The double meanings of “essence”: The natural and humane sciences — a tentative linkage of Hegel, Dilthey, and Husserl [Book Review]

Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (1):143-155 (2009)

Abstract
Early in Aristotle’s terminology, and ever since, “essence” has been conceived as having two meanings, namely “universality” and “individuality”. According to the tradition of thought that has dominated throughout the history of Western philosophy, “essence” unequivocally refers to “universality”. As a matter of fact, however, “universality” cannot cover Aristotle’s definition and formulation of “essence”: Essence is what makes a thing “happen to be this thing.” “Individuality” should be the deep meaning of “essence”. By means of an analysis of some relevant Western thoughts and a review of cultural realities, it can be concluded that the difference between the attitudes toward things of the natural sciences and the humane sciences mainly lies in the fact that the former focus on the pursuit of universal regularity, whereas the latter go after the value and significance of human life. The movement from natural things to cultural things is a process in which essence shifts from universality to individuality. It is the author’s contention that what should be stressed in the fields of human culture and society is the construction of an ideal society that is “harmonious yet not identical”, on the basis of respecting and developing individual peculiarity and otherness.
Keywords essence  universality  individuality  natural science  human science  culture  本质  普遍性  个体性  自然科学  人文科学  文化
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11466-009-0009-2
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,992
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Metaphysics. Aristotle - 1960 - Univ of Michigan Pr.
A History of Western Philosophy.Bertrand Russell - 1947 - Mind 56 (222):151-166.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On the Essence of Substance as the Individual.Makoto Ozaki - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 7:185-189.
The Epistemology of Understanding.Neil Cooper - 1995 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 38 (3):205 – 215.
Essence and Properties.David S. Oderberg - 2011 - Erkenntnis 75 (1):85-111.
Individual and Essence in Aristotle's Metaphysics.S. Marc Cohen - 1978 - Paideia (Special Aristotle Edition):75-85.
Aquinas' Transcendences to Aristotle in the Doctrine of Essence.Dezhi Duan - 2007 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 2 (4):572-582.
Duns Scotus on Singular Essences.Peter King - 2005 - Medioevo 30:111-137.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
40 ( #180,976 of 2,319,701 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #446,517 of 2,319,701 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature