Theory and History of Ontology

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  • "History Logic" and "Bibliographia" are my other websites. "Table of Contents" gives the list of the pages, for other indexes see the "Sitemap". "Modern Ontologists" contains a table with links to the pages on the most important philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries who have written on ontology. The "Search" function can be used to find a particular author or subject.




A lot of material can be found in the six volumes series: The Verb 'Be' and Its Synonyms. Philosophical and Grammatical Studies, edited by John W. M. Verhaar, Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing Co. (1966-1973).

From the Editorial Preface to the sixth volume by John W. M. Verhaar: "The present volume is the sixth of a series of studies analyzing the verb 'to be' and/or synonyms in a number of language; in contrast to preceding volumes, it is devoted to one language only: Ancient Greek. It is expected that these studies will provide some of the necessary foundational research in logic, the theory of knowledge, and ontology; and possibly in other philosophical disciplines."

Two projected volumes were never published in this series: a study on 'to be' in biblical Hebrew and biblical Greek by James Barr (*) and a concluding volume with an attempt to asses the linguistic and philosophical impact of all the contributions).

(*) On the subject see: James Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961: Chapter 4. Verbs, action and time - (d) - The Verb 'To Be' - pp. 58-71.

Table of Contents of the original edition of the sixth volume of the series, Charles H. Kahn, The Verb 'Be' in Ancient Greek (Reprinted Indianapolis, Hackett Publishing, 2003 with a new introduction)

Editorial Preface VII; Preface IX; Analytic Table of Contents XVII; Chapter I. The problem of the verb 'Be' 1; Chapter II. Subject, predicate, copula 38; Chapter III. Application of the transformational analysis to Greek 60; Chapter IV. Description of the copula uses 85; Chapter V. The theory of the copula 184; Chapter VI. The verb of existence 228; Chapter VII. The veridical use 331; Chapter VIII. The unity of the system of 'Be' in Greek 371; Appendix A. On the accent of esti and its position in the Sentence 420; Appendix B. On the theory of nominal sentence 435; Appendix C. The nominalized forms of the verb: to ón and ousía 453; Bibliography 463; Index 468.


  1. Bechtle, Gerald. 2000. "The Question of Being and the Dating of the Anonymous Parmenides Commentary." Ancient Philosophy no. 20:393-414.

    "This article was originally intended to precede the publication of my book (Bechtle 1999a) devoted to the extant fragments of the anonymous commentary on Plato's Parmenides, also known as Anonymus Taurinensis.' The aim of this article was then-and it still is now-to make the scholarly world acquainted with some of the main reasons, i.e., my view of 'the question of being', for my novel thesis of a pre-Plotinian date for this Commentary which has almost unanimously been ascribed to Porphyry. Since the thesis of the Porphyrian authorship goes back to the great French scholar P. Hadot (see in particular Hadot 1961, 1965, 1968a, and 1968b), one can say that his thesis has been generally accepted for some thirty years or, at least, it has not been seriously challenged. This fact is easily explained since neither before nor after Hadot has there been a thorough and critical examination of the evidence. Hadot's thesis concerning the identity of the author being the only serious one in more than a century since research on the Commentary first started, my idea was that probably a lot of questions had not been answered. Reconsidering all of Hadot's evidence and adding some new elements, I determined that the Commentary is very likely of pre-Plotinian date. Additional work on lamblichus and post-Plotinian Platonism negatively confirms this thesis since one can virtually exclude Iamblichus and any of the major Platonists following him as possible authors of the Commentary." p. 393

  2. Bennekom, R.van. 1984. "Existential and Other Sentences in Ancient Greek." Mnemosyne no. 37:257-263.

  3. Bolton, Robert. 1975. "Plato's Distinction between Being and Becoming." Review of Metaphysics no. 29:66-95.

    "This paper argues that important changes in Plato's conceptions of being (ousia) and becoming ( genesis) occur over the Dialogues, but that the final version of the distinction between the two remains strong enough to sustain the essentials of the theory of degrees of reality which the distinction was originally devised to expound. This position is an alternative to the predominant prevailing positions -- that Plato's views underwent no significant change, or that there was a change so radical as to force the abandonment of Plato's middle-period metaphysic. Relevant passages in the Phaedo, Republic, Theatetus, Sophist, and Philebus are fully discussed."

  4. Boman, Thorleif. 1960. Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

    Translated by Jules L. Moreau from the German Das hebräische Denken im Vergleich mit den Griechischen (second edition; first edition 1952), Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1954, with the author's revisions to January 1960.

  5. Bradshaw, David. 1999. "Neoplatonic Origins of the Act of Being." Review of Metaphysics no. 53:383-401.

  6. Brown, Lesley. 1994. "The Verb 'to Be' in Greek Philosophy: Some Remarks." In Language, edited by Everson, Stephen, 212-236. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "I examine key uses of 'to be' in Parmenides, Plato (especially Republic V and Sophist) and Aristotle. I argue against imposing modern distinctions (into predicative, existential or identity uses) on to the texts, showing that while Greek uses of einai may be partitioned into syntactically complete and incomplete (noted by Aristotle and perhaps at Sophist 255cd) the distinction was neither clear-cut nor perceived as philosophically important. I examine how these authors treated the inference from 'X is F' to 'X is' (compare that from 'X teaches French' to 'X teaches') and, more problematically (as Plato Sophist saw, correcting Parmenides and Republic V) from 'X is not F' to 'X is not'. "

  7. Brugmann, Karl. 1925. "Die Syntax Des Einfachen Satzes Im Indogermanischen." Indogermanische Forschungen no. 43 - Beiheft:1-229.

    See in particular Kapitel III: Subjekt und Prädikat, C. Kopula mit einem Prädikativum, pp. 69-77

  8. Brunschwig, Jacques. 1990. "Sur Une Façon Stoicienne De Ne Pas Être." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no. 122:389-403.

  9. Couloubaritsis, Lambros. 1990. "La Logique Du Mythe Et La Question Du Non-Être." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no. 122:323-340.

