition of ousia and deals with Aristotle's concept of ousia as well as with the stoic concept. He states that Aristotle only considered the realm of becoming and passing away and neglected that of unchangeable being in his theory of categories. The category ousia cannot encompass both because of the fundamental difference between the spiritual and physical modes of being. There is no definition of this category that indicates a special characteristic of being that is present in all kinds of being equally. For the spiritual realm, Plotinus arrives at a scheme of five categories, including the ousia in the real sense. For the world of the senses he also assumes five categories, including the ousia in the improper sense, which relates to what is becoming and passing.

The ousia in the real sense is the same as the Nous totality of ideas for Plotinus. Since, according to the Neo-Platonic doctrine, the nous contains everything that the observer encounters separately in the world of the senses, unseparated, it is simpler than the multiplicity of ideas and individual things. Because of this, and because the nous is that which is and is determined only through itself, it is the perfect ousia . Above the nous there is only " the one " ( to hen ) in the Neoplatonic hierarchy , which is not understood as being, but as overriding and therefore has no ousia .

The late antique Neo-Platonist Proclus discusses the ousia in connection with his theory of what exists by itself. This alone has an ousia of its own for him . Proclus determines that which is able to return to itself as existing by itself. With this he refers to the triadic structure of his doctrine of emanation (the remaining of the effect in the cause, its emergence and its turning back). In addition, in the Proclus system, the ousia itself is a component of triadic structures: the trias ousia - selfhood - otherness, which structures beings, and the trias ousia - life - nous, in which the thinking of the nous, its reflection on itself, unfolds .

The Neoplatonic understanding of ousia is also asserted in the Aristotle commentary by the late antique Neoplatonists of the Ammonios school . They try to bring the Platonic and the Aristotelian ousia concept into harmony by presenting the priority of the “first” ousia (individual things), which Aristotle postulates in the categorization, as an expression of a perspective based only on knowledge. It only appears “for us” that the ousia of the individual things is recognized first, but ontologically the ousia of the transcendent ideas takes priority.

Gnosis and Christian Theology

In the literature of the ancient Gnostics , ousia was a common term. There was much talk of ousia, especially in the Valentine Gnosis . Gnostic authors understood ousia to be an underlying, passive substance that absorbs forms. They differentiated between a spiritual, a spiritual and a material world and assigned each of the three areas its own ousia . Each ousia is the substrate for its entities in its area . All three types of ousia are present in man.

The term ousia is attested by the church fathers from the 2nd century onwards. They used it as part of their intense polemics against the Gnostics. Hippolytus of Rome and Clement of Alexandria , who dealt with Aristotle's writing of categories, came across the Aristotelian ousia concept. Hippolytus rejected the theory of categories; Clemens took it up and used it for his theological purposes. Clemens was the first church writer to describe the Christian God as an ousia in the sense of Aristotle's use of the term. He distinguished this ousia from properties of God such as omnipotence, goodness and wisdom, because he viewed these properties as accidents. He was of the opinion that the divine ousia was already accessible to Christians during earthly life.

In the ancient theological debates about the doctrine of the Trinity , ousia underwent a change in meaning. Until the second half of the 4th century, ousia was synonymous with hypostasis ( hypostasis , "way of being") in this context . In the 3rd century, for example, the church writer Origen attributed their own ousia or hypostasis to God the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit . In contrast to Origen, the participants in the Council of Nicaea in 325 emphasized the divine unity, which is shown in the fact that there is only one ousia of the Trinity. Like the older theological usage of the term, they did not differentiate between ousia and hypostasis , but used these terms synonymously. They stated in their creed that Christ was begotten “from the ousia of the Father” and proclaimed the anathema about those who say the Son of God is “from a hypostasis or ousia other than that of the Father”. In the second half of the 4th century, however, there was a change in terminology: the church fathers, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzen , attached importance to a distinction between the two terms. By ousia they understood the common, the general being, and by hypostasis the individual and particular. In relation to the three elements of the Trinity, this meant the acceptance of a single ousia , but three hypostases. In the West, the scholar Marius Victorinus knew and accepted this distinction. The church father Jerome was of a different opinion ; he insisted on equating ousia and hypostasis . In the early 5th century, however, the new use of the term was already common in Greek terminology; henceforth the principle applied that in the one ousia of the deity there were three essentially identical hypostases.


