Cognitive Science 43 (4):e12725 (2019)

Authors
David Rose
Stanford University
Abstract
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 used by traditional essentialists—involving superficial change (study 1), transformation of insides (study 2), acquired traits (study 3) and inferences about offspring (study 4)—we find support for the view that essences are elaborated by a telos. And we find evidence (study 5) that teleological essences may generate category judgments.
Keywords placeholder essentialism  scientific essentialism  teleology  Aristotelian essences  concepts
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DOI 10.1111/cogs.12725
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References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
The Essential Moral Self.Nina Strohminger & Shaun Nichols - 2014 - Cognition 131 (1):159-171.
Water is and is Not H 2 O.Kevin P. Tobia, George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (2):183-208.
The Lesson of Bypassing.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (4):599-619.

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Citations of this work BETA

Human Tool Cognition Relies on Teleology.Mikołaj Hernik - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43.
Against Teleological Essentialism.Eleonore Neufeld - forthcoming - Cognitive Science.

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