more from Thomas Reid

Single Idea 23647

[catalogued under 9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 4. Essence as Definition]

Full Idea

Individuals and objects have a real essence, or constitution of nature, from which all their qualities flow: but this essence our faculties do not comprehend. They are therefore incapable of definition.

Gist of Idea

Objects have an essential constitution, producing its qualities, which we are too ignorant to define


Thomas Reid (Essays on Intellectual Powers 4: Conception [1785], 1)

Book Reference

Reid,Thomas: 'Inquiry and Essays', ed/tr. Beanblossom /K.Lehrer [Hackett 1983], p.223

A Reaction

Aha - he's one of us! I prefer the phrase 'essential nature' of an object, which is understood, I think, by everyone. I especially like the last bit, directed at those who mistakenly think that Aristotle identified the essence with the definition.

Related Idea

Idea 13771 Real essence is the constitution of the unknown parts of a body which produce its qualities [Locke]