Full Text


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


A ncient G reek philosophy, metaphysics [Greek, substance, essence, entity, reality, from ousa , the singular feminine participle of einai , to be; the term is closely linked to on , the neutral participle of einai] Although Plato used on and ousia synonymously, Aristotle classified different kinds of being and used ousia for on (being) in its first sense, namely, ultimate reality. In the Categories , Aristotle defined ousia as the ultimate subject that underlies every-thing else. According to this test, a sensible individual is primary ousia , while species and genus are secondary ousiai. In the Metaphysics, ousia is the focal meaning of being, but it is divided into form, matter , and the composite of matter and form. If ousia were still determined by the subject criterion , matter would be the primary subject and hence primary ousia. But Aristotle held this to be impossible, and presented the separation (independent existence) of substance and its status as a this ( tode ti ) as more important criteria for deciding what is ousia. According to these new criteria, form is ousia in the primary sense, with composites of form and matter being ousia in a derivative sense. Species and genus, which are secondary ousia in the Categories , are rejected as ousiai in the Metaphysics. This has given rise to the problem of explaining the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top