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Ideas of Susan A. Gelman, by Text

[American, fl. 2003, Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan.]

2003 The Essential Child
01 'Background' p.15 Essentialism is either natural to us, or an accident of our culture, or a necessary result of language
01 'Essentialist' p.7 Essentialism comes from the cognitive need to categorise
01 'Intro' p.3 Essentialism says categories have a true hidden nature which gives an object its identity
01 'Prelims' p.7 Folk essentialism rests on belief in natural kinds, in hidden properties, and on words indicating structures
01 'Prelims' p.8 Essentialism: real or representational? sortal, causal or ideal? real particulars, or placeholders?
01 'Prelims' p.11 Even fairly simple animals make judgements based on categories
01 'Prelims' p.13 Sortals are needed for determining essence - the thing must be categorised first
01 'Prelims' p.13 Children's concepts include nonobvious features, like internal parts, functions and causes
02 'Privileged' p.55 Labels may indicate categories which embody an essence
03 'Summary' p.88 Kinship is essence that comes in degrees, and age groups are essences that change over time
05 'Causation' p.109 Categories are characterized by distance from a prototype
05 'Causation1' p.109 Theory-based concepts use rich models to show which similarities really matter
05 'Causation2' p.116 Causal properties are seen as more central to category concepts
06 'Essentialism' p.151 Peope favor historical paths over outward properties when determining what something is
06 'Essentialism' p.152 Kind (unlike individual) essentialism assumes preexisting natural categories
06 'Intro' p.136 Children accept real stable categories, with nonobvious potential that gives causal explanations
06 'Is essentialism' p.142 People tend to be satisfied with shallow explanations
06 'The role' p.143 One sample of gold is enough, but one tree doesn't give the height of trees
06 'The role' p.147 Children overestimate the power of a single example
06 'The role' p.150 Children make errors in induction by focusing too much on categories
07 'Conclusions' p.175 We found no evidence that mothers teach essentialism to their children
08 'Intro' p.179 In India, upper-castes essentialize caste more than lower-castes do
08 'Intro' p.179 Prelinguistic infants acquire and use many categories
08 'Naming' p.189 Nouns seem to invoke stable kinds more than predicates do
09 'Theory' p.266 Essentialism doesn't mean we know the essences
09 'Theory' p.269 Memories often conform to a theory, rather than being neutral
10 'Figuring' p.286 Essentialism starts from richly structured categories, leading to a search for underlying properties
11 'Broadening' p.312 There is intentional, mechanical, teleological, essentialist, vitalist and deontological understanding
11 'Broadening' p.316 Inductive success is rewarded with more induction
11 'Discussion' p.324 Essentialism is useful for predictions, but it is not the actual structure of reality
11 'Intro' p.296 Essentialism encourages us to think about the world scientifically
11 'Is essentialism' p.299 A major objection to real essences is the essentialising of social categories like race, caste and occupation