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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Comparative metaphysics: Evolutionary and ontogenetic roots of essentialist thought about objects

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How do animals and young children see the world around them in its most basic structure, and how do such world‐views develop over time? These are questions of what could be called comparative and developmental metaphysics. The present paper gives an introduction to this newly emerging field of research. Special emphasis is put on thinking about the world as made up of discrete and enduring objects as the most fundamental form of objective thought. The paper discusses whether language is necessary for such basic forms of objective thought, and whether thinking about objects, in turn, may lay a foundation for psychological essentialism. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition Psychology > Comparative Psychology

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Psychology > Comparative Psychology
Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition

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