12 found
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  1. Engineering Social Concepts: Feasibility and Causal Models.Eleonore Neufeld - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    How feasible are conceptual engineering projects of social concepts that aim for the engineered concept to be widely adopted in ordinary everyday life? Predominant frameworks on the psychology of concepts that shape work on stereotyping, bias, and machine learning have grim implications for the prospects of conceptual engineers: conceptual engineering efforts are ineffective in promoting certain social-conceptual changes. Specifically, since conceptual components that give rise to problematic social stereotypes are sensitive to statistical structures of the environment, purely conceptual change won’t (...)
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  2. An Essentialist Theory of the Meaning of Slurs.Eleonore Neufeld - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    In this paper, I develop an essentialist model of the semantics of slurs. I defend the view that slurs are a species of kind terms: Slur concepts encode mini-theories which represent an essence-like element that is causally connected to a set of negatively-valenced stereotypical features of a social group. The truth-conditional contribution of slur nouns can then be captured by the following schema: For a given slur S of a social group G and a person P, S is true of (...)
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  3. Psychological Essentialism and the Structure of Concepts.Eleonore Neufeld - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12823.
    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 (...)
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  4. Asymmetry Effects in Generic and Quantified Generalizations.Kevin Reuter, Eleonore Neufeld & Guillermo Del Pinal - 2023 - Proceedings of the 45Th Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 45:1-6.
    Generic statements (‘Tigers have stripes’) are pervasive and early-emerging modes of generalization with a distinctive linguistic profile. Previous experimental work found that generics display a unique asymmetry between their acceptance conditions and the implications that are typically drawn from them. This paper presents evidence against the hypothesis that only generics display an asymmetry. Correcting for limitations of previous designs, we found a generalized asymmetry effect across generics, various kinds of explicitly quantified statements (‘most’, ‘some’, ‘typically’, ‘usually’), and variations in types (...)
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  5. Engineering Social Concepts: Labels and the Science of Categorization.Eleonore Neufeld - forthcoming - In Sally Haslanger, Karen Jones, Greg Restall, Francois Schroeter & Laura Schroeter (eds.), Mind, Language, and Social Hierarchy: Constructing a Shared Social World. Oxford University Press.
    One of the core insights from Eleanor Rosch’s work on categorization is that human categorization isn’t arbitrary. Instead, two psychological principles constrain possible systems of classification for all human cultures. According to these principles, the task of a category system is to provide maximum information with the least cognitive effort, and the perceived world provides us with structured rather than arbitrary features. In this paper, I show that Rosch's insights give us important resources for making progress on the 'feasibility question' (...)
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  6. How Does Pornography Change Desires? A Pragmatic Account.Junhyo Lee & Eleonore Neufeld - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Rae Langton and Caroline West famously argued that pornography operates like a language game, in that it introduces certain views about women into the common ground via presupposition accommodation. While this pragmatic model explains how pornography has the potential to change its viewers’ beliefs, it leaves open how pornography changes people’s desires. Our aim in this paper is to show how Langton and West’s discourse theoretic account of pornography can be refined to close this lacuna. Using tools from recent developments (...)
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  7. Against Teleological Essentialism.Eleonore Neufeld - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (4):e12961.
    In two recent papers, Rose and Nichols present evidence in favor of the view that humans represent category essences in terms of a telos, such as honey-making, and not in terms of scientific essences, such as bee DNA. In this paper, I challenge their interpretation of the evidence, and show that it is directly predicted by the main theory they seek to undermine. I argue that their results can be explained as instances of diagnostic reasoning about scientific essences.
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  8. On Subtweeting.Eleonore Neufeld & Elise Woodard - forthcoming - In Patrick Connolly, Sanford C. Goldberg & Jennifer Saul (eds.), Conversations Online. Oxford University Press.
    In paradigmatic cases of subtweeting, one Twitter user critically or mockingly tweets about another person without mentioning their username or their name. In this chapter, we give an account of the strategic aims of subtweeting and the mechanics through which it achieves them. We thereby hope to shed light on the distinctive communicative and moral texture of subtweeting while filling in a gap in the philosophical literature on strategic speech in social media. We first specify what subtweets are and identify (...)
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  9. Can we perceive mental states?Eleonore Neufeld - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):2245-2269.
    In this paper, I defend Non-Inferentialism about mental states, the view that we can perceive some mental states in a direct, non-inferential way. First, I discuss how the question of mental state perception is to be understood in light of recent debates in the philosophy of perception, and reconstruct Non-Inferentialism in a way that makes the question at hand—whether we can perceive mental states or not—scientifically tractable. Next, I motivate Non-Inferentialism by showing that under the assumption of the widely-accepted Principle (...)
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  10. Pornography and Dehumanization: The Essentialist Dimension.Eleonore Neufeld - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (4):703-717.
    The objective of this paper is to show that pornography dehumanizes women through essentialization. First, I argue that certain acts of subject-essentialization are acts of subject-dehumanization. Second, I demonstrate, by reviewing evidence about the linguistic material that we find in and around pornography, that pornography systematically deploys content that essentializes women in the ways identified as problematic. It follows that pornography dehumanizes women.
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    Intentional action processing results from automatic bottom-up attention: An EEG-investigation into the Social Relevance Hypothesis using hypnosis.Eleonore Neufeld, Elliot C. Brown, Sie-In Lee-Grimm, Albert Newen & Martin Brüne - 2016 - Consciousness and Cognition 42:101-112.
    Social stimuli grab our attention: we attend to them in an automatic and bottom-up manner, and ascribe them a higher degree of saliency compared to non-social stimuli. However, it has rarely been investigated how variations in attention affect the processing of social stimuli, although the answer could help us uncover details of social cognition processes such as action understanding. In the present study, we examined how changes to bottom-up attention affects neural EEG-responses associated with intentional action processing. We induced an (...)
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  12. Causal Structures in Language and Thought.Eleonore Neufeld - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
    This dissertation defends the view that concepts encode causal information and, for the first time, applies this view to a range of topics in the philosophy of language and social philosophy. In my first chapter (“Cognitive Essentialism and the Structure of Concepts”), I survey the current empirical and theoretical literature on causal-essentialist theories of concepts. In my second chapter (“Meaning Externalism and Causal Model Theory”), I propose an account of natural kind concepts according to which they encode statistical information of (...)
     
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