Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
essentialismthe 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).