  10. Courtine, Jean-François. 2003. Les Catégories De L'être. Études De Philosophie Ancienne Et Médiévale. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

  11. Dillon, John. 2009. "The Question of Being." In Greek Thought. A Guide to Classical Knowledge, edited by Brunschwig, Jacques and Lloyd, Geoffrey E.R., 51-71. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

  12. Eck, Job van. 2002. "Not-Being and Difference: On Plato's Sophist 256 D 5-258 E 3." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no. 23:63-84.

    Plato's analysis of falsity at Sophist 263 is given in terms of not being and difference. 'Theaetetus flies' is false because what is different is stated as the same, and what is not as what is, (263 D 1-2), things that are different from what is the case concerning him (viz. flying) are described as the same (as what is the case about him). That there are indeed many 'not-beings' in the sense of things different from the things that are, the Eleatic Stranger (ES) and Theaetetus remarked some lines above, 'for we said there are many things that are with regard to each thing and many things that are not (263 B 11-12), referring to 256 E 6-7, 'so, with regard to each of the forms, being is many and not-being is indefinite in quantity'. In this way they had been disobedient to Parmenides, who had stated, 'Never shall it force itself on us that things that are-not are .' But they had gone even further in their disobedience: 'but we have not merely shown that the things that are-not are, but also brought to light the form not-being happens to have' (258 D 5-7).

    The context of both points has caused commentators a lot of problems. The main question is, how is it that something (i.e. a form) is called an ouk on in 256 D 8-257 A 6? Is it because it is dif

    ferent from the form of being; or is it because it is different from any thing (i.e. any form) it is not identical with? And on which of the two lines is the form of not-being defined as it is introduced

    in the section that follows, in 258 A 11-B 8 and 258 D 7-E 3? Only a few commentators have tackled the problems systematically, and as far as I know no interpretation has been reached that is both coherent and sound. Nevertheless, such an interpretation is possible, as I shall argue in the following. I shall discuss the passages at issue, criticize commentaries that have been given, and present the interpretation intended." pp. 63-64 (Greek omitted)

  13. Enrico, Berti. 1990. "Être Et Non-Être Chez Aristote: Contraires Ou Contradictoires?" Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no. 122:365-373.

  14. Flower, Robert. 1980. "G. E. L. Owen, Plato and the Verb to Be." Apeiron no. 14:87-95.

    "In defining what Being is in the Sophist, Plato uses the verb to be in one sense only, that of participation. There is neither an "is" of existence nor one of identity."

  15. Gould, Josiah B. 1974. "Being, the World and Appearance in Early Stoicism and Some Other Greek Philosophies." Review of Metaphysics no. 28:261-288.

    "Stoicism's materialism and its lack of talk about being are remarkable in comparison to the thought of its predecessors, Plato and Aristotle. Plato never clearly taught that logic was part of philosophy, but for the Stoics, concerned with the physical universe as well as with meanings, propositions, and arguments, both physics and logic are incorporated in philosophy. Early Stoicism was a full-fledged philosophy, not merely a type of practical wisdom."

  16. Guiraud, Pierre. 1962. La Phrase Nominale En Grec D'Homère À Euripide. Paris: Klincksieck.

  17. Hadot, Pierre. 1961. "Fragments D'un Commentaire De Porphyre Sur Le Parménide." Revue des Études Grecques no. 74:410-438.

  18. ———. 1968. Porphyre Et Victorinus. Paris: Études Augustiniennes.

    Two volumes.

  19. Huber, Gerhard. 1955. Das Sein Und Das Absolute: Studien Zur Geschichte Der Ontologischen Problematik in Der Spätantiken Philosophie. Basel: Verlag für Recht und Gesellschaft.

  20. Husain, Martha. 1976. "The Question 'What Is Being' and Its Aristotelian Answer." New Scholasticism no. 50:293-309.

    "This paper takes its point of departure from a recent article by Joseph Owens: "The content of existence," (*) which argues that being is unknowable in terms of concepts since it either has all cognitive (when contrasted with not-being) or none at all (when contrasted with beings). These dilemmas can be resolved by means of Aristotle's categories as the intrinsic formal structure of being, and as constituting the cognitive content of being "qua" being. In terms of this cognitive content, being is conceptualized, becomes knowable, and can be meaningfully contrasted with both not-being and beings. Beyond the resolution of Owens' dilemmas, the paper goes on to examine the need for meaningful contrasts in all knowledge as well as the adequacy and relevance of Aristotle's categories in relation to modern science."

    Joseph Owens - The content of existence - in: Milton K. Munitz (ed.) - Logic and ontology - New York, New York University Press 1973, pp. 21-36.

  21. Kahn, Charles H. 1966. "The Greek Verb 'to Be' and the Concept of Being." Foundations of Language no. 2:245-265.

    Reprinted in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 pp. 16-40.

  22. ———. 1972. "On the Terminology for Copula and Existence." In Islamic Philosophy and the Classical Tradition. Essays Presented by His Friends and Pupils to Richard Walzer on His Seventieth Birthday, edited by Stern, S.M., Hourani, Albert and Brown, Vivian, 141-158. London: Bruno Cassirer.

    Reprinted in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 pp. 41-61.

  23. ———. 1973. The Verb 'Be' in Ancient Greek. Dordrecht: Reidel.

    Volume 6 of: John W. M. Verhhar (ed.), The Verb 'Be' and Its Synonims. Philosophical and Grammatical Studies, Dordrecht: Reidel.

    Reprinted by Hackett Publishing, 2003 with new introduction and discussion of relation between predicative and existential uses of the verb einai.

    See also the review by George B. Kerferd in: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 58, 1976 pp. 60-64.

  24. ———. 1973. "On the Theory of the Verb 'to Be'." In Logic and Ontology, edited by Munitz, Miton, 1-20. New York: New York University Press.

  25. ———. 1976. "Why Existence Does Not Emerge as a Distinct Concept in Greek Philosophy." Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie no. 58:324-334.

    Reprinted in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 pp. 62-74.

