Single Idea 15706

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / e. Anti scientific essentialism]

Full Idea

One major argument against the view that essences are real is the rampant essentializing of categories that are socially constructed (such as race, caste and occupation).

Gist of Idea

A major objection to real essences is the essentialising of social categories like race, caste and occupation


Susan A. Gelman (The Essential Child [2003], 11 'Is essentialism')

Book Reference

Gelman,Susan A.: 'The Essential Child' [OUP 2005], p.299

A Reaction

You can't argue with that. It raises the question of whether the approach of scientific essentialism has any value in the social, rather than physical, sciences. We jokingly essentialise groups of people such as referees or Oxonians.