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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 March 2021

Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

(p.277) Chapter 10 Unfinished Business
The Essential Child

Susan A. Gelman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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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