  26. ———. 1978. "Linguistic Relativism and the Greek Project of Ontology." In The Question of Being, edited by Sprung, Mervyn, 31-44. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

    Paper read at a symposium at Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario.

    Published also in: Neue Hefte für Philosophie 15-16, 1979 pp. 20-33.

  27. ———. 1981. "Some Philosophical Uses of 'to Be' in Plato." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 26:105-134.

    Reprinted in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 pp. 75-108

  28. ———. 1986. "Retrospect on the Verb 'to Be' and the Concept of Being." In The Logic of Being, edited by Knuttilla, Simo and Hintikka, Jaakko, 1-28. Reidel: Dordrecht.

  29. ———. 1988. "Being in Parmenides and Plato." La Parola del Passato no. 43:237-261.

    Reprinted in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 pp. 167-191

  30. ———. 2004. "A Return to the Theory of the Verb Be and the Concept of Being." Ancient Philosophy no. 24:381-405.

    Reprinted in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 pp. 109-142.

    "The recent reprinting of my book The Verb 'Be' in Ancient Greek by Hackett Publishing, thirty years after its appearance in 1973, gave me the opportunity to rethink and reformulate the theoretical framework for my description of the Greek verb. Since the audience for the reprinted book will inevitably be restricted, I present here a more accessible, slightly revised version of the new (2003) Introduction. In the original 1973 book, the theoretical discussion was far too long and not always consistent. What follows is a more concise and, I hope, more coherent version of my theoretical account of einai."

  31. ———. 2009. Essays on Being. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Contents: Introduction 1; 1. The Greek verb 'to be' and the concept of Being (1966) 16; 2. On the terminology for copula and existence (1972) 41; 3. Why existence does not emerge as a distinct concept in Greek philosophy (1976) 62; 4. Some philosophical uses of 'to be' in Plato (1981) 75; 5. A return to the verb 'to be' and the concept of Being (2004) 109; 6. The thesis of Parmenides (1969) 143; 7. Being in Parmenides and Plato (1988) 167; 8. Parmenides and Plato once more (2002) 192; Postscript on Parmenides (2008): Parmenides and physics. The direction of the chariot ride in the proem. The epistemic preference for Fire 207; Bibliography 219; Index of names 227.

    "The papers reprinted here, published over a stretch of forty years, reflect my continuing concern with two distinct but intimately related problems, one linguistic and one historical and philosophical. The linguistic problem concerns the theory of the Greek verb to be: how to replace the conventional but misleading distinction between copula and existential verb with a more adequate theoretical account. The philosophical problem is in principle quite distinct: to understand how the concept of Being became the central topic in Greek philosophy from Parmenides to Aristotle. But these two problems converge on what I have called the veridical use of einai. In my earlier papers I took that connection between the verb and the concept of truth to be the key to the central role of Being in Greek philosophy. I think that clue pointed in the right direction, but I would now interpret the veridical in terms of a more general function of the verb that I call 'semantic', which comprises the notions of existence and instantiation as well as truth."

  32. Létoublon, Françoise. 1990. "La Notion De Non-Être Dans L'histoire De La Langue Grecque Archaique." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no. 122:313-322.

  33. Lewis, Frank A. 2004. "Aristotle on the Homonymy of Being." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 68:1-36.

  34. Meillet, Antoine. 1906. "La Phrase Noninale En Indo-Uropéen." Mémoires de la Société Linguistique de Paris no. 14:1-26.

  35. Morgenstern, Amy. 2001. "Leaving the Verb 'to Be' Behind: An Alternative Reading of Plato's Sophist." Dionysius no. 19:27-50.

    "In this paper, I critically assess readings of Plato's Sophist which, influenced by the Anglo-American philosophical tradition, have in the latter half of the twentieth century set the terms for

    discussions of this text's central issues. While aware that these readings are often at odds with each other and, therefore, do not form one coherent reading, I argue that the basic theoretical move unifying these readings -- equating the Greek terms esti, to on, and ta onta with the verb 'to be,' understood existentially, predicatively, or as an identity sign -- cannot serve as the basis of an illuminating approach to the Eleatic stranger's investigation."

  36. Morrison, Donald. 1987. "The Evidence for Degrees of Being in Aristotle." Classical Quarterly no. 37:382-402.

  37. Muralt, André de. 1990. "L'être Du Non-Être En Perspective Aristoteélicienne." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no. 122:375-388.

  38. Nogales, Gómez Salvador. 1972. "The Meaning of Being in Aristotle." International Philosophical Quarterly no. 12:317-339.

    "In order to deal with the complex concept of being, Aristotle distinguished between synonyms and homonyms, and these two categories were further subdivided. Things with nothing in common possess being and in every being there is something identical. We recognize matter and being only by analogy. Accident is a dimension of being but is not an entity in itself."

  39. O'Farrell, Frank. 1982. "Aristotle's Categories of Being." Gregorianum no. 63:87-131.

  40. Reding, Jean-Paul. 2004. "'To Be' in Greece and China." In Comparative Essays in Early Greek and Chinese Rational Thinking, 167-194. Aldershot: Ashgate.

  41. Renaut, Alain. 1975. "Epicure Et Le Problème De L'etre. Sur Le Statut Ontologique Des Prédicats." Études Philosophiques no. 4:435-465.

  42. Ruijgh, Cornelis Jord. 1979. "A Review Of: Ch. H. Kahn, the Verb 'Be' in Ancient Greek." Lingua no. 48:43-83.

    " Sommaire: §1 . Introduction: le probleme du rapport entre l'emploi copulatif et l'emploi dit existentiel de einai .

