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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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  • Keeping context in mind: a non-semantic explanation of apparent context-sensitivity.Mark Bowker - 2023 - Linguistics and Philosophy 47 (1):191-209.
    Arguments for context-sensitivity are often based on judgments about the truth values of sentences: a sentence seems true in one context and false in another, so it is argued that the truth conditions of the sentence shift between these contexts. Such arguments rely on the assumption that our judgments reflect the actual truth values of sentences in context. Here, I present a non-semantic explanation of these judgments. In short, our judgments about the truth values of sentences are driven by heuristics (...)
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  • Wanting is not expected utility.Tomasz Zyglewicz - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper, I criticize Ethan Jerzak’s view that ‘want’ has only one sense, the mixed expected utility sense. First, I show that his appeals to ‘really’-locutions fail to explain away the counterintuitive predictions of his view. Second, I present a class of cases, which I call “principled indifference” cases, that pose difficulties for any expected utility lexical entry for ‘want’. I argue that in order to account for these cases, one needs to concede that ‘want’ has a sense, according (...)
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  • From the epistemic perspectives in experimental semantics to the ambiguity of proper names: Is the inference warranted? A critical notice of Jincai Li's The referential mechanism of proper names.Nicolò D'Agruma - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (4):1138-1146.
    In her engaging book, The referential mechanism of proper names, Li presents empirical studies involving American and Chinese laypeople. Li interprets her results as supporting an epistemic‐perspective reading of the variability in referential intuitions on proper names. Building upon this thesis, Li defends the ambiguity view, claiming that names are ambiguous between a descriptivist and a causal‐historical meaning. I argue that either Li's data do not enable a comparison of the two theories of reference, or support for the ambiguity view (...)
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  • Two sorts of biological kind terms: The cases of ‘rice’ and ‘Rio de janeiro Myrtle’.Michael Devitt & Brian Porter - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Experiments have led some philosophers to conclude that the reference determination of natural kind terms is neither simply descriptive nor simply causal-historical. Various theories have been aired to account for this, including ambiguity, hybrid, and different-idiolects theories. Devitt and Porter (2021) hypothesized that some terms are covered by one theory, some another, with a place for all the proposed theories. The present paper tests hypotheses that the term ‘Rio de Janeiro Myrtle’ is simply causal-historical but the term ‘rice’ is hybrid. (...)
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  • Demographic Differences in Philosophical Intuition: a Reply to Joshua Knobe.Stephen P. Stich & Edouard Machery - 2023 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (2):401-434.
    In a recent paper, Joshua Knobe (2019) offers a startling account of the metaphilosophical implications of findings in experimental philosophy. We argue that Knobe’s account is seriously mistaken, and that it is based on a radically misleading portrait of recent work in experimental philosophy and cultural psychology.
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  • Teleological Essentialism: Generalized.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (3):e12818.
    Natural/social kind essentialism is the view that natural kind categories, both living and non-living natural kinds, as well as social kinds (e.g., race, gender), are essentialized. On this view, artifactual kinds are not essentialized. Our view—teleological essentialism—is that a broad range of categories are essentialized in terms of teleology, including artifacts. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments typically used to provide evidence of essentialist thinking—involving superficial change (study 1), transformation of insides (study 2) and inferences about offspring (study 3)—we find (...)
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  • Teleological Essentialism.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (4):e12725.
    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 (...)
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  • What is the folk concept of life?Kevin Reuter & Claus Beisbart - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (2):486-507.
    This paper details the content and structure of the folk concept of life, and discusses its relevance for scientific research on life. In four empirical studies, we investigate which features of life are considered salient, universal, central, and necessary. Functionings, such as nutrition and reproduction, but not material composition, turn out to be salient features commonly associated with living beings (Study 1). By contrast, being made of cells is considered a universal feature of living species (Study 2), a central aspect (...)
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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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  • Are there really any dual‐character concepts?David Plunkett & Jonathan Phillips - 2023 - Philosophical Perspectives 37 (1):340-369.
    There has been growing excitement in recent years about “dual‐character” concepts. Philosophers have argued that such concepts can help us make progress on a range of philosophical issues, from aesthetics to law to metaphysics. Dual‐character concepts are thought to have a distinctive internal structure, which relates a set of descriptive features to an abstract value, and which allows people to use either the descriptive features or the abstract value for determining the extension of the concept. Here, we skeptically investigate the (...)
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  • “They're Not True Humans:” Beliefs about Moral Character Drive Denials of Humanity.Ben Phillips - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (2):e13089.
    A puzzling feature of paradigmatic cases of dehumanization is that the perpetrators often attribute uniquely human traits to their victims. This has become known as the “paradox of dehumanization.” We address the paradox by arguing that the perpetrators think of their victims as human in one sense, while denying that they are human in another sense. We do so by providing evidence that people harbor a dual character concept of humanity. Research has found that dual character concepts have two independent (...)
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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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  • Is Identity Essentialism a Fundamental Feature of Human Cognition?Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola, Hyundeuk Cheon, Irma T. Kurniawan, Carlos Mauro, Noel Struchiner & Harry Susianto - 2023 - Cognitive Science 47 (5):e13292.
