essence


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Related to essence: Time is of the essence, Essence Festival

essence,

in philosophy, the nature of a thing. Aristotle maintained that there is a distinction between the form of a thing—its intelligible, verbally formulable character—and the essence of a thing, i.e., what it is in itself, which is not common to anything else. The essence of a thing is what is formulated as a universal in the mind and in language. St. Thomas Aquinas distinguished between the essence of a thing and the fact of its being, or its existence. In modern existentialist thought Jean-Paul Sartre made use of Aquinas's distinction between essence and existence but reversed them by insisting that existence precedes essence. By this he asserted that people do not have predetermined natures; what a person is follows from the choices he or she makes.

essence

1. Philosophy
a. the unchanging and unchangeable nature of something which is necessary to its being the thing it is; its necessary properties
b. the properties in virtue of which something is called by its name
c. the nature of something as distinct from, and logically prior to, its existence
2. Theol an immaterial or spiritual entity
3. 
a. the constituent of a plant, usually an oil, alkaloid, or glycoside, that determines its chemical or pharmacological properties
b. an alcoholic solution of such a substance
4. a substance, usually a liquid, containing the properties of a plant or foodstuff in concentrated form
References in classic literature ?
He was kept in sight while remaining himself - as regards the essence of his position - sightless, and his only recourse then was in abrupt turns, rapid recoveries of ground.
The difficulty was that this exactly was what he never did; it was against his whole policy, as he might have said, the essence of which was to keep vistas clear.
As, in the sun, objects paint their images on the retina of the eye, so they, sharing the aspiration of the whole universe, tend to paint a far more delicate copy of their essence in his mind.
The essence of religious feeling has nothing to do with reason, or atheism, or crime, or acts of any kind--it has nothing to do with these things--and never had.
Their essence is not less beautiful than their appearance, though it needs finer organs for its apprehension.
Concerning each of which many seem to have fallen into very great errors; for by invention, I believe, is generally understood a creative faculty, which would indeed prove most romance writers to have the highest pretensions to it; whereas by invention is really meant no more (and so the word signifies) than discovery, or finding out; or to explain it at large, a quick and sagacious penetration into the true essence of all the objects of our contemplation.
It is indeed unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle.
He is the sublimated essence of Butt-in; the refined, intrinsic extract of Rubber; the concentrated, purified, irrefutable, unavoidable spirit of Curiosity and Inquisitiveness.
In this first lecture I shall be concerned to refute a theory which is widely held, and which I formerly held myself: the theory that the essence of everything mental is a certain quite peculiar something called "consciousness," conceived either as a relation to objects, or as a pervading quality of psychical phenomena.
As long as he followed the fixed definition of obscure words such as SPIRIT, WILL, FREEDOM, ESSENCE, purposely letting himself go into the snare of words the philosophers set for him, he seemed to comprehend something.
Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part.
All the time he passed with his mother he employed in admiring her arms, in giving his opinion upon her cosmetics, and receipts for compounding essences, in which she was very particular; and then, too, he kissed her hands and cheeks in the most childlike and endearing manner, and had always some sweetmeats to offer her, or some new style of dress to recommend.