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Analysis of the moral act. A proposal

I. What is essentialism?

The first task to be addressed is to define exactly just what is understood by the term essentialism -or formalism, as it has also been called- and to ascertain its characteristics. From these basic observations will be derived a particular manner of viewing reality, along with some typical affirmations which will allow us to discover their presence in diverse contexts.

In order to study essentialism's basic characteristics, the best way of proceeding is to undertake a brief historical introduction showing its origins and fundamental manifestations. This proceeding is opportune in that essentialism is the recuperation of the forma mentis of medieval augustinianism after the introduction of Aristotle in Western Europe. Thus we will first need to analyze medieval augustinianism. But medieval augustinianism is in turn the philosophical current with origins in the Platonism corrected by St. Augustine. Consequently in order to understand medieval augustinianism correctly, we will have to return to Plato himself, in order to find some foundational ideas.


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