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Normality Judgments: Structure and Content

  • Author(s): Lavin, Andrew Shawn
  • Advisor(s): Lawrence, Gavin
  • Normore, Calvin G
  • et al.
Abstract

A normality judgment is a type of generalization that ascribes a normal feature or property to a kind. The explanatory link account of normality—an account of what it is to be a normal feature or property and therefore an account of the content of a normality judgment—is defended in this dissertation. According to the explanatory link account, a feature is normal for a kind if and only if an individual’s possession of that feature is explained by its being a member of that kind. The account is inspired by the Aristotelian notion that being a carpenter explains one’s house-building activities whereas being a grammarian wouldn’t explain the same. The second chapter defends this form of explanation—called herein “kind explanation.” The dissertation closes with a study of the extensional relationship between normality and statistical regularity, and finally with a study of the inferential profile of normality judgments.

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