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Lines of ThoughtCentral Concepts in Cognitive Psychology$
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Lance Rips

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195183054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183054.001.0001

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(p.181) 4 Kinds
Lines of Thought

Lance J. Rips (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter grapples with the question of how seemingly objective categories like lions could have properties that extend beyond the set of their actual members. The first part looks at psychological evidence that pins down the modal qualities of natural kinds (e.g., daisies, lions, copper). The second part examines some approaches that may have a chance of explaining these qualities. It compares two general ideas about modal properties: the “intrinsic” and the “interactional” views. The intrinsic view allies itself with psychological essentialism in holding that people believe the modal properties of natural kinds are the results of a single necessary property residing within each instance of the kind. The interactional view maintains instead that these kinds depend on a set of co-operating causes, some internal and some external to a member of the kind. Although each view can claim some advantages, it is argued that the interactional view comes closest to beliefs about these matters, at least for adults. The view of kinds therefore meshes with the view of individuals that presented in Chapter 1.

Keywords:   natural kinds, natural categories, modal properties, interactional views, psychological essentialism

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