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Essentialism and Method

Organon F, 2017, vol. 24, No 2, pp. 166-183.
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This paper mainly addresses the relation between essentialism and philosophical method. In particular, our analysis centers on the anti-essentialist argument that proposed, given its essentialist bonds, the abandonment of the notion of method. To this end, we make use of the empirical evidence concerning essentialism provided by psychological research, which has shown that our proneness to essentialize is not a by-product of our social and cultural practices as some anti-essentialists have thought. Rather, it is a deeply rooted cognitive tendency that plays a major role in concept formation and so in our understanding of things. Thus, given that such inclination toward essentialism is certain to happen, we argue for a conception of method that, while not overcoming such tendency, avoids the presumed disastrous consequences feared by most anti-essentialists.

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