Necessity and Natural Categories

Lance J. Rips*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Our knowledge of natural categories includes beliefs not only about what is true of them but also about what would be true if the categories had properties other than (or in addition to) their actual ones. Evidence about these beliefs comes from three lines of research: experiments on category-based induction, on hypothetical transformations of category members, and on definitions of kind terms. The 1st part of this article examines results and theories arising from each of these research streams. The 2nd part considers possible unified theories for this domain, including theories based on ideals and norms. It also contrasts 2 broad frameworks for modal category information: one focusing on beliefs about intrinsic or essential properties, the other focusing on interacting causal relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-852
Number of pages26
JournalPsychological bulletin
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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