    A. Le contenu du livre de M. Kahn: §2. L'ontologie des philosophes et les problèms des deux emplois de einai; le choix de la théorie transformationnelle de Harris. - §3. Les différentes acceptions des termes 'sujet', 'prédicat' et 'copule'. - §4. L'application de la théorie transformationnelle au grec ancien. - §5. La description des emplois copulatifs de einai (copule nominale, copule locative, etc.). - §6. La théorie générale de la copule: valeur statique, marque de la prétention de vérité. - §7. Les emplois existentiels (six types), l'emploi possessif et 1'emploi potentiel de einai. - §8. L'emploi veridical de einai. - §9. L'unité des emplois de einai: dès l'indo-éuropeen, l'emploi copulatif serait central. - §10. L'accentuation de esti et sa place dans l'ordre des mots; la phrase nominale; to on et ousia.

    B. Observations critiques: §11. Objections gènérales; la coexistence d'une analyse copulative et d'une analyse non-copulative sans différence sémantique dans certains types de phrases. - §12. Le caractère vague des termes d'ordre sémantique 'valeur fondamentale' et 'valeur centrale'. - §13. La valeur fondamentale de einai, qui se manifeste surtout dans la construction absolue: 'être present', 'être là' sans spécification ultérieure (valeur présentielle; les nuances 'subsistantielle' et 'existentielle')., §14. Le rapport entre einai et ses composés (pareinai, eneinai, etc). - §15. L'emploi vital de einai. - §16. L'emploi strictement existentiel du type esti Zeux. - §17. L'emploi strictement existentiel du type estin ostix ...;le passage aux emplois métaphoriques et abstraits de einai. - §18. L'emploi de einai avec un nom d'action comme sujet. - § 19. L'emploi-veridical de einai. - §20. L'emploi de einai avec un complement de lieu: le passage à la construction copulative. - §21. Le caractère non spécifié de la valeur fondamentale de einai explique son emploi copulatif; la phrase nominative simple. - §22. La phrase nominative cumulative: l'apposition. - §23. La phrase verbale monolectique (à sujet inclus). - §24. La phrase verbale à sujet extèrne. - §25. La phrase élémentaire du type kuon esti: construction absolue et construction copulative. - §26. La phrase du type outo z Swkratm z esti. - §27. L'ambiguité syntaxique d'autres types de phrases, notamment de ceux qui comportent un quantificateur. - §28. Le caractère non impersonnel de la construction du type nus esti. §29. L'ambiguité syntaxique de la construction impersonnelle du type oion te esti makestai . - §30 . La construction impersonnelle du type esti makestai. - §31. La construction impersonnelle du type esti makestai (emploi potentiel; la fonction adverbiale de l'infinitif); les types anagke esti makestai et anagkaion esti makestai. - §32. Conclusion."

  43. ———. 1984. "Sur La Valeur Fondamentale De Einai: Une Réplique." Mnemosyne no. 37:264-270.

    Reply to the article by R. van Bennekom in the same number

  44. Salis, Rita. 2012. "The Notion of Being as Act in Neoplatonism and Its Transmission in the Translatio Studiorum." In Translatio Studiorum: Ancient, Medieval and Modern Bearers of Intellectual History, edited by Sgarbi, Marco, 51-63. Leiden: Brill.

  45. Suto, Taki. 2011. Boethius on Mind, Grammar and Logic. A Study of Boethius' Commentaries on Peri Hermeneias. Leiden: Brill.

    See Parto Two. Boethius on Logic and Grammar, Chapter VI. The Verb 'To Be', pp. 187-222.

  46. Vasiliu, Anca. 2001. "Dire L'image Ou La Parole Visible Chez Platon (Sur Le Sophiste, 216a, 241e)." Dionysius no. 19:75-112.

    "This paper is a commentary on the first part of the Sophist, aiming to identify the instruments used to persuade or to demonstrate the veracity of something considered as knowledge of a truth."

  47. Voelker, André-Jean. 1990. "Vide Et Non-Être Chez Leucippe Et Démocrite." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no. 122:341-352.


  1. Adamson, Peter. 2002. "Before Essence and Existence: Al-Kindi's Conception of Being." Journal of History of Philosophy no. 40:297-312.

  2. Alonso, Alonso Manuel. 1957. ""Al-Qiwam" Y "Al-Anniyya" En Las Traducciones De Gundisalvo." Al-Andalus no. 22:377-405.

  3. Alverny, Marie-Therèse d'. 1959. "Anniyya - Anitas." In Mélanges Offerts À Étienne Gilson, De L'académie Française, 59-91. Paris: Vrin.

  4. Bashiri, Iraj. 1973. 'To Be' as the Origin of Syntax: A Persian Framework. Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica.

  5. Benardete, Seth. 1977. "The Grammar of Being." Review of Metaphysics no. 30:486-496.

  6. Bos, Egbert Peter. 1998. "The Division of Being over the Categories According to Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus." In John Duns Scotus (1265/6-1308): Renewal of Philosophy, edited by Bos, Egbert Peter, 183-196. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

    Acts of the Third Symposium organized by the Dutch Society for Medieval Philosophy Medium Aevum (May 23 and 24, 1996).

    "The number of categories turns out to be a problem for medieval philosophers. It is pointed out that Aristotle himself was not too consistent in his listings of the categories. Some medievalists try to deduce the ten categories. Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas do so each in their own (although quite similar) ways, starting from their own respective ontologies. John Duns Scotus does not undertake any kind of deduction. He stresses the 'realiter' difference between the diverse categories. He only accepts the number of ten categories on the basis of tradition. Scotus does reduce 'non-entia, figmenta', and so on to 'entia', as member of the categories."

  7. ———. 2000. "Nature and Number of the Categories and the Division of Being According to Domingo De Soto." In Medieval and Renaissance Logic in Spain, edited by Angelelli, Ignacio and Pérez-Ilzarbe, Paloma, 327-353. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

  8. Caster, Kevin K. 1996. "The Distinction between Being and Essence According to Boethius, Avicenna, and William of Auvergne." Modern Schoolman no. 73:309-332.

  9. Chauvier, Stéphane. 2006. "L'étant Sans L'être." Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale:495-513.

    "Why the analytical tradition has made no room for the question of being as such? We show that the explanation has to be found, not in the alleged empiricist tendencies of that tradition, but in the fact that the analytical metaphysics in an investigation of the modes of being."