General overview displays

General examinations


  • Hermanus Hendricus Berger: Ousia in de dialogues van Plato. Een terminologically onderzoek. Leiden, Brill 1961
  • Rainer Marten : ΟΥΣΙΑ in Plato's thinking (= monographs on philosophical research , volume 29). Hain, Meisenheim 1962


Church fathers

  • Martin R. von Ostheim: Ousia and Substantia. Investigations on the concept of substance among the Vorizean church fathers. Schwabe, Basel 2008, ISBN 978-3-7965-2446-2

Web links


  1. Ilan Moradi: The Evolution of the Aristotelian Substance Theory , Würzburg 2011, p. 36f.
  2. References in Wilhelm Pape : Greek-German hand dictionary , 3rd edition, Volume 2, Graz 1954 (reprint), p. 420; Henry George Liddell , Robert Scott : A Greek-English Lexicon , 9th Edition, Oxford 1940, pp. 1274f. See Ilan Moradi: The Evolution of the Aristotelian Substance Theory , Würzburg 2011, p. 38f.
  3. On the beginnings of the conceptual history see Charles H. Kahn: The Verb 'be' in Ancient Greek (= The Verb 'be' and its synonyms , Volume 6), Dordrecht 1973, pp. 457–462; Rudolf Hirzel : Οὐσία. In: Philologus 72, 1913, pp. 42-64; André Motte, Pierre Somville (ed.): Ousia dans la philosophie grecque des origines à Aristote , Louvain-la-Neuve a. a. 2008, pp. 15-43.
  4. Ilan Moradi: The Evolution of the Aristotelian Substance Theory , Würzburg 2011, pp. 43–45.
  5. Andreas Graeser : Aristotle and the problem of substantiality and being. In: Freiburg Journal for Philosophy and Theology 25, 1978, pp. 120–141, here: 124–129; Michael-Thomas Liske: ousia / essence, substance . In: Otfried Höffe (Ed.): Aristoteles-Lexikon , Stuttgart 2005, pp. 410–419, here: 410; Christoph Horn, Christof Rapp: ousia. In: Christoph Horn, Christof Rapp (ed.): Dictionary of ancient philosophy , Munich 2002, pp. 320–324, here: 322.
  6. For the history of the concept of substantia in antiquity, see Curt Arpe: Substantia. In: Philologus 94, 1941, pp. 65-78.
  7. Seneca, Epistulae 58, 6. The ancient evidence on the origin of the term and the history of the term are compiled in the Thesaurus linguae Latinae , Volume 5, Part 2, Leipzig 1931–1953, Sp. 862–864.
  8. For the history of the concept of essentia, see Ernst Vollrath : Essenz, essentia . In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy , Volume 2, Basel 1972, Sp. 753–755.
  9. Rudolf Boehm: The basic and the essential , Den Haag 1965, pp. 12-15.
  10. Wolfgang Schneider: ΟΥΣΙΑ and ΕΥΔΑΙΜΟΝΙΑ , Berlin 2001, p. 128f. and note 309.
  11. ^ Hermann Schmitz: Aristotle's theory of ideas , Volume 1, Part 1, Bonn 1985, pp. 11f., 24.
  12. Overviews are provided by Jens Halfwassen: Substance; Substance / accident. I. Antiquity. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy , Volume 10, Basel 1998, Sp. 495–507, here: 496f. and Christoph Horn, Christof Rapp: ousia. In: Christoph Horn, Christof Rapp (ed.): Dictionary of ancient philosophy , Munich 2002, pp. 320–324, here: 321.
  13. See on Plato's understanding of knowledge Michael Erler : Platon (= Hellmut Flashar (Hrsg.): Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie . Die Philosophie der Antike , Volume 2/2), Basel 2007, pp. 360-370.
  14. On the eternity of the ousia, see Rainer Marten: ΟΥΣΙΑ in Plato's thinking , Meisenheim 1962, pp. 24–30.
  15. ^ Plato, Timaeus 34b – 37c.
  16. Plato, Sophistes 248a – 251a.
  17. See also Hans-Eberhard Pester: Platons Bewegungste Usia, Wiesbaden 1971, pp. 17–175.
  18. A summary of relevant statements by Plato is offered by Thomas Alexander Szlezák : The idea of ​​the good in Plato's Politeia , Sankt Augustin 2003, p. 111f.
  19. Greek presbeía " priority of age", also translated as "dignity".
  20. Plato, Politeia 509b.
  21. Michael Erler offers overviews of the extensive research literature : Platon (= Hellmut Flashar (ed.): Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie. Die Philosophie der Antike , Volume 2/2), Basel 2007, pp. 402–404 and Rafael Ferber : Ist the idea of ​​the good is not transcendent or is it? Again Plato's ΕΠΕΚΕΙΝΑ ΤΗΣ ΟΥΣΙΑΣ . In: Damir Barbarić (ed.): Plato about the good and justice , Würzburg 2005, pp. 149–174, here: 149–156.
