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  1. What’s Left of Human Nature? A Post-Essentialist, Pluralist and Interactive Account of a Contested Concept.Maria E. Kronfeldner - 2018 - Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    Human nature has always been a foundational issue for philosophy. What does it mean to have a human nature? Is the concept the relic of a bygone age? What is the use of such a concept? What are the epistemic and ontological commitments people make when they use the concept? In What’s Left of Human Nature? Maria Kronfeldner offers a philosophical account of human nature that defends the concept against contemporary criticism. In particular, she takes on challenges related to social (...)
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  • Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others.David Livingstone Smith - 2011 - St. Martins Press.
    Less Than Human is a chilling indictment of our nature, and is as timely as it is relevant.
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  • On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It.David Livingstone Smith - 2020 - Oup Usa.
    Throughout the darkest moments of human history, evildoers have convinced communities to turn on groups that are regarded as in some way other and, by starting to think of them as less than human, persecute or even eliminate them. We can all recognize the unfathomable evils of dehumanization in slavery, the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the Jim Crow South, but we are not free from its power today. With climate change and political upheaval driving millions of refugees worldwide to (...)
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  • Water is and is not H 2 O.Kevin P. Tobia, George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2019 - Mind and Language 35 (2):183-208.
    The Twin Earth thought experiment invites us to consider a liquid that has all of the superficial properties associated with water (clear, potable, etc.) but has entirely different deeper causal properties (composed of “XYZ” rather than of H2O). Although this thought experiment was originally introduced to illuminate questions in the theory of reference, it has also played a crucial role in empirically informed debates within the philosophy of psychology about people’s ordinary natural kind concepts. Those debates have sought to accommodate (...)
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  • Water is and is not H 2 O.Kevin P. Tobia, George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2019 - Mind and Language 35 (2):183-208.
    The Twin Earth thought experiment invites us to consider a liquid that has all of the superficial properties associated with water (clear, potable, etc.) but has entirely different deeper causal properties (composed of “XYZ” rather than of H2O). Debates about natural kind concepts have sought to accommodate an apparent fact about ordinary people's judgments: Intuitively, the Twin Earth liquid is not water. We present results showing that people do not have this intuition. Instead, people tend to judge that there is (...)
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  • The essential moral self.Nina Strohminger & Shaun Nichols - 2014 - Cognition 131 (1):159-171.
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  • Paradoxes of Dehumanization.David Livingstone Smith - 2016 - Social Theory and Practice 42 (2):416-443.
    In previous writings, I proposed that we dehumanize others by attributing the essence of a less-than-human creature to them, in order to disable inhibitions against harming them. However, this account is inconsistent with the fact that dehumanizers implicitly, and often explicitly, acknowledge the human status of their victims. I propose that when we dehumanize others, we regard them as simultaneously human and subhuman. Drawing on the work of Ernst Jentsch, Mary Douglas, and Noël Carroll, I argue that the notion of (...)
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  • Dehumanization, Essentialism, and Moral Psychology.David Livingstone Smith - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (11):814-824.
    Despite its importance, the phenomenon of dehumanization has been neglected by philosophers. Since its introduction, the term “dehumanization” has come to be used in a variety of ways. In this paper, I use it to denote the psychological stance of conceiving of other human beings as subhuman creatures. I draw on an historical example – Morgan Godwyn's description of 17th century English colonists' dehumanization of African slaves and use this to identify three explanatory desiderata that any satisfactory theory of dehumanization (...)
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  • What is a colleague? The descriptive and normative dimension of a dual character concept.Kevin Reuter, Jörg Löschke & Monika Betzler - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (7):997-1017.
    Colleagues are not only an integral part of many people’s lives; empirical research suggests that having a good relationship with one’s colleagues is the single most important factor for being happy at work. However, so far, no one has provided a comprehensive account of what it means to be a colleague. To address this lacuna, we have conducted both an empirical as well as theoretical investigation into the content and structure of the concept ‘colleague.’ Based on the empirical evidence that (...)
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  • The Ordinary Concept of Happiness (and Others Like It).Jonathan Phillips, Luke Misenheimer & Joshua Knobe - 2011 - Emotion Review 3 (3):929-937.
    Consider people’s ordinary concept of belief. This concept seems to pick out a particular psychological state. Indeed, one natural view would be that the concept of belief works much like the concepts one finds in cognitive science – not quite as rigorous or precise, perhaps, but still the same basic type of notion. But now suppose we turn to other concepts that people ordinarily use to understand the mind. Suppose we consider the concept happiness. Or the concept love. How are (...)
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  • True happiness: The role of morality in the folk concept of happiness.Jonathan Phillips, Christian Mott, Julian De Freitas, June Gruber & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 146 (2):165-181.
    Recent scientific research has settled on a purely descriptive definition of happiness that is focused solely on agents’ psychological states (high positive affect, low negative affect, high life satisfaction). In contrast to this understanding, recent research has suggested that the ordinary concept of happiness is also sensitive to the moral value of agents’ lives. Five studies systematically investigate and explain the impact of morality on ordinary assessments of happiness. Study 1 demonstrates that moral judgments influence assessments of happiness not only (...)
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  • Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment.George E. Newman, Julian De Freitas & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (1):96-125.
    Past research has identified a number of asymmetries based on moral judgments. Beliefs about what a person values, whether a person is happy, whether a person has shown weakness of will, and whether a person deserves praise or blame seem to depend critically on whether participants themselves find the agent's behavior to be morally good or bad. To date, however, the origins of these asymmetries remain unknown. The present studies examine whether beliefs about an agent's “true self” explain these observed (...)
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  • “Internally Wicked”: Investigating How and Why Essentialism Influences Punitiveness and Moral Condemnation.Justin W. Martin & Larisa Heiphetz - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (6):e12991.
