essentialism

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essentialism

the view that philosophy or science is able to reach and represent absolute TRUTH(S), e.g. the necessary or essential properties, or ‘essences’, of objects. PLATO's theory of ideal forms is an example of essentialism.

Today the term is often a negative one, used by philosophers who oppose essentialism and emphasize the provisional or conventional nature of knowledge (see also CONVENTIONALISM, NOMINALISM, OPERATIONALISM OR OPERATIONISM, RELATIVISM, POSTEMPIRICISM, DECONSTRUCTION, REALISM).

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
He is skeptical of American democracy, believes that class rather than race may be the most important difference between whites and Indians in America, and is concerned with "privileged elites." His approach to Indians is essentialist and he takes a victimist view of their history and current situation.
Strategic essentialism derives from the problem of validating essentialist concepts, which originated in early modern chemistry from chemical essences, that which cannot be reduced further, that is, that which obviates scrutiny because it is already and purely itself.
For Lee, "postmodernist politics proper" takes its rejection of the essentialist "philosopical foundation of liberalism to the point of discrediting liberalism as political practice" (p.
If the institutional theory is essentialist because art is definable and works of art share essential properties, then anti-essentialism about art is not one of the most common and distinctive features of analytic aesthetics, in fact, as Shusterman claims.
We stated in our article that "we use the word curriculum to denote the materials in which instruction occurs, not the goals, objectives or outcomes inherent in school curricula." By doing so, we made clear that we understand the essentialist distinctions that concern Howell and Evans.
Mckeown makes a clear distinction between the essentialist and the non-essentialist ways of doing things.
"[I]f the need to relinquish essentialist conceptions of nature is increasingly self-evident among political theorists," write the editors (a pair of professors of political science from Williams College and Trinity College and a political science doctoral candidate at Northwestern U.), "it is also increasingly obvious that political theory must find new ways to conceptualize nature in order to respond to the most pressing issues of our era," an era they say increasingly blurs the distinction between natural givens and political arrangements.
'Abstraction' is the action performed by the 'Essentialist', hence, the full term for the artistic project of relentless reduction of elements to bare essentials is 'Essentialist Abstraction'--'Essentialism' for short.
8 MICKALENE THOMAS This Brooklyn-based artist makes glittery paintings and large-scale photographs of black women that cancel out any hope of an essentialist view of "type." She might depict her mother in a crocheted bikini, or Grace Jones in a tiger suit, or herself as Mary J.
Garrard's approach was predicated on a biographical and modified essentialist reading of Artemisia's oeuvre.
His championing of the ethnic bases of nationalism oscillates uneasily between essentialist assumptions of a n ational identity resting on objective, factual historical processes as well as distinct cultural communities and the far more fruitful recognition that ethnicity, like nationalism, rests on perception, cognition and belief.
In this paper I address specific discursive mechanisms within contemporary feminist theory which work to silence recent critiques of the "good victim." These mechanisms, based within essentialist notions of ethical femininity, prevent survivors of gender violence to locate a complex sense of their own agency within experiences of trauma.