Answer to Question #181013 in Philosophy for Lakhe Mayaphi

Question #181013

what is essentialism

why this philosophy is called essentialism

where does this concept essentialism derived from

Expert's answer

  Essentialism is a set of belief that characters especially things have got a set of features which are capable of making them to be the way they are, and that duty of science and philosophy is their expression and discovery; the doctrine that importance is perquisite to existence( Ellis., 2014). Hence, this term is taken to be an educational philosophy. The main scope of essentialism is to instil the necessary skills, knowledge and character development in students. For instance, essentialism can be in this manner, having a belief that dinosaur have got a possibility of possessing true features which people cannot see directly.

Philosophy is called essentialism because it has got general approach which doesn’t have informative mode of featuring essential qualities of the product or item. Moreover, philosophy provides a direction that something might cease to come into existence if there are no properties which are essential to support its existence. In addition, philosophy always utilises the irreducible and changing ideologies in order to create a specific analogy about something with its respective characteristics that constitutes it. Philosophy also states that the preliminary cause of something to be into action or to exist must effectively originate from its substance (Matthes., 2016). Philosophy has got the ability to bring reified viewed of identities as essentialism does. Thus, without substance there will be no essence of being. Philosophy also utilises the strategy of responding to various problems of recognition and meaning by providing a clear outline of those problems from their essence. For instance, individual’s mind must have a capability which is empowering directly to contemplate essences of things. Thus, those provide the reasons as to why philosophy is being referred as essentialism.

Plato’s idealism perceived that things have got an essence to mean that they can be in a form. There have been several controversies dealing with the beginning of essentialism. For instance Socrates the notion that was claiming that people should accept an idea that anything which is beautiful takes an essence of beautiful.  The movement of essentialism began in USA in the year 1938. The group with essentialist ideology met and formed a committee known as Essentialist’s Committee for the Advancement of education. Their main aim was to reform system of education on a basis of rationale-based system. The first appearance of the term Essentialism was in a book written by Michael John, that book was An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. William Bagley was the most activist of Essentialism. He perceived that the main role of education was to preserve the society and not to change it. So generally the essentialism originates from the cognitive development of an individual. Due to that, as long one is capable of defending is ideology towards something he has the capacity of influencing others about such thing.




Ellis, B. (2014). The Philosophy of nature: A guide to the new essentialism. Routledge.

Matthes, E.H. (2016). Cultural appropriation without cultural essentialism? Social theory and practice, 343-366







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