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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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The Inductive Potential of Categories

The Inductive Potential of Categories

Chapter:
(p.26) Chapter 2 The Inductive Potential of Categories
Source:
The Essential Child
Author(s):

Susan A. Gelman (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195154061.003.0003

Preschool children are not scientists, but they would (implicitly) agree with Gould's assessment of categories, at least in certain domains. With their classifications, children are attempting to discover the “natural order” in the world. This chapter focuses on children's capacity to use categories as the basis for novel inferences about the world. Children's category-based inferences are essentialist in two important respects: they involve reasoning about nonobvious properties (including internal parts, novel behaviors, and causal effects) and an appreciation that appearances can be deceiving when it comes to category membership.

Keywords:   essentialism, children, child psychology, categories, inferences, inductive reasoning

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