Joshua Knobe, Yale University Professor of Philosophy will be the Cognitive Sciences speaker on Friday, Nov 18. His talk is entitled "The Essence Of Psychological Essentialism." (Abstract below.)
Friday, Nov 18, 2016, 12:40-2pm, Speech 205.
People appear to understand the social world in terms of essences. This notion plays a key role in the way that people ordinarily think about social categories (gender categories, religious categories, etc.) and also in the way that people think about individuals (the person you truly are deep down inside). But how exactly do people ascribe these essences? I present a series of new studies suggesting that people's judgments of essence can be affected in surprising ways with value judgments. These results provide support for the hypothesis that people's ordinary notion of essence is not a purely value-free scientific notion but a notion that is infused through and through with values.