What is essence?

  • (noun): The central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work.
    Synonyms: effect, burden, core, gist
    See also — Additional definitions below


In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an entity or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the entity or substance has contingently, without which the substance can still retain its identity. The concept originates with Aristotle, who used the Greek expression to ti ên einai, literally 'the what it was to be', or sometimes the shorter phrase to ti esti, literally 'the what it is,' for the same idea. This phrase presented such difficulties for his Latin translators that they coined the word essentia (English "essence") to represent the whole expression. For Aristotle and his scholastic followers the notion of essence is closely linked to that of definition (horismos).

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Some articles on essence:

Meaning (existential) - Sartre
... "Existence precedes essence" means that a human exists first before they have meaning in life ... creator who conceives of an idea or purpose of an object, and then creates it with the essence of the object already present ... The essence of what the knife will be exists before the actual knife itself ...
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan - Chinese Classic Herbal Formula
... Rehmannia glutinosa Nourishes kidney yin essence Corni Fructus Japanese cornel fruit shān zhū y ...
Essence - Hinduism
... any individual personality, a distinction is made between one's Swadharma (essence) and Swabhava (mental habits and conditionings of ego personality) ... to an entity and holds the core quality and identity (essence), form and function of that entity ... dharma is to be righteous, to do one's dharma is to do one's duty (express one's essence) ...
Sean Jones (singer/songwriter) - Musical Career
... with the male vocal quintet pop group In Essence, for BMG Records ... In Essence has won a Juno award and a MuchMusic Video award ... In Essence’s first album garnered two hit singles and videos ...
... Essence-Function (體用) is a key concept in Korean Buddhism ... to Aśvaghoṣa (?80-?150 CE), employs Essence-Function ... Essence-Function forms a fundamental syncretic and ecumenical application in the philosophy of Wonhyo (617–686 CE) ...

More definitions of "essence":

  • (noun): A toiletry that emits and diffuses a fragrant odor.
    Synonyms: perfume
  • (noun): Any substance possessing to a high degree the predominant properties of a plant or drug or other natural product from which it is extracted.

Famous quotes containing the word essence:

    The essence of being a genius is to be able to talk and listen to listen while talking and talk while listening but and this is very important very important indeed talking has nothing to do with creation.
    Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)

    To administer is to govern: to govern is to reign. That is the essence of the problem.
    Honoré Gabriel Riquet, Comte De Mirabeau (1749–1791)

    The essence of democracy is its assurance that every human being should so respect himself and should be so respected in his own personality that he should have opportunity equal to that of every other human being to “show what he was meant to become.”
    Anna Garlin Spencer (1851–1931)