    Kant argued that individuals should be punished “proportional to their internal wickedness,” and recent work has demonstrated that essentialism—the notion that observable characteristics reflect internal, biological, unchanging “essences”—influences moral judgment. However, these efforts have yielded conflicting results: essentialism sometimes increases and sometimes decreases moral condemnation. To resolve these discrepancies, we investigated the mechanisms by which essentialism influences moral judgment, focusing on perceptions of actors’ control over their behavior, the target of essentialism (particular behaviors vs. actors’ character), and the component of (...)
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  • Humanism.Kate Manne - 2016 - Social Theory and Practice 42 (2):389-415.
    This paper considers the moral psychology of interpersonal conduct that is cruel, brutal, humiliating, or degrading. On the view I call “humanism,” such behavior often stems from the perpetrators’ dehumanizing view of their targets. The former may instead see the latter as subhuman creatures, nonhuman animals, supernatural beings, or even mindless objects. If people recognized their common humanity, they would have a hard time mistreating other human beings. This paper criticizes humanism so understood, arguing that its explanatory power is often (...)
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  • “Hillary Clinton is the Only Man in the Obama Administration”: Dual Character Concepts, Generics, and Gender.Sarah-Jane Leslie - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (2):111-141.
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  • Dual character concepts and the normative dimension of conceptual representation.Joshua Knobe, Sandeep Prasada & George E. Newman - 2013 - Cognition 127 (2):242-257.
    Five experiments provide evidence for a class of ‘dual character concepts.’ Dual character concepts characterize their members in terms of both (a) a set of concrete features and (b) the abstract values that these features serve to realize. As such, these concepts provide two bases for evaluating category members and two different criteria for category membership. Experiment 1 provides support for the notion that dual character concepts have two bases for evaluation. Experiments 2-4 explore the claim that dual character concepts (...)
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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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  • No convincing evidence outgroups are denied uniquely human characteristics: Distinguishing intergroup preference from trait-based dehumanization.Florence E. Enock, Jonathan C. Flavell, Steven P. Tipper & Harriet Over - 2021 - Cognition 212 (C):104682.
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  • To be or not to be human: Resolving the paradox of dehumanisation.Adrienne de Ruiter - 2023 - European Journal of Political Theory 22 (1):73-95.
    Dehumanisation is a puzzling phenomenon. Nazi propaganda likened the Jews to rats, but also portrayed them as ‘poisoners of culture’. In the Soviet Union, the Stalinist regime called opponents vermin, yet put them on show trials. During the Rwandan genocide, the Hutus identified the Tutsis with cockroaches, but nonetheless raped Tutsi women. These examples reveal tensions in the way in which dehumanisers perceive, portray and treat victims. Dehumanisation seems to require that perpetrators both deny and acknowledge the humanity of their (...)
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  • To be or not to be human: Resolving the paradox of dehumanisation.Adrienne de Ruiter - 2023 - European Journal of Political Theory 22 (1):73-95.
    Dehumanisation is a puzzling phenomenon. Nazi propaganda likened the Jews to rats, but also portrayed them as ‘poisoners of culture’. In the Soviet Union, the Stalinist regime called opponents vermin, yet put them on show trials. During the Rwandan genocide, the Hutus identified the Tutsis with cockroaches, but nonetheless raped Tutsi women. These examples reveal tensions in the way in which dehumanisers perceive, portray and treat victims. Dehumanisation seems to require that perpetrators both deny and acknowledge the humanity of their (...)
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  • Dual Character Concepts in Social Cognition: Commitments and the Normative Dimension of Conceptual Representation.Guillermo Del Pinal & Kevin Https://Orcidorg Reuter - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (S3):477–501.
    The concepts expressed by social role terms such as artist and scientist are unique in that they seem to allow two independent criteria for categorization, one of which is inherently normative. This study presents and tests an account of the content and structure of the normative dimension of these “dual character concepts.” Experiment 1 suggests that the normative dimension of a social role concept represents the commitment to fulfill the idealized basic function associated with the role. Background information can affect (...)
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  • Feeling the right way: Normative influences on people's use of emotion concepts.Rodrigo Díaz & Kevin Reuter - 2020 - Mind and Language 36 (3):451-470.
    It is generally assumed that emotion concepts are purely descriptive. However, recent investigations suggest that the concept of happiness includes information about the morality of the agent's life. In this study, we argue that normative influences on emotion concepts are not restricted to happiness and are not about moral norms. In a series of studies, we show that emotion attribution is influenced by whether the agent's psychological and bodily states fit the situation in which they are experienced. People consider that (...)
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  • The true self: A psychological concept distinct from the self.Nina Strohminger, Joshua Knobe & George Newman - forthcoming - Perspectives on Psychological Science.
    A long tradition of psychological research has explored the distinction between characteristics that are part of the self and those that lie outside of it. Recently, a surge of research has begun examining a further distinction. Even among characteristics that are internal to the self, people pick out a subset as belonging to the true self. These factors are judged as making people who they really are, deep down. In this paper, we introduce the concept of the true self and (...)
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  • Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.Hannah Arendt - 1964 - Science and Society 28 (2):223-227.
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  • The Significance of Dehumanization: Nazi Ideology and its Psychological Consequences.Johannes Steizinger - 2018 - Politics, Religion and Ideology 19 (2):139‒157.
    Several authors have recently questioned whether dehumanization is a psychological prerequisite of mass violence. This paper argues that the significance of dehumanization in the context of National Socialism can be understood only if its ideological dimension is taken into account. The author concentrates on Alfred Rosenberg’s racist doctrine and shows that Nazi ideology can be read as a political anthropology that grounds both the belief in the German privilege and the dehumanization of the Jews. This anthropological framework combines biological, cultural (...)
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