Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3975-3994 (2021)

Rebecca Mason
University of San Francisco
I defend a novel view of how social kinds (e.g., money, women, permanent residents) depend on our mental states. In particular, I argue that social kinds depend on our mental states in the following sense: it is essential to them that they exist (partially) because certain mental states exist. This analysis is meant to capture the very general way in which all social kinds depend on our mental states. However, my view is that particular social kinds also depend on our mental states in more specific ways—some of them causal, others metaphysical. I defend a minimal but metaphysically important notion of essence—one that takes as primary that the essential properties of a kind constitute its identity—and argue that this minimal notion of essence is all that is needed to vindicate my claim that social kinds are essentially mind-dependent.
Keywords social kinds  essence  mind dependence
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-021-01633-0
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Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
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