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  1. Polysemy and Thought: Toward a Generative Theory of Concepts.Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (1):158-185.
    Most theories of concepts take concepts to be structured bodies of information used in categorization and inference. This paper argues for a version of atomism, on which concepts are unstructured symbols. However, traditional Fodorian atomism is falsified by polysemy and fails to provide an account of how concepts figure in cognition. This paper argues that concepts are generative pointers, that is, unstructured symbols that point to memory locations where cognitively useful bodies of information are stored and can be deployed to (...)
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  • Psychological Essentialism and the Structure of Concepts.Eleonore Neufeld - 2022 - Philosophy Compass (5):e12823.
    Psychological essentialism is the hypothesis that humans represent some categories as having an underlying essence that unifies members of a category and is causally responsible for their typical attributes and behaviors. Throughout the past several decades, psychological essentialism has emerged as an extremely active area of research in cognitive science. More recently, it has also attracted attention from philosophers, who put the empirical results to use in many different philosophical areas, ranging from philosophy of mind and cognitive science to social (...)
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  • Against Teleological Essentialism.Eleonore Neufeld - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (4):e12961.
    In two recent papers, Rose and Nichols present evidence in favor of the view that humans represent category essences in terms of a telos, such as honey-making, and not in terms of scientific essences, such as bee DNA. In this paper, I challenge their interpretation of the evidence, and show that it is directly predicted by the main theory they seek to undermine. I argue that their results can be explained as instances of diagnostic reasoning about scientific essences.
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  • Natural Compatibilism, Indeterminism, and Intrusive Metaphysics.Thomas Nadelhoffer, David Rose, Wesley Buckwalter & Shaun Nichols - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (8).
    The claim that common sense regards free will and moral responsibility as compatible with determinism has played a central role in both analytic and experimental philosophy. In this paper, we show that evidence in favor of this “natural compatibilism” is undermined by the role that indeterministic metaphysical views play in how people construe deterministic scenarios. To demonstrate this, we re-examine two classic studies that have been used to support natural compatibilism. We find that although people give apparently compatibilist responses, this (...)
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  • The Role of Teleological Thinking in Judgments of Persistence of Musical Works.Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė & Vilius Dranseika - 2022 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 80 (1):42-57.
    In his article “The Ontology of Musical Versions: Introducing the Hypothesis of Nested Types,” Nemesio Puy raises a hypothesis that continuity of the purpose is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for musical work’s identity. Puy’s hypothesis is relevant to two topics in cognitive psychology and experimental philosophy. The first topic is the prevalence of teleological reasoning about various objects and its influence on persistence and categorization judgments. The second one is the importance of an artist’s intention in the (...)
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  • Understanding “Why:” How Implicit Questions Shape Explanation Preferences.Sehrang Joo, Sami R. Yousif & Frank C. Keil - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (2):e13091.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 2, February 2022.
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  • My Friend’s True Self: Children’s Concept of Personal Identity.Michaela Jirout Košová, Robin Kopecký, Pavel Oulovský, Matěj Nekvinda & Jaroslav Flegr - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34 (1):47-75.
    Our study explores the folk concept of personal identity in the developmental context. Two hundred and seventeen Czech children participated in an interview study based on a hypothetical scenario about a sudden change in their friend, someone they know, or some other unspecified person. The children were asked to judge to what extent particular changes (from six categories of traits) would change the identity core of their friend or some other person on a seven-point scale. We introduced both positive and (...)
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  • Human Tool Cognition Relies on Teleology.Mikołaj Hernik - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43.
    Osiurak and Reynaud's account of human tool cognition misses key element: human capacity for functional representations and teleological inferences. I argue that the teleofunctional approach accounts better for some features of human tool cognition and points to a viable candidate for the cognitive “difference-maker” behind human technological success.
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  • Teleological Essentialism Across Development.Rose David, Sara Jaramillo, Shaun Nichols & Zachary Horne - forthcoming - Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
    Do young children have a teleological conception of the essence of natural kinds? We tested this by examining how the preservation or alteration of an animal’s purpose affected children’s persistence judgments (N = 40, ages 4 - 12, Mean Age = 7.04, 61% female). We found that even when surface-level features of an animal (e.g., a bee) were preserved, if the entity’s purpose changed (e.g., the bee now spins webs), children were more likely to categorize the entity as a member (...)
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  • Purposes in Law and in Life: An Experimental Investigation of Purpose Attribution.Almeida Guilherme, Joshua Knobe, Noel Struchiner & Ivar Hannikainen - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence.
    There has been considerable debate in legal philosophy about how to attribute purposes to rules. Separately, within cognitive science, there has been a growing body of research concerned with questions about how people ordinarily attribute purposes. Here, we argue that these two separate fields might be connected by experimental jurisprudence. Across four studies, we find evidence for the claim that people use the same criteria to attribute purposes to physical objects and to rules. In both cases, purpose attributions appear to (...)
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  • Personal Identity and Dual Character Concepts.Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - In Kevin Tobia (ed.), Experimental Philosophy of Identity and the Self. Bloomsbury.
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  • Teleology Beyond Explanation.Sehrang Joo, Sami Yousif & Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    People often think of and define objects teleologically. For instance, we might understand a hammer in terms of its purpose of driving in nails. Such teleological thinking also influences many further judgments, including of category membership, essence, causation, persistence, and mereology. But how should we understand teleological thinking in the first place? This paper addresses this question by separating two senses of teleological thinking: mere teleology (simply ascribing a telos to an object) and teleological explanation (thinking an object is actually (...)
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