  10. Chiesa, Curzio. 1990. "Idées De Négations." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no. 122:353-364.

  11. Conti, Alessandro D. 1989. "Essenza Ed Essere Nel Pensiero Della Tarda Scolastica." Medioevo.Rivista di Storia delle filosofia Medievale no. 15:235-270.

  12. Courtine, Jean-François. 2003. Les Catégories De L'être. Études De Philosophie Ancienne Et Médiévale. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

  13. Dumont, Stephen. 1987. "The Univocity of the Concept of Being in the Fourteenth Century: John Duns Scouts and William of Alnwick." Mediaeval Studies no. 49:1-75.

  14. Fabro, Cornelio. 1983. "Intorno Al Fondamento Dell'essere." In Graceful Reason: Essays in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy Presented to Joseph Owens, Cssr on the Occasion of His Seventy-Fifth Birthday and the Fiftieth Anniversary of His Ordination, edited by Gerson, Lloyd, 229-237. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

  15. Fitzpatrick, Noel. 1971. "Walter Chatton on the Univocity of Being: A Reaction to Peter Aureoli and William Ockham." Franciscan Studies no. 31:88-177.

  16. Franck, Didier. 2004. "La Question De L'être: Sens De La Question Et Question Du Sens." In Heidegger L'enigne De L'être, edited by Mattéi, Jean-François, 71-103. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

  17. Frank, Richard MacDonough. 1956. "The Origin of the Arabic Philosophical Term "Anniyya"." Cahiers de Byrsa no. 6:181-201.

  18. Gál, Gedeon. 1992. "Geraldus Odonis on the Univocity of the Concept of Being." Franciscan Studies no. 52:23-30.

  19. Gilson, Étienne. 1952. Being and Some Philosophers. Toronto: Pontifical Insitute of Mediaeval Studies.

    Secon edition corrected and enlarged (First edition 1949).

    Contents: Preface VII-XI; I. On Being and the One 1; II. Being and Substance 41; III. Essence and Existence 74; V. Being and Existence 154; VI. Knowledge and Existence 190; Appendix - On Some Difficulties of Interpretation 216; Index 233-235.

  20. Graham, Angus Charles. 1965. "'Being' in Linguistics and Philosophy: A Preliminary Inquiry." Foundations of Language no. 1:223-231.

  21. ———. 1967. "'Being' in Classical Chinese." In The Verb "Be" and Its Synonyms, edited by Verhaar, John W.M., 1-39. Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing.

    Precedent version published as: Being in Western philosophy compared with shih/fei and yu/wu in Chinese philosophy - Asia Major (NS) 7 (1959) 79-112; reprinted in: A. C. Graham - Studies in Chinese philosophy and philosophical literature Albany, State University of New York Press, 1990. pp. 322-359.

  22. Heidegger, Martin. 2005. En Guise De Contribution À La Grammaire Et À L'étymologie Du Mot 'Être' (Introduction À La Métaphysique, Chap. Ii). Paris: Éditions du Seuil.

    Édité, traduit de l'allemand et commenté par Pascal David.

  23. Hugonnard-Roche, Henri. 2006. "Le Vocabulaire Philosophique De L'être En Syriaque D'aprés Des Texts De Sergius De Res'aina Et Jacques D'édesse." In Arabic Theology, Arabic Philosophy. From the Many to the One: Essays in Celebraion of Richard M. Frank, edited by Montgomery, James E., 101-125. Leuven: Peeters.

  24. Husain, Martha. 1976. "The Question 'What Is Being' and Its Aristotelian Answer." New Scholasticism no. 50:293-309.

    "This paper takes its point of departure from a recent article by Joseph Owens: "The content of existence," (*) which argues that being is unknowable in terms of concepts since it either has all cognitive (when contrasted with not-being) or none at all (when contrasted with beings). These dilemmas can be resolved by means of Aristotle's categories as the intrinsic formal structure of being, and as constituting the cognitive content of being "qua" being. In terms of this cognitive content, being is conceptualized, becomes knowable, and can be meaningfully contrasted with both not-being and beings. Beyond the resolution of Owens' dilemmas, the paper goes on to examine the need for meaningful contrasts in all knowledge as well as the adequacy and relevance of Aristotle's categories in relation to modern science."

    Joseph Owens - The content of existence - in: Milton K. Munitz (ed.) - Logic and ontology - New York, New York University Press 1973, pp. 21-36.

  25. Jordan, Mark D. 1980. "The Grammar of Esse. Re-Reading Thomas on the Transcendentals." Thomist no. 44:1-26.

  26. Kagame, Alexis. 1956. La Philosophie Bantu-Rwandaise De L'ëtre. Bruxelles: Éditions Duculout.

    Reprinted in 1966 by Johnson Reprint Corp., New York.

  27. Kearney, Richard. 1992. "Between Kant and Heidegger. The Modern Question of Being." In At the Heart of the Real. Philosophical Essays in Honour of the Most Reverend Desmond Connell, Archbishop of Dublin, edited by O'Rourke, Fran, 271-283. Dublin: Irish Academic Press.

  28. Kenny, Anthony. 2002. Aquinas on Being. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  29. Knuuttila, Simo, and Hintikka, Jaakko, eds. 1986. The Logic of Being. Historical Studies. Dordrecht: Reidel.

    Table of contents: Acknowledgements VII; Introduction IX; Charles H. Kahn: Retrospect on the verb 'to be' and the concept of Being 1; Benson Mates: Identity and predication in Plato 29; Russell M. Dancy: Aristotle and existence 49; Jaakko Hintikka: The varieties of Being in Aristotle 81; Sten Ebbesen: The Chimera's Diary 115; Klaus Jacobi: Peter Abelard's investigations into the meaning and functions of the speech sign 'Est' 145; Hermann Weidemann: The logic of Being in Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus 201; Simo Knuuttila: Being qua Being in Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus 201; Lilli Alanen: On Descartes' argument for dualism and the distinction between different kinds of Beings 223; Jaakko Hintikka: Kant on existence, predication, and the ontological argument 249; Leila Haaparanta: On Frege's concept of Being 269; Index of names: 291; Index of subjects: 297-300.

