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The Essential Child: Origins of Essentialism in Everyday Thought
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The Essential Child: Origins of Essentialism in Everyday Thought

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Essentialism is the idea that certain categories, such as "dog," "man," or "intelligence," have an underlying reality or true nature that gives objects their identity. Where does this idea come from? In this book, Susan Gelman argues that essentialism is an early cognitive bias. Young children's concepts reflect a deep commitment to essentialism, and this commitment leads ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2003)
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4.19  · 
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 ·  16 ratings  ·  3 reviews


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Rebecca
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very clear and surprisingly useful (even in 2019) review of the empirical literature on essentialism. Found out about a lot of cool things, like nominal realism and the fact that shared properties will not induce category generalization. Last chapter got pretty speculative - would be interested in thinking more about individual vs kind essentialism.
Jessica Zu
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is truly a wonderful book for those of us who wanders why racism and sexism are so persistent in our society throughout history. Understanding essentialism is the starting point for a way out of these social injustices which all of us participate and propagate in different ways.
The good news from Susan Gelman's research is that we are NOT hard-wired to essentialize gender, race and a whole lot of other things. Rather, our mind's essential bents are more likely the unintended effects of our
...more
Karla Winick-Ford
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Astonishing author
Well written
Essentialism explained as well as the categorical approach
Identified blooms approach as lacking the evidence and credibility her research has demonstrated
Describes the significance language has on child thought and articulation of conceptual knowledge
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