  22. A summary of this position is offered by Thomas Alexander Szlezák: The idea of ​​the good in Plato's Politeia , Sankt Augustin 2003, p. 67f.
  23. ^ Matthias Baltes : Is the Idea of ​​the Good in Plato's Republic Beyond Being? In: Matthias Baltes: Dianoemata. Small writings on Plato and Platonism , Stuttgart 1999, pp. 351–371; Karl-Wilhelm Welwei : Beyond Being? For οὐσία in Plato's sun allegory Politeia 509b . In: Karl-Wilhelm Welwei: Polis and Arché , Stuttgart 2000, pp. 306-310; Wilhelm Luther : Truth, light, seeing and knowing in the parable of the sun from Plato's Politeia. An excerpt from the light metaphysics of the Greeks . In: Studium Generale, Volume 18, Issue 7, 1965, pp. 479–496, here: 487f .; Luc Brisson : L'approche traditional de Platon par HF Cherniss . In: Giovanni Reale, Samuel Scolnicov (eds.): New Images of Plato , Sankt Augustin 2002, pp. 85–97; Theodor Ebert : Opinion and Knowledge in Plato's Philosophy , Berlin 1974, pp. 161–173. Rafael Ferber defends the opposite position: Isn't the idea of ​​the good transcendent or is it? Again Plato's ΕΠΕΚΕΙΝΑ ΤΗΣ ΟΥΣΙΑΣ . In: Damir Barbarić (ed.): Plato on the good and justice , Würzburg 2005, pp. 149–174, here: 154–160.
  24. Dirk Fonfara informs about the research history: The Ousia teachings of Aristotle. Studies on category writing and metaphysics , Berlin 2003, pp. 3–14 and Ilan Moradi: Die Evolution der Aristotelischen Substance theory , Würzburg 2011, pp. 11–16. Cf. Dae-Ho Cho: Ousia and Eidos in the Metaphysics and Biology of Aristoteles , Stuttgart 2003, pp. 20-22.
  25. Ilan Moradi: The Evolution of the Aristotelian Substance Theory , Würzburg 2011, pp. 18–35.
  26. Jens Halfwassen: Substance; Substance / accident. I. Antiquity. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy , Volume 10, Basel 1998, Sp. 495–507, here: 497.
  27. Aristotle, Categories 2a11-13.
  28. Aristotle, categories 2a34–2b6.
  29. Aristotle, Categories 2a11-14.
  30. On this reluctance by Aristotle see Andrea Ermano: Substance as Existence , Hildesheim 2000, pp. 160–171.
  31. Aristotle, Categories 3b10-18.
  32. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1029a10-13.
  33. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1042a32-1042b7.
  34. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1028a30 f.
  35. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1038.
  36. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1028a29–33.
  37. Holmer Steinfath discusses the various hypotheses and their problems in detail: independence and simplicity. On the substance theory of Aristotle , Frankfurt am Main 1991.
  38. See for stoic teaching and terminology Andreas Schubert: Investigations on stoic meaning theory , Göttingen 1994, pp. 202–205; Klaus Wurm: Substance and Quality , Berlin 1973, pp. 168–181.
  39. ^ See on Plotin's theory of categories the different interpretations of Klaus Wurm: Substance and Quality , Berlin 1973, pp. 135–158 and Christoph Horn: Plotin about Being, Number and Unity , Leipzig 1995, pp. 30–148.
  40. Werner Beierwaltes : Proklos , 2nd edition, Frankfurt am Main 1979, pp. 60–71, 93–106.
  41. ^ Klaus Kremer: The concept of metaphysics in the Aristotle Commentaries of the Ammonius School , Münster 1961, pp. 56–61; Jens Halfwassen: Substance; Substance / accident. I. Antiquity. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy , Volume 10, Basel 1998, Sp. 495–507, here: 502.
  42. See on the Gnostic models Martin R. von Ostheim: Ousia and Substantia , Basel 2008, pp. 73–188.
  43. See on this reception of ousia Martin R. von Ostheim: Ousia and Substantia , Basel 2008, pp. 189–353.
  44. See Jürgen Hammerstaedt : Hypostasis . In: Reallexikon für Antike und Christianentum , Volume 16, Stuttgart 1994, Sp. 986-1035, here: 1004-1032.