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n. in philosophy, the presumed ontological reality at the core of something that makes it what it is and not something else. There have been various philosophical attempts to define the difference between what something necessarily is and what it merely coincidentally is (see accidental property; essential property). In psychology, the concept of essence is relevant to discussions of personhood, including questions of human agency and of the self. It is thus important for personality theories. The view that human beings have certain important essential characteristics is known as essentialism. —essential adj.

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February 26th 2024