  30. Llamzon, Benjamin. 1964. "The Specification of 'Esse'; a Study in Bañez." Modern Schoolman no. 41:123-144.

  31. Locker, Ernst. 1954. "Etre Et Avoir. Leurs Expressions Dans Les Langues." Anthropos no. 49:481-510.

  32. Maurer, Armand. 1954. "Henry of Arclay's Question on the Univocity of Being." Mediaeval Studies no. 16:18.

  33. ———. 1966. "Cajetan's Notion of Being in His Commentary on the Sentences." Mediaeval Studies no. 28:268-278.

  34. Moro, Andrea. 2010. Breve Storia Del Verbo Essere. Viaggio Al Centro Della Frase. Milano: Adelphi.

  35. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. 1977. "Post-Avicennan Islamic Philosophy and the Study of Being." International Philosophical Quarterly no. 17:265-271.

    "In this article, after a brief discussion of the position of Ibn Sina concerning the distinction between existence and essence, a survey is made of the views of later Islamic thinkers of various schools including "Kalam", "Ishraqi" theosophy and theoretical sufism of the school of Ibn Arabi concerning ontology. The study culminates with Mulla Sadra who brought the discussion of being among Muslim thinkers to full fruition. After this chronological survey, the distinction between the study of being in later Schools of Islamic thought and those of the West is made clear and it is shown how despite a similar background, Islamic and Western thought part ways on this basic issue. Later Islamic students of ontology emphasized that the subject of philosophy is the study of the act of existence, the "actus essendi", while Western thought became ever more concerned with the existent or "ens". In conclusion the relation between the theoretical study of being and practical and operative spiritual methods for the realization of being in the Islamic world is indicated."

  36. Nijenhuis, John. 1994. "'Ens' Described as 'Being or Existent'." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 68:1-14.

    "A recent article in this quarterly about 'Aquinas on 'Exists',' opens with the statement, 'At the outset of On Being and Essence Aquinas distinguishes two senses of 'ens' (being or existent).' (1) Here, this reader stops 'At the outset' and reflects: is it justifiable-speaking linguistically and metaphysically -- to offer two seemingly alternative if not even synonymous renderings of the one Latin word ' ens,' viz., 'being' or (and/or) 'existent'?

    The present writer belongs to the small chorus of language-sensitive medievalists who feel pressed to sing extra chorum because they have conclusive evidence that the translation of the Latin esse (as also of the Greek einai) by the usual existence-terminology leads to a flawed interpretation of the 'onto-logical' thought world where use is made of the 'being'-term ens (and its Greek equivalent).


    The basic issue is simple enough, but precisely because it is so simple and obvious it runs the risk of being overlooked. All I can do here is present a series of brief pointers toward the fateful bifurcation of the Latin esse (and the Greek einai) into 'be(ing)' and 'exist(ence).' In doing this, I hope that an objective listing of the pertinent facts which, in their roots, are of an unambiguous linguistic nature, will constitute an instance of that philosophical rhetoric which in the same issue of American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly was called a 'technique of persuasion.' (2) pp. 89-90.

    (1) Russell Panier and Thomas D. Sullivan, "Aquinas on 'Exists'," in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 67, (1993), 247.

    (2) id. p. 257.

  37. ———. 1995. "Existence Vs. Being: An All-Important Matter of Terminology." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 69 (1):89-95.

    "In classical Latin, the verb esse, incompletely rendered by today's 'to be,' was the word expressing what today is divided over the verbs 'be' and 'exist.' As I quoted Vlastos in reference to the similar situation in Greek ( 'Ens' described as 'Being or existent' 13), 'This kind of knowledge ... even a Greek child would have had. I invited our contemporary philosophers 'to crawl under the linguistic thought-skin of adult Greek and Latin philosophers,' not perhaps in order to agree but at least to understand what they were saying (and then, if they see fit, to disagree). When, by some mysterious process, the verb existere began to be used as the participle of esse, the inevitable apparently happened: the fuller meaning of esse, was gradually-and uncritically-transferred to existere. The etymology of ex(s)istere yields a simple sense, namely, 'come out of,' 'appear' and 'be there,' indicating yes-or-no situations; consequently, the richer meaning of Aquinas's esse (the verb) was fated to become flattened to indicate (rather than 'signify') the plain fact of 'exist(ence)' (often referred to by the new late-Latin noun existentia, see n. 4). The mountainous landscape where Aquinas saw a rich variety of interconnected 'beings' was leveled to the flatland of isolated, barren existents; the various depths of the existing beings came to be viewed as a conglomerate of unrelated, juxtaposed existents."

  38. O'Meara, Dominic. 1976. "Being in Numenius and Plotinus. Some Points of Comparison." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 21:120-129.

    Reprinted in: D. O' Meara - The structure of Being and the search for the Good. Essays on ancient and early medieval Platonism - Aldershot, Asgate Variorum, 1998 Essay V.

  39. ———. 1990. "La Question De L'être Et Du Non-Être Des Objets Mathématiques Chez Plotin Et Jamblique." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no. 122:405-416.

    Reprinted in: D. O' Meara - The structure of Being and the search for the Good. Essays on ancient and early medieval Platonism - Aldershot, Asgate Variorum, 1998 Essay XV.

  40. Owens, Joseph. 1963. An Elementary Christian Metaphysics. Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Company.

    Reprinted Houston, Center for Thomistic Studies, 1985.

  41. Pannier, Russell, and Sullivan, Thomas D. 1993. "Aquinas on 'Exists'." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 67 (2):157-166.

