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definition of the word differentia

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Genus-differentia definition


From Latin differentia.



differentia (plural differentiae)

  1. (semantics, logic) A distinguishing feature which marks something off from other members of the same family.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Folio Society 2008, p. 38:
      That character, it seems to me, should be regarded as the practically important differentia of religion for our purpose.
    • 1928, E. M. Edghill, Categories, original by Aristotle:  
      If genera are different and co-ordinate, their differentiae are themselves different in kind. Take as an instance the genus ‘animal’ and the genus ‘knowledge’. ‘With feet’, ‘two-footed’, ‘winged’, ‘aquatic’, are differentiae of ‘animal’; the species of knowledge are not distinguished by the same differentiae.
  2. (taxonomy) The attribute that distinguishes a species from others of the same genus

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