The term, "essence", is a technical term in philosophy.

The usefulness of the concept has been assessed differently by different philosophers. E.g., the concept has been highly estimated by Plato, Aristotle and Husserl, but dismissed by Kant. He dismisses the concept as a means to characterize a thing-in-itself.

My questions are:

  1. Which philosophical problems do you consider being solved by means of the concept of an „essence“?
  2. Which philosophical problems do you consider unsolvable without the concept of an „essence“?
  3. If you accept the concept „essence“ as useful, how do you determine the essence of a thing, i.e. of a living being or an inanimate object?
  4. If you accept the concept „essence“ as useful: Do you consider the essence of a thing as dependent also on your view onto the thing? Or do you take its essence as existing independently from all observers?

Please provide your answer with some arguments :-)

Remark: Due to Philips comment I tried to narrow down the space of possible answers by personalizing the questions.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Dec 10, 2018 at 22:14
  • Gurdjieff put great weight on essence. On the one side the dichotomy essence-personality, analogous to nature-nurture, distinguishes who we are from who we pretend/portend to be. On the other hand, essence by replacing "soul" redeems a Christianity greatly emasculated by cartesian body-soul duality followed by its complete destruction when secularism ejects soul utterly from "civilized" discourse.
    – Rushi
    Jul 20, 2019 at 5:51


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