Philosophy Compass (5):e12823 (2022)

Eleonore Neufeld
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Psychological essentialism is the hypothesis that humans represent some categories as having an underlying essence that unifies members of a category and is causally responsible for their typical attributes and behaviors. Throughout the past several decades, psychological essentialism has emerged as an extremely active area of research in cognitive science. More recently, it has also attracted attention from philosophers, who put the empirical results to use in many different philosophical areas, ranging from philosophy of mind and cognitive science to social philosophy. This article aims to give philosophers who are new to the topic an overview of the key empirical findings surrounding psychological essentialism, and some of the ways the hypothesis and its related findings have been discussed, extended, and applied in philosophical research.
Keywords psychological essentialism  concepts  categories  natural kinds  social kinds  dual character concepts  experimental philosophy  teleological essentialism
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Reprint years 2022
DOI 10.1111/phc3.12823
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References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Doing Without Concepts.Edouard Machery - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
The Construction of Human Kinds.Ron Mallon - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
The Essential Moral Self.Nina Strohminger & Shaun Nichols - 2014 - Cognition 131 (1):159-171.

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