(Lat., quidditas, whatness) The real essence or nature of a thing; that which makes it the kind of thing that it is (sometimes opposed to haecceity which makes it the particular individual that it is). The whatness of things is thus a universal, in the sense that many different particulars may share the same essential properties. Quidditative knowledge would be knowledge of the real essence or nature of something; according to dominant theological tradition we cannot have quidditative knowledge of God, but at best know things about Him or Her, in a topic-neutral way. See also abstraction, universals.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • Quiddity — Quid di*ty, n.; pl. {Quiddities}. [LL. quidditas, fr. L. quid what, neut. of quis who, akin to E. who: cf. F. quiddit[ e].] 1. The essence, nature, or distinctive peculiarity, of a thing; that which answers the question, Quid est? or, What is it? …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • quiddity — index center (essence), character (personal quality), content (meaning), essence, gist (substance) …   Law dictionary

  • quiddity — (n.) 1530s, captious nicety in argument from M.L. quidditas, lit. whatness, from L. quid what, neuter of quis (see WHO (Cf. who)). Sense developed from scholastic disputes over the nature of things. Original meaning real essence or nature of a… …   Etymology dictionary

  • quiddity — [kwid′ə tē] n. pl. quiddities [ML quidditas < L quid, what, neut. of quis,WHO] 1. the essential quality of a thing 2. a trifling distinction; quibble …   English World dictionary

  • Quiddity — In scholastic philosophy , quiddity (Latin quidditas ) was another term for the essence of an object, literally its whatness, or what it is. The term derives from the Latin word quidditas, which was used by the medieval Scholastics as a literal… …   Wikipedia

  • quiddity — noun /ˈkwɪdɪti/ a) The essence or inherent nature of a person or thing. , 1962: My vision reeked with truth. It had the tone, / The quiddity and quaintness of its own / Reality. Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire b) A trifle; a nicety or quibble Syn:… …   Wiktionary

  • quiddity — noun (plural ties) Etymology: Middle English quidite, from Medieval Latin quidditat , quidditas essence, from Latin quid what, neuter of quis who more at who Date: 14th century 1. whatever makes something the type that it is ; essence 2. a. a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • quiddity — /kwid i tee/, n., pl. quiddities. 1. the quality that makes a thing what it is; the essential nature of a thing. 2. a trifling nicety of subtle distinction, as in argument. [1530 40; < ML quidditas, equiv. to L quid what + itas ITY] * * * …   Universalium

  • quiddity — Synonyms and related words: axiom, cavil, center, core, dodge, elixir, essence, essential, flower, focus, fundamental, gist, gravamen, heart, hypostasis, inner essence, jesuitism, kernel, marrow, meat, nub, nucleus, nuts and bolts, pith,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • quiddity — (mahiyya, lit. ‘whatness’)    See essence and existence …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

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