The present paper focuses on essentialism about natural kinds as a case study in order to illustrate this more general point. Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam famously argued that natural kinds have essences, which are discovered by science, and which determine the extensions of our natural kind terms and concepts. This line of thought has been enormously influential in philosophy, and is often taken to have been established beyond doubt. The argument for the conclusion, however, makes critical use of intuitions, and I note that the intuitions are of the sort had by preschool children, and that they are traceable to a deep-seated cognitive outlook, which is often called “psychological essentialism.” Further, if we did not have such a cognitive outlook or implicit belief set—a belief set which is in fact in place by at least age 4—then we would not have the relevant philosophical intuitions. In light of this, I consider the question of whether natural kinds actually have scientifically discovered or discoverable essences, and whether these putative essences could determine the extensions of our terms and concepts as Kripke, Putnam, and many others have supposed. In fact, a number of philosophers of biology and chemistry have argued that biological and chemical kinds do not have such essences, yet these arguments—particularly in the case of chemistry—have not been assimilated by philosophers more generally. The reason for this poor assimilation is, I suggest, that the Kripke/Putnam view is just so intuitive. But this fact, I argue, is due to a deep-seated cognitive bias, rather than to any special insight into the nature of reality.