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The Essential ChildOrigins of Essentialism in Everyday Thought$
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Susan A. Gelman

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195154061

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195154061.001.0001

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Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

Chapter:
(p.277) Chapter 10 Unfinished Business
Source:
The Essential Child
Author(s):

Susan A. Gelman (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195154061.003.0011

Essentialism is a vast, untidy topic, and the acquisition of psychological essentialism in children remains unclear. This chapter discusses three sets of unresolved issues: skeptical responses to psychological essentialism (is the essentialist framework necessary? what would disconfirm essentialism?), the scope of essentialism in different populations (different cultures, different species, different phases of development, and individual differences), and broader implications for theories of concepts and of cognitive development (what can children tell us about the nature of concepts, and what can concepts tell us about the nature of children? do we ever transcend essentialist thinking?).

Keywords:   essentialism, children, child psychology, cognitive development, essentialist thinking, concepts, nature

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