Jesse Prinz

Paper: Beyond Reference: How Minds Make Categories

Philosophers have ofter assumed that our thoughts correspond to a world of categories and objects whose boundaries exist independently of the mind, but a growing body of evidence suggests that our minds impose boundaries on the world, casting doubt on prevailing theories in semantics and ontology.

Jesse Prinz is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. His research focuses on the perceptual, emotional, and cultural foundations of human psychology. He is author of Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perception Basis (MIT, 2002), Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (Oxford, 2004), The Emotional Construction of Morals (Oxford), Beyond Human Nature (Penguin/Norton, 2011), and The Conscious Brain (Oxford, 2012), with another title, Works of Wonder (Oxford, in progress). All of these books bring research in the cognitive sciences to bear on traditional philosophical questions. Prinz's work is a contemporary extension of the classical empiricist tradition, which emphasises experience as the basis for human thought and values.