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  1. Not the Same Same: Distinguishing Between Similarity and Identity in Judgments of Change.Melissa Finlay & Christina Starmans - 2022 - Cognition 218 (C):104953.
    What makes someone the same person over time? There are (at least) two ways of understanding this question: A person can be the same in the sense of being very similar to how they used to be (similarity), or they can be the same in the sense of being the same individual (numerical identity). In recent years, several papers have claimed to explore the commonsense notion of numerical identity. However, we suggest here that these researchers have instead been studying similarity. (...)
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  • Personal Identity, Direction of Change, and Neuroethics.Kevin Patrick Tobia - 2016 - Neuroethics 9 (1):37-43.
    The personal identity relation is of great interest to philosophers, who often consider fictional scenarios to test what features seem to make persons persist through time. But often real examples of neuroscientific interest also provide important tests of personal identity. One such example is the case of Phineas Gage – or at least the story often told about Phineas Gage. Many cite Gage’s story as example of severed personal identity; Phineas underwent such a tremendous change that Gage “survived as a (...)
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  • Teleological Essentialism: Generalized.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (3).
    Natural/social kind essentialism is the view that natural kind categories, both living and non-living natural kinds, as well as social kinds (e.g., race, gender), are essentialized. On this view, artifactual kinds are not essentialized. Our view—teleological essentialism—is that a broad range of categories are essentialized in terms of teleology, including artifacts. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments typically used to provide evidence of essentialist thinking—involving superficial change (study 1), transformation of insides (study 2) and inferences about offspring (study 3)—we find (...)
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  • Teleological Essentialism.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (4):e12725.
    Placeholder essentialism is the view that there is a causal essence that holds category members together, though we may not know what the essence is. Sometimes the placeholder can be filled in by scientific essences, such as when we acquire scientific knowledge that the atomic weight of gold is 79. We challenge the view that placeholders are elaborated by scientific essences. On our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments (...)
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  • Folk teleology drives persistence judgments.David Rose, Jonathan Schaffer & Kevin Tobia - 2020 - Synthese 197 (12):5491-5509.
    Two separate research programs have revealed two different factors that feature in our judgments of whether some entity persists. One program—inspired by Knobe—has found that normative considerations affect persistence judgments. For instance, people are more inclined to view a thing as persisting when the changes it undergoes lead to improvements. The other program—inspired by Kelemen—has found that teleological considerations affect persistence judgments. For instance, people are more inclined to view a thing as persisting when it preserves its purpose. Our goal (...)
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  • Psychological Essentialism and the Structure of Concepts.Eleonore Neufeld - 2022 - Philosophy Compass (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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  • Intuitions in the Ontology of Musical Works.Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (2):455-474.
    An impressive variety of theories of ontology of musical works has been offered in the last fifty years. Recently, the ontologists have been paying more attention to methodological issues, in particular, the problem of determining criteria of a good theory. Although different methodological approaches involve different views on the importance and exact role of intuitiveness of a theory, most philosophers writing on the ontology of music agree that intuitiveness and compliance with musical practice play an important part when judging theories. (...)
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  • My Friend’s True Self: Children’s Concept of Personal Identity.Michaela Jirout Košová, Robin Kopecký, Pavel Oulovský, Matěj Nekvinda & Jaroslav Flegr - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34 (1):47-75.
    Our study explores the folk concept of personal identity in the developmental context. Two hundred and seventeen Czech children participated in an interview study based on a hypothetical scenario about a sudden change in their friend, someone they know, or some other unspecified person. The children were asked to judge to what extent particular changes (from six categories of traits) would change the identity core of their friend or some other person on a seven-point scale. We introduced both positive and (...)
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  • The Essence of Essentialism.George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (5):585-605.
    Over the past several decades, psychological essentialism has been an important topic of study, incorporating research from multiple areas of psychology, philosophy and linguistics. At its most basic level, essentialism is the tendency to represent certain concepts in terms of a deeper, unobservable property that is responsible for category membership. Originally, this concept was used to understand people’s reasoning about natural kind concepts, such as TIGER and WATER, but more recently, researchers have identified the emergence of essentialist-like intuitions in a (...)
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  • Corporate Essence and Identity in Criminal Law.Mihailis E. Diamantis - 2018 - Journal of Business Ethics 154 (4):955-966.
    How can we know whether we are punishing the same corporation that committed some past crime? Though central to corporate criminal justice, legal theorists and philosophers have yet to address the basic question of how corporate identity persists through time. Simple cases, where crime and punishment are close in time and the corporation has changed little, can mislead us into thinking an answer is always easy to come by. The issue becomes more complicated when corporate criminals undergo any number of (...)
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  • Your Visual System Provides All the Information You Need to Make Moral Judgments About Generic Visual Events.Julian De Freitas & George A. Alvarez - 2018 - Cognition 178 (C):133-146.
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  • Consistent Belief in a Good True Self in Misanthropes and Three Interdependent Cultures.Julian De Freitas, Hagop Sarkissian, George E. Newman, Igor Grossmann, Felipe De Brigard, Andres Luco & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Cognitive Science 42 (S1):134-160.
    People sometimes explain behavior by appealing to an essentialist concept of the self, often referred to as the true self. Existing studies suggest that people tend to believe that the true self is morally virtuous; that is deep inside, every person is motivated to behave in morally good ways. Is this belief particular to individuals with optimistic beliefs or people from Western cultures, or does it reflect a widely held cognitive bias in how people understand the self? To address this (...)
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  • When Do Circumstances Excuse? Moral Prejudices and Beliefs About the True Self Drive Preferences for Agency-Minimizing Explanations.Simon Cullen - 2018 - Cognition 180 (C):165-181.
    When explaining human actions, people usually focus on a small subset of potential causes. What leads us to prefer certain explanations for valenced actions over others? The present studies indicate that our moral attitudes often predict our explanatory preferences far better than our beliefs about how causally sensitive actions are to features of the actor's environment. Study 1 found that high-prejudice participants were much more likely to endorse non-agential explanations of an erotic same-sex encounter, such as that one of the (...)
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  • Personal Identity.David Shoemaker & Kevin P. Tobia - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford:
    Our aim in this entry is to articulate the state of the art in the moral psychology of personal identity. We begin by discussing the major philosophical theories of personal identity, including their shortcomings. We then turn to recent psychological work on personal identity and the self, investigations that often illuminate our person-related normative concerns. We conclude by discussing the implications of this psychological work for some contemporary philosophical theories and suggesting fruitful areas for future work on personal identity.
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  • Purposes in Law and in Life: An Experimental Investigation of Purpose Attribution.Almeida Guilherme, Joshua Knobe, Noel Struchiner & Ivar Hannikainen - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence.
    There has been considerable debate in legal philosophy about how to attribute purposes to rules. Separately, within cognitive science, there has been a growing body of research concerned with questions about how people ordinarily attribute purposes. Here, we argue that these two separate fields might be connected by experimental jurisprudence. Across four studies, we find evidence for the claim that people use the same criteria to attribute purposes to physical objects and to rules. In both cases, purpose attributions appear to (...)
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  • Personal Identity and Dual Character Concepts.Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - In Kevin Tobia (ed.), Experimental Philosophy of Identity and the Self. Bloomsbury.