Teleological Essentialism

David Rose, Shaun B Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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. In our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated by Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kind 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12725
JournalCognitive Science
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Fingerprint

Gold
Weights and Measures
Experiments

Keywords

  • Aristotelian essence
  • Placeholder essentialism
  • Scientific essentialism
  • Teleology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence

Cite this

Teleological Essentialism. / Rose, David; Nichols, Shaun B.

In: Cognitive Science, Vol. 43, No. 4, e12725, 01.04.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rose, David ; Nichols, Shaun B. / Teleological Essentialism. In: Cognitive Science. 2019 ; Vol. 43, No. 4.
@article{0ba9cd81b41042019d9001ec8f220643,
title = "Teleological Essentialism",
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. In our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated by Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kind 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 = "Aristotelian essence, Placeholder essentialism, Scientific essentialism, Teleology",
author = "David Rose and Nichols, {Shaun B}",
year = "2019",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/cogs.12725",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "43",
journal = "Cognitive Science",
issn = "0364-0213",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Teleological Essentialism

AU - Rose, David

AU - Nichols, Shaun B

PY - 2019/4/1

Y1 - 2019/4/1

N2 - 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. In our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated by Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kind 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.

AB - 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. In our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated by Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kind 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.

KW - Aristotelian essence

KW - Placeholder essentialism

KW - Scientific essentialism

KW - Teleology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85064502657&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85064502657&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/cogs.12725

DO - 10.1111/cogs.12725

M3 - Article

C2 - 31001881

AN - SCOPUS:85064502657

VL - 43

JO - Cognitive Science

JF - Cognitive Science

SN - 0364-0213

IS - 4

M1 - e12725

ER -