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  1. Against Arguments From Diagnostic Reasoning.Jeske Toorman - 2023 - Cognitive Science 47 (11):e13376.
    Recent work in cognitive psychology and experimental semantics indicates that people do not categorize natural kinds solely by virtue of their purported scientific essence. Two attempts have been made to explain away the data by appealing to the idea that participants in these studies are reasoning diagnostically. I will argue that an appeal to diagnostic reasoning will likely not help to explain away the data.
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  • 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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  • Teleological powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (4):336-358.
    Analytic Philosophy, Volume 62, Issue 4, Page 336-358, December 2021.
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  • A Teleological Approach to the Ontological Status of Human Cerebral Organoids.Takuya Niikawa, Yoshiyuki Hayashi & Tsutomu Sawai - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):204-206.
    In the target article, Zilio and Lavazza (2023) persuasively argue that an ontological analysis of human cerebral organoids (HCOs) is necessary to identify their moral status. Although they also pr...
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  • Psychological Essentialism and the Structure of Concepts.Eleonore Neufeld - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (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):e12873.
    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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  • Constructivist Set-Theoretic Analysis: An Alternative to Essentialist Social Science.James Mahoney - 2023 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 53 (4):327-366.
    Psychological essentialism is a cognitive bias through which human beings conceive the entities around them as having inner essences and basic natures. Social scientists routinely generate flawed inferences because their methods require the truth of psychological essentialism. This article develops set-theoretic analysis as a scientific-constructivist approach that overcomes the bias of psychological essentialism. With this approach, the “sets” of set-theoretic analysis are mental phenomena that establish boundaries and identify similarities and differences among entities whose natural kind composition is not known. (...)
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  • Twenty years of experimental philosophy research.Jincai Li & Xiaozhen Zhu - 2023 - Metaphilosophy 54 (1):29-53.
    This paper reports the first study in the literature that adopts a bibliometric approach to systematically explore the scholarship in the young and fast‐growing research field of experimental philosophy. Based on a corpus of 1,248 publications in experimental philosophy from the past two decades retrieved from the PhilPapers website, the study examined the publication trend, the influential experimental philosophers, the impactful works, the popular publication venues, and the major research themes in this subarea of philosophy. It found, first, an overall (...)
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  • In defense of teleological intuitions.Gergely Kertész & Daniel Kodaj - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (4):1421-1437.
    According to recent work in experimental philosophy, folk intuitions concerning various metaphysical issues are heavily teleological. The experiments in question, which belong to a broader research program in psychology about ‘promiscuous teleology’, have featured prominently in debates about the methodology of metaphysics, with some authors claiming that the folk’s teleological bias debunks everyday intuitions concerning composition, persistence, and organisms. The present paper argues for a possibility that is very rarely discussed in that debate, namely the idea that the folk’s intuitions (...)
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  • Are Natural Kind Terms Ambiguous?Jussi Haukioja, Jeske Toorman, Giosuè Baggio & Jussi Jylkkä - 2023 - Cognitive Science 47 (9):e13335.
    Recent experimental studies have claimed to find evidence for the view that natural kind terms such as “water” are ambiguous: that they have two extensions, one determined by superficial properties, the other by underlying essence. In an online experiment, we presented to 600 participants scenarios describing discoveries of novel samples that differ in deep structure from samples of a familiar kind but are superficially identical, such as a water-like substance that is not composed of H2O. We used three different types (...)
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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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  • Teleology beyond explanation.Sehrang Joo, Sami R. Yousif & Joshua Knobe - 2021 - Mind and Language 38 (1):20-41.
    People often think of objects teleologically. For instance, we might understand a hammer in terms of its purpose of driving in nails. But how should we understand teleological thinking in the first place? This paper separates mere teleology (simply ascribing a telos) and teleological explanation (thinking something is explained by its telos) by examining cases where an object was designed for one purpose but is now widely used for a different purpose. Across four experiments, we show that teleology judgments and (...)
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  • Are we Teleologically Essentialist?Sehrang Joo & Sami R. Yousif - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (11):e13202.
    People may conceptualize certain categories as held together by a category-specific “essence”—some unobservable, critical feature that causes the external features of a category to emerge. But what is the nature of this essence? Recently, Rose and Nichols have argued that something's essence is fundamentally its telos or purpose. However, Neufeld has challenged this work on theoretical grounds, arguing that these effects arise only because people infer an underlying internal change when reasoning about a change in telos. In Neufeld's view, it (...)
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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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  • The Compact Compendium of Experimental Philosophy.Alexander Max Bauer & Stephan Kornmesser (eds.) - 2023 - Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.
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  • Conceptual Revision in Action.Ethan Landes & Kevin Reuter - manuscript
    Conceptual engineering is the practice of revising concepts to improve how people talk and think. Its ability to improve talk and thought ultimately hinges on the successful dissemination of desired conceptual changes. Unfortunately, the field has been slow to develop methods to directly test what barriers stand in the way of propagation and what methods will most effectively propagate desired conceptual change. In order to test such questions, this paper introduces the masked time-lagged method. The masked time-lagged method tests people's (...)
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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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