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Real v Nominal Essence - Grade 90 The Idealist Real v...

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Grade: 90 The Idealist: Real v. Nominal Essence Nominal essences are those that rely on the five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. In other words, they “make use of secondary qualities” (Worldly Wisdom 238). One nominal essence, for example, is the smell of a specific perfume. The smell is a nominal essence because it does not define the perfume, and is a mere opinion of the person who smells it. This essence is dependent on the mind. One person may say the perfume has a fruity smell to it, while another may say it has a subtle powder-like smell. Locke notes, “nominal essences are the abstract ideas for which general terms stand” (239). People may create their own ideas of any particular substance or object. These distinctions do not alter the object’s definition by any means. Whether the perfume smells like a fruit or like a flower, it is still perfume. Real essences, however, are the exact opposite.
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