absolute

absolute

[ab-suh-loot, ab-suh-loot]
absolute, in philosophy, the opposite of relative. The term has acquired numerous widely variant connotations in different philosophical systems. It means unlimited, unconditioned, or free of any relation; perfect, complete, or total; permanent, inherent, or ultimate; independent, or valid without reference to a perceiving subject. In epistemology, absolute means certain or indubitable as opposed to probable or hypothetical. As a substantive, the absolute is the ultimate basis of reality, the principle underlying the universe. Theologically, it is synonymous with, or characteristic of, God. Philosophically, it may be considered as the unknowable, the thing-in-itself; as that ultimate nonrelative that is the basis of all relation; as the ultimate, all-comprehensive principle in which all differences and distinctions are merged. The concept of the absolute was present in Greek philosophy. In modern times, both realists and idealists have used the term, but it is, perhaps, most intimately connected with the idealism of G. W. Hegel.

Temperature at which a thermodynamic system (see thermodynamics) has the lowest energy, 0 kelvin (K). It corresponds to −459.67°F (−273.15°C) and is the lowest possible temperature theoretically achievable by a system. A gas at constant pressure contracts as the temperature is decreased. A perfect gas would reach zero volume at absolute zero. However, a real gas condenses to a liquid or a solid at a temperature higher than absolute zero. At absolute zero, the system's molecular energy is minimal and none is available for transfer to other systems. The Kelvin temperature scale has absolute zero as its zero point, and its fundamental unit is the kelvin.

Learn more about absolute zero with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Political doctrine and practice of unlimited, centralized authority and absolute sovereignty, especially as vested in a monarch. Its essence is that the ruling power is not subject to regular challenge or check by any judicial, legislative, religious, economic, or electoral agency. Though it has been used throughout history, the form that developed in early modern Europe (16th–18th century) became the prototype; Louis XIV is seen as the epitome of European absolutism. Religious authority was assumed by the monarch, who became the head of the church as well as the state, on the basis that the right to rule came from God (see divine kingship). Seealso authoritarianism, dictatorship, totalitarianism.

Learn more about absolutism with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Absolute may mean:

Philosophy

Math and science

Popular culture

Other

  • Absolute Distilled Water, a brand of distilled water produced by Philippine's Asia Brewery
  • Absolut Vodka, a brand of Swedish vodka
  • Absolute Radio, the UK radio station formerly known as Virgin Radio
  • Absolute Yachts, an Italian brand of Motor Yacht
  • Absolute Entertainment, the video game company
  • Absolute (mixed martial arts), a weight class where any fighter of any weight can participate, only reserved for knock-out tournaments
  • Absolute, in grammar, one of three degrees of comparison
  • Absolute monarchy, a form of government found within a few nations
  • Absolute City Center, phases 1, 2 and 3 of the Fernbrook development in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Absolute, in perfumery : the aromatic result of a process using a solvent such as alcohol, hexane, or Carbon Dioxide to remove waxes and most odorless materials from aromatic 'concretes', producing an alcohol soluble or semi-liquid oil. Absolutes are highly concentrated. Waxes, terpenes, sesquiterpenes and most other odorless matters are eliminated from the aromatic concretes during the preparation of the absolutes.
Search another word or see absoluteon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature