Psychological essentialism and semantic externalism: Evidence for externalism in lay speakers' language use

Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):37 – 60 (2009)
Abstract
Some experimental studies have recently claimed to undermine semantic externalism about natural kind terms. However, it is unclear how philosophical accounts of reference can be experimentally tested. We present two externalistic adaptations of psychological placeholder essentialism, a strict externalist and a hybrid externalist view, which are experimentally testable. We examine Braisby, Franks, and Hampton's (1996) study which claims to undermine externalism, and argue that the study fails in its aims. We conducted two experiments, the results of which undermine internalism and the hybrid theory, and support strict externalism. Our conclusion is that lay speakers' natural kind concepts involve a belief in an external category essence, which determines reference.
Keywords Psychological essentialism  Reference  Semantic externalism  Natural kind terms
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References found in this work BETA
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 2010 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change.Joseph LaPorte - 2003 - Cambridge University Press.
Concepts and Stereotypes.Georges Rey - 1983 - Cognition 15 (1-3):237-62.

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Citations of this work BETA
On Deriving Essentialism From the Theory of Reference.Jussi Haukioja - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2141-2151.
A Multiple Realization Thesis for Natural Kinds.Kevin Lynch - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (3):389-406.
Hybrid Extensional Prototype Compositionality.Jussi Jylkkä - 2011 - Minds and Machines 21 (1):41-56.

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