The belief in the essence of things is discussed in this Paul Bloom keynote. Beginning his speech, Bloom tells the story of how the Dutch painter Van Meegeren sold Goering (Hitler's right hand man) an original Vermeer, which later turned out to be a forgery. Upon hearing that his painting was not authentic, Goering was completely distraught and disturbed.
The origins of things tend to have an immense impact on how someone interprets that object. Paul Bloom argues that humans are natural born essentialists, we respond to things on our beliefs of what they really are. For children, being told that their vegetables are from McDonald's increases the pleasure they get from eating those vegetables because they associate McDonald's with tasty food.
The same object or stimulus will have a different impact on someone depending on how that person interprets the context and origin behind that object. Paul Bloom ends his keynote with a quote from Milton --
"The mind is its own place and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell and a Hell of Heaven."
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Paul Bloom Keynotes
Presentations by Paul Bloom are focused and insightful. As a professor of psychology and cognitive...