Why not call that which you’ve named the cup’s architecture, the cup’s essence? (Essence: the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, which determines its character.)
Blog: EA Patterns
(skiplumley’s question refers to this post: What is Architecture)
There isn’t any strong reason to avoid using the word essence to describe something definitive.
As long as we recognise that ‘essence’ is a philosophical term. It’s meaning depends on one’s ontological commitments.
Architecture intends structure. In the built world I think architecture is an appropriate term. In the video I posted the word architecture does the job very nicely. It is clear, to the point and does not invite too many digressions.
To quote a nineteenth-century american revivalist, “That is perfect that best suits the purpose for which it is intended.” As the purpose of the video is to get the viewer to think more deeply about what architecture is – I should think, by definition, architecture is a fine word to use in this context.
Which is not to say it is the perfect term to use in every possible answer to the question “What makes a cup a cup?”