    "At the outset of On Being and Essence Aquinas distinguishes two senses of "ens" (being or existent). This distinction furnishes a convenient point of entry for his entire metaphysics. Aquinas is primarily concerned with "ens" in the first sense, roughly the sense we have in mind when we say something is real. He points to a second, broader sense to ward off confusions. But if the meaning of the second sense is unclear, it will be all too easy to infer, as many seem to, that if something is a being in the second sense, it must be a being in the first sense as well, albeit a rather shadowy one. For this reason we here shall propose an interpretation of Aquinas's second sense of "ens." As an aid to this clarification, we shall contrast Aquinas's second sense with the sense of "exists" articulated by Frege. Some philosophers claim that Aquinas's second sense is identical to Frege's sense. We shall argue that, although logically related in certain contexts, the senses are nevertheless distinct. We shall note toward the end the significance of this second sense for discussions of such topics as intentional in-existence." p. 157

    See, e.g., G.E.M. Anscombe and P.T. Geach, Three Philosophers (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1961), p. 90; The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas:Introductory Readings, ed. by Christopher Martin (London & New York: Routledge, 1988), p. 49; Hermann Weidemann, "The Logic of Being in Thomas Aquinas," in The Logic of Being: Historical Studies, ed. by Simo Knuuttila and laakko Hintikka (Dordrecht/Boston/Lancaster/Tokyo: D. Reidel, 1986), pp. 81-200, especially p. 182.

  42. ———. 1995. "Being, Existence and the Future of Thomistic Studies: A Reply to Professor Nijenhuis." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 69 (1):83-88.

    "Our aim is to explain as briefly as we can (1) why there is good reason to use 'existence-terminology,' and (2) why some considerations against it, including what we take to be Professor Nijenhuis's main reasons, should not deter us. In the course of discussing these points we also will indicate why any of this matters for the future of Thomistic studies.

    The first reason to permit oneself to use 'existent' or 'existing thing' for 'ens' is that fine dictionaries such as The New Shorter Oxford and The American Heritage (totake a couple at hand) give 'existence' as the first entry under 'being.' That, no doubt, is why translators commonly use 'existence-terminology.' Professor Nijenhuis acknowledges that dictionaries inter-define being and existence and that translators follow suit, but he thinks that both err. Maybe so, but it seems quite clear who bears the onus probandi.

    The second reason, often neglected by proponents of 'being-terminology,' is that if we refuse to allow that when Aquinas talks in terms of 'ens' and 'esse' he is talking in one way or another about existing things and about existence, we have no way of comparing Aquinas on existence with anyone who talks about existence. To insist that Aquinas is not talking about the same topic as Frege, Russell, Quine and others because 'ens,' 'esse' and the like are to be translated only in terms of 'being' is to beg some pretty big questions and to seal off Aquinas's thought from the contemporary world of ideas. No doubt some feel that it is more important to understand Aquinas in light of predecessors such as Clarenbald of Arras than Frege, but it seems to us that unless at some point we are willing to consider how Aquinas's thought holds up when examined with the best contemporary work in mind, we will certainly not have served Aquinas or philosophy well." pp. 83-84.

  43. Paprzycka, Katarzyna. 1993. "Carnap and Leibniz on the Problem of Being." In Possible Ontologies, edited by Augustynek, Zdzislaw and Jadacki, Jacek Juliusz, 163-177. Rodopi: Amsterdam.

    "The title of the present paper appears provocative as it brings together one of the most prominent fighters of metaphysics, R. Carnap, a famous metaphysician and a very difficult metaphysical problem. In fact, Leibniz, whose stance on that very issue we have chosen to relate to that of Carnap's, has not written about the problem of being explicitly either. We will thus ask the reader for some patience as we will try to demonstrate that they both do so implicitly.

    Our task is perhaps even more complex with respect to Carnap for aside of being an extraordinarily consistent and systematic thinker, he has also been very self-conscious methodologically. It is remarkable that the system of Aufbau, to which we will restrict our attention, was supposed to be a mere illustration of some methodological principles developed in the so-called construction theory. Accordingly, almost none of the moves in his system lacks a justification. As a result, there are not too many degrees of interpreter's freedom." (p. 163)

  44. Pécharman, Martine. 1992. "Le Vocabulaire De L'être Dans La Philosophie Première: Ens, Esse, Essentia." In Hobbes Et Son Vocabulaire, edited by Zarka, Yves Charles, 31-59. Paris: Vrin.

  45. Price, Robert. 1970. "Richard of Middleton O.F.M. On 'Esse and Essence'." Franciscan Studies no. 30:49-76.

  46. Principe, Walter H. 1967. Alexander of Hales' Theology of the Hypostatic Union. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

    See Chapter I. The Philosophical Background (pp. 21-72) , in particular § 2. Ens, Esse, and Existere (pp. 23-42).

  47. Rijk, Lambertus Maria de. 1981. "Boèce Logicien Et Philosophe: Ses Positions Sémantiques Et Sa Métaphysique De L'ëtre." In Atti Del Congresso Internazionale Di Studi Boeziani (Pavia, 5-8 Ottobre 1980), edited by Obertello, Luca, 141-156. Roma: Herder.

  48. Rosen, Stanley. 1991. "Is Metaphysics Possible?" Review of Metaphysics no. 45:235-257.

  49. Schnädelbach, Herbert. 1984. "Being." In Philosophy in Germany 1831-1933, 192-218. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "If, in what follows under the general title of 'Being', we are to give an outline of the rebirth of metaphysics as ontology, we cannot avoid giving an account in detail of the various ontological projects of that time. What is to be clarified can be described as a rehabilitation of the 'problem of being' as a genuinely philosophical problem. This 'problem of being' must obviously be posed in such a way that it cannot be solved by any of the procedures of the empirical sciences; otherwise, any philosophical theory of being would be superfluous. On the other hand, the 'problem of being' should also not be reducible to the problem of knowledge, as the whole of Criticism had taught, since then the attempt to break out of the epistemological ghetto would fail. A third general condition, accepted by all the new ontologists, is that modern ontology should not proceed in a dogmatic fashion in Kant's sense; this also rules out simple reference back to pre-Kantian traditions. The rehabilitation of philosophy as theory of knowledge also remains decisive for the new ontology, to the extent that it regards an epistemological self-justification as absolutely indispensable. The priority of the question of being over that of knowledge, which is the general characteristic of the new ontology, should itself he seen as the result of epistemological reflection: since the time of Lotze, the argument that the subject is him: self an existent and the knowledge-relation a relation of, being had played a central role in that connexion. In Hegel's words, the new ontology saw itself as an immanent critique of epistemology, not as its simple opposite. The success of this critique was then felt as the great liberation 'to things themselves'." (pp. 194-195)

  50. Schönberger, Rolf. 1986. Die Transformation Des Klassischen Seinsverständnisses. Studien Zur Vorgeschiche Des Neuzeitlichen Seinsbegriffs Im Mittelalter. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

  51. Seigfried, Hans. 1972. "Kant's Thesis About Being Anticipated by Suarez." In Proceedings of the Third International Kant Congress, edited by Beck, Leslie, 510-520. Dordrecht: Reidel.

