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

Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):37 – 60 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX

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.

Similar books and articles

The Semantic Realism/Anti-Realism Dispute and Knowledge of Meanings.Panu Raatikainen - 2009 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 5:1-13.
Semantic internalism and externalism.Katalin Farkas - 2006 - In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 323.
Intuitions, Externalism, and Conceptual Analysis.Jussi Haukioja - 2009 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 2 (2):81-93.
Was Heidegger an externalist?Cristina Lafont - 2005 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 48 (6):507 – 532.
The depths and shallows of psychological externalism.Andrew Sneddon - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (3):393 - 408.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-02-18

Downloads
724 (#11,952)

6 months
4 (#182,797)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Jussi Jylkkä
University of Turku
Jussi Haukioja
Norwegian University of Science and Technology