    The present research examines whether identity essentialism, an important component of psychological essentialism, is a fundamental feature of human cognition. Across three studies (Ntotal = 1723), we report evidence that essentialist intuitions about the identity of kinds are culturally dependent, demographically variable, and easily malleable. The first study considered essentialist intuitions in 10 different countries spread across four continents. Participants were presented with two scenarios meant to elicit essentialist intuitions. Their answers suggest that essentialist intuitions vary dramatically across cultures. Furthermore, (...)
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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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  • Dual Character Art Concepts.Shen-yi Liao, Aaron Meskin & Joshua Knobe - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):102-128.
    Our goal in this paper is to articulate a novel account of the ordinary concept ART. At the core of our account is the idea that a puzzle surrounding our thought and talk about art is best understood as just one instance of a far broader phenomenon. In particular, we claim that one can make progress on this puzzle by drawing on research from cognitive science on dual character concepts. Thus, we suggest that the very same sort of phenomenon that (...)
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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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  • Reports from Twin Earth: Both deep structure and appearance determine the reference of natural kind terms.Jussi Haukioja, Mons Nyquist & Jussi Jylkkä - 2020 - Mind and Language 36 (3):377-403.
    Following the influential thought experiments by Hilary Putnam and others, philosophers of language have for the most part adopted semantic externalism concerning natural kind terms. In this article, we present results from three experiments on the reference of natural kind terms. Our results confirm some standard externalist assumptions, but are in conflict with others: Ordinary speakers take both appearance and underlying nature to be central in their categorization judgments. Moreover, our results indicate that speakers’ categorization judgments are gradual, and proportional (...)
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  • Gender Categories as Dual‐Character Concepts?Cai Guo, Carol S. Dweck & Ellen M. Markman - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (5):e12954.
    Seminal work by Knobe, Prasada, and Newman (2013) distinguished a set of concepts, which they named “dual‐character concepts.” Unlike traditional concepts, they require two distinct criteria for determining category membership. For example, the prototypical dual‐character concept “artist” has both a concrete dimension of artistic skills, and an abstract dimension of aesthetic sensibility and values. Therefore, someone can be a good artist on the concrete dimension but not truly an artist on the abstract dimension. Does this analysis capture people's understanding of (...)
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  • Lying versus misleading, with language and pictures: the adverbial account.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2023 - Linguistics and Philosophy 46 (3):509-532.
    We intuitively make a distinction between _lying_ and _misleading_. On the explanation of this phenomenon favored here—the _adverbial_ account—the distinction tracks whether the content and its truth-committing force are literally conveyed. On an alternative _commitment_ account, the difference between lying and misleading is predicated instead on the strength of assertoric commitment. One lies when one presents with full assertoric commitment what one believes to be false; one merely misleads when one presents it without full assertoric commitment, by merely hinting or (...)
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  • How to Understand Rule-Constituted Kinds.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (1):7-27.
    The paper distinguishes between two conceptions of kinds defined by constitutive rules, the one suggested by Searle, and the one invoked by Williamson to define assertion. Against recent arguments to the contrary by Maitra, Johnson and others, it argues for the superiority of the latter in the first place as an account of games. On this basis, the paper argues that the alleged disanalogies between real games and language games suggested in the literature in fact don’t exist. The paper relies (...)
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  • The Folk Concept of Law: Law Is Intrinsically Moral.Brian Flanagan & Ivar R. Hannikainen - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1):165-179.
    ABSTRACT Most theorists agree that our social order includes a distinctive legal dimension. A fundamental question is that of whether reference to specific legal phenomena always involves a commitment to a particular moral view. Whereas many philosophers advance the ‘positivist’ claim that any correspondence between morality and the law is just a function of political circumstance, natural law theorists insist that law is intrinsically moral. Each school claims the crucial advantage of consistency with our folk concept. Drawing on the notion (...)
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  • The essence of essentialism.George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (5):585-605.
    Over the past several decades, psychological essentialism has been an important topic of study, incorporating research from multiple areas of psychology, philosophy and linguistics. At its most basic level, essentialism is the tendency to represent certain concepts in terms of a deeper, unobservable property that is responsible for category membership. Originally, this concept was used to understand people’s reasoning about natural kind concepts, such as TIGER and WATER, but more recently, researchers have identified the emergence of essentialist-like intuitions in a (...)
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  • Testing the Reference of Biological Kind Terms.Michael Devitt & Brian C. Porter - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (5):e12979.
    Recent experimental work on “natural” kind terms has shown evidence of both descriptive and nondescriptive reference determination. This has led some to propose ambiguity or hybrid theories, as opposed to traditional description and causal‐historical theories of reference. Many of those experiments tested theories against referential intuitions. We reject this method, urging that reference should be tested against usage, preferably by elicited production. Our tests of the usage of a biological kind term confirm that there are indeed both descriptive and causal‐historical (...)
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  • Rule is a dual character concept.Guilherme da Franca Couto Fernandes de Almeida, Noel Struchiner & Ivar Rodriguez Hannikainen - 2023 - Cognition 230 (C):105259.
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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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  • 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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  • How Beliefs are like Colors.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
    Teresa believes in God. Maggie’s wife believes that the Earth is flat, and also that Maggie should be home from work by now. Anouk—a cat—believes it is dinner time. This dissertation is about what believing is: it concerns what, exactly, ordinary people are attributing to Teresa, Maggie’s wife, and Anouk when affirming that they are believers. Part I distinguishes the attitudes of belief that people attribute to each other (and other animals) in ordinary life from the cognitive states of belief (...)
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