Aristotle’s “ousia”: between substance, essence and nontranslatability


  • Oleksii Panych Academic and Publishing Association “Duh i Litera”


οÙσία, metaphysics, ontology, essence, substance, category, subject, predicate


The article considers the meaning of Aristotle’s οÙσία in the two key texts (“Categories” 1-5 and “Metaphysics-Z”) and then asks what is the best option for rendering οÙσία in Ukrainian in this philosophical context. Translations “essence” and “substance” are equally unsuccessful due to their inadmissible one-sidedness, and also because they both impose on Aristotle the problems of post-Aristotelian philosophy. Contextual translation corrects this one-sidedness at the expense of total loss of the original Aristotle’s term in the translated text. This solution is admissible for an analytical description, but hardly for translation of Aristotle’s texts. In Ukrainian, there is no lexical unit that would fit for translation of οÙσία as semantic neologism. Rendering οÙσία by transliteration («усія», following the precedents of Ukrainian «логос», «категорія», «агора» etc.) seems to be the least traumatic solution for translation and commentaries to Aristotle’s texts.

Author Biography

Oleksii Panych, Academic and Publishing Association “Duh i Litera”

candidate of sciences in philology, doctor of sciences in philosophy, leading research fellow


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How to Cite

Panych, O. (2017). Aristotle’s “ousia”: between substance, essence and nontranslatability. Filosofska Dumka, (5), 33–49. Retrieved from






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