Substance theory  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Essence

In philosophy, essence is the attribute (or set of attributes) that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and that it has necessarily (in contrast with accidental properties that the object or substance has contingently, and without which the substance could have existed). The notion of essence has acquired many slightly but importantly different shades of meaning throughout the history of philosophy; most of them derive from its use by Aristotle and its evolution within the scholastic tradition.

Based on such considerations, essence was a key notion of alchemy (cf. quintessence).

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