more from Anil Gupta

Single Idea 11216

[catalogued under 2. Reason / D. Definition / 6. Definition by Essence]

Full Idea

Some definitions aim at precision, others at fairness, or at accuracy, or at clarity, or at fecundity. But if definitions 'give the essence of things' (the Aristotelian formula), then it may not be a unitary kind of activity.

Gist of Idea

If definitions aim at different ideals, then defining essence is not a unitary activity


Anil Gupta (Definitions [2008], 1)

Book Reference

'Stanford Online Encyclopaedia of Philosophy', ed/tr. Stanford University [], p.2

A Reaction

We don't have to accept this conclusion so quickly. Human interests may shift the emphasis, but there may be a single ideal definition of which these various examples are mere parts.