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:

... Essence-Function (體用) is a key concept in Korean Buddhism ... of Mahayana Faith, attributed 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) ...
Meaning (existential) - Sartre
... "Existence precedes essence" means that a human exists first before they have meaning in life ... 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 ...
Essence - Hinduism
... 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 ... one's dharma is to be righteous, to do one's dharma is to do one's duty (express one's essence) ...
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan - Chinese Classic Herbal Formula
... root shú dì huáng 熟地黃 熟地黄 ジオウ 地黄 Rehmannia glutinosa Nourishes kidney yin essence Corni Fructus Japanese cornel fruit shān zhū y ...
Sean Jones (singer/songwriter) - Musical Career
... major-label album 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 ...

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:

    Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.
    Albert Camus (1913–1960)

    All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
    John Kenneth Galbraith (b. 1908)

    The essence of greatness is the perception that virtue is enough.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)