  52. Simons, Peter M:. 2001. "L'être: Une Petite Histoire Autrichienne." In La Philosophie Autrichienne De Bolzano À Musil, edited by Cometti, Jean-Pierre and Mulligan, Kevin, 29-42. Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin.

  53. Sprung, Mervyn, ed. 1978. The Question of Being. East-West Perspectives. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

    Each chapter in this book (except the first) originated at a symposium arranged by the philosophy department of Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario.

    Contents: Mervyn Sprung: The Question of Being as comparative philosophy 1; Some Western Perspectives: Joseph Owens: Being in early Western tradition 17; Charles H. Kahn: Linguistic relativism and the Greek project of ontology 31; Hans Georg Gadamer: Plato and Heidegger 45; Zygmunt Adamczewski: Questions in Heidegger's thought about Being 55; Robert C. Schaff: Heidegger's path of thinking and the Way of Meditation in the early Upanisads 67; Some eastern perspectives: Wilhelm Halbfass: On Being and What There Is: Indian perspectives on the Question of Being 95; J. G. Arapura: Some special characteristics of Sat (Being) in Advaita Vedanta 111; Mervyn Sprung: Being and the Middle Way 127; Jitendra Nath Mohanty: Some aspects of Indian thinking on Being 141; Index 159-161.

  54. Szaif, Jan. 2003. Der Sinn Von "Sein": Grundlinien Einer Rekonstruktion Des Philosophischen Begriffs Des Seienden. Freiburg: Alber.

    Inhalt: Vorbemerkung 7;

    Der Sinn von "sein". Grundlinien einer Rekonstruktion des philosophischen Begriffs des Seienden. Einleitung 13

    Teil I

    Gibt es eine philosophisch relevante Antwort auf die Frage nach dem Sinn von "sein"?

    a) Die Formulierung der ontologischen Grundfrage als Frage nach dem Sinn von "sein" 16; b) Zur Geschichte der ontologischen Grundfrage 18; c) Die Zielsetzung der Wiederaufnahme der ontologischen Grundfrage 20; d) Ergänzende Bemerkungen zur Methode 22; e) Vier semantische Grundfunktionen von "sein": i) Die Kopula als "offene Prädikatsform" 25; ii) Das "ist" in identifizierenden Aussagen 32; iii) Existenz 32; iv) Veritatives Sein 37; f) Die Antwort: Der Sinn von "sein" -- eine in aller gegenständlichen Bezugnahme immer schon vorausgesetzte semantische Verweisungsstruktur 39; g) Ist diese Sinnstruktur nur ein sprachgeschichtlicher Zufall? 45;

    Teil II

    Die mögliche Rolle der ontologischen Grundfrage für eine (heute noch durchführbare) Metaphysik

    a) Das Problem der thematischen Eingrenzung der Metaphysik als philosophischer Disziplin 47; b) Metaphysik als " transphysica" - zwei Deutungstypen 49; c) Die Differenz von positionalem und formalem Seinssinn als Grund zweier fundamentaler ontologischer Fragedimensionen 52; d) Die Entfaltung der ontologischen Grundfrage als Organisationsprinzip für eine philosophische Metaphysik; die Rolle erkenntnis- und sprachkritischer Erörterungen 56; e) Das Verhältnis der ontologisch-metaphysischen Fragestellung zu anderen philosophischen Grundfragen 65; Anmerkungen 72;


    Ernst Tugendhat über die 'Seinsfrage' als fundamentalphilosophische Fragestellung 91

  55. Thom, Paul. 2002. "The Pervasiveness of Being." In Presocratic Philosophy. Essays in Honour of Alexander Mourelatos, edited by Caston, Victor and Graham, Daniel W., 293-302. Aldershot: Ashgate.

    "The pervasiveness of Being is the doctrine that everything is. This doctrine would he false if something was not. That being is pervasive is not a trivial claim. An ontology might he motivated by the desire to quantify over non-beings in such a way that we can say that something is a flying man without implying that some being is a flying man. If such a distinction is allowed, then it might be thought that something is not, even though no being is not. Pervasiveness then would be true for beings but not for 'somethings.'

    This chapter explores the different positions that philosophers from Parmenides to Aristotle take on the question of the pervasiveness of Being, and traces some of the relations linking those positions to one another."

  56. Verhaar, John W.M., ed. 1967. The Verb 'Be' and Its Synonyms. Philosophical and Grammatical Studies. Dordrecht: Reidel.

    Six volumes.

    Part I: Classical Chinese. Athapaskan. Mundari, 1967, pp. viii+100; Part II: Eskimo Hindi. Zuni. Modern Greek. Malayalam. Kurukh. 1968, pp. ix+ 148; Part III: Japanese. Kashmiri. Armenian. Hungarian. Sumerian. Shona. 1968, pp. viii+ 125; Part IV: Twi. Modern Chinese. Arabic. 1969, pp. viii+ 125; Part V: 1972, pp. vii+ 232; Part VI: The Verb 'Be' in Ancient Greek. By Charles H. Kahn. 1973, pp. xxxiii+ 486.

  57. Zaslawsky, Denis. 1982. Analyse De L'être. Essai De Philosophie Analytique. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.