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The philosophical tenet that objects and classes of objects have essential and not merely accidental characteristics.

es·sen′tial·ist adj.


1. (Philosophy) philosophy one of a number of related doctrines which hold that there are necessary properties of things, that these are logically prior to the existence of the individuals which instantiate them, and that their classification depends upon their satisfaction of sets of necessary conditions
2. (Education) the doctrine that education should concentrate on teaching basic skills and encouraging intellectual self-discipline
esˈsentialist n


(əˈsɛn ʃəˌlɪz əm)

an educational doctrine advocating the teaching of culturally important concepts, ideals, and skills to all students, regardless of individual ability, needs, etc. Compare progressivism.
es•sen′tial•ist, n., adj.


1. a philosophical theory asserting that metaphysical essences are real and intuitively accessible.
2. a philosophical theory giving priority to the inward nature, true substance, or constitution of something over its existence. Cf. existentialism.essentialist, n.essentialistic, adj.
See also: Philosophy
References in periodicals archive ?
The latter, Leary claims, is explained by her essentialist metaphysics:
Viewing it as constructivist, the author considers what race is through four concepts: the traditional, essentialist, hierarchical racialist concept that contends that races are based on biology and can be ranked as superior or inferior; the minimalist concept of race that focuses on differences in physical features corresponding to differences in geographical ancestry; the populationist concept that characterizes races as groups of populations belonging to biological lines of descent; and the concept of socialrace, or social groups that are taken to be racialist races.
Graham Taylor explains that 'the nation state provided a universalizing and internally consistent set of ideas about the role of the state in the process of human development, an essentialist view of human nature or the human condition and a utopian vision of the future.
The novel introduces a critique of essentialist understanding of identity, displaying the inevitably porous borders of cultural identities against a narrative background populated by characters who hold on to the essentialist idea of purity sought in religion, race and nationality.
In 2006, he published Europe, Une Passion Genocidaire (Europe: A Genocidal Passion), a work he defined as "an intellectual archeology of the Shoah" and an attempt to rehabilitate "a historical approach wrongly accused of being essentialist.
For those who espouse a more traditional interpretation of scripture, "sexual orientation is not understood in essentialist terms--it is seen as an element of a person's life, but not as a denning or essential aspect of the person's being and identity.
The assumptions about the grounds of essentialist truths concerning natural kinds familiar from the Kripke-Putnam framework are now considered questionable.
I ontological distinguishing type of status defined criterion foregoing by category lyric and epic Language deviation from essentialist poetry, etc.
This view is an essentialist view, while the subtle chaos view is existential in nature.
Essentialist appeals to the founders, he contends, carry "particularly heavy racial and gendered freight," reflecting and reinforcing the belief that the U.
This is consistent with psychological essentialist understandings concerning the 'true essence' of a person or object.