real definition

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John Locke (1632—1704) philosopher


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A definition thought of as getting at what the object defined really is, as opposed to a nominal definition, that merely indicates enough properties to locate it: ‘gold is the element with atomic number 79 (or atomic weight 196·967)’ might be a real definition, as opposed to ‘gold is the yellow, shiny, heavy, valuable stuff of which a lot is kept in Fort Knox’. The distinction is associated with Locke. See also essence.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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