About this topic
Summary ‘Conceptual Engineering’ is both the name of a philosophical method and the name of an increasingly popular field of metaphilosophical research. Although the method of conceptual engineering has arguably been practiced throughout the history of philosophy, it has not been until recently that conceptual engineering became the object of metaphilosophical research. The key idea of conceptual engineering is to take a normative approach to traditional philosophical questions: Instead of asking what our current concepts of say, knowledge, race or gender, do mean, conceptual engineers ask what these concepts should mean. The underlying assumption is that our actual concepts are not necessarily ideal and that improving them is an important desideratum of philosophy. The contemporary metaphilosophical debate about conceptual engineering involves questions regarding its normative foundations, its actual feasibility, its coherence with semantic externalism and its proper limits.
Key works The label 'conceptual engineering' was coined by Richard Creath in his Creath 1990. Like Creath, many contemporary authors in the field link their work to Rudolf Carnap’s method of explication (Carnap 1950), which is a kind of conceptual engineering designed for the purposes of science. Brun 2016 contains a very helpful discussion of Carnapian explications. Another important starting point for current discussions about conceptual engineering is Sally Haslanger's so called 'ameliorative analysis', introduced in Haslanger 2000 and further developed in Haslanger 2012. Burgess & Plunkett 2013Burgess & Plunkett 2013 approach more broadly what they call 'conceptual ethics'. The first monograph on conceptual engineering is Cappelen 2018.
Introductions A good introductory text to conceptual engineering is Plunkett & Cappelen 2020. See also the first two chapters of Cappelen 2018, Burgess & Plunkett 2013 and Burgess & Plunkett 2013 for helpful characterizations of the basic goals of conceptual engineering as well as a list of example cases. See Brun 2016 for a good introduction and discussion of Carnapian explications as a method of doing philosophy. Here is a link to a number of videos of talks about conceptual engineering that were given at a conference about the foundations of conceptual engineering at NYU in September of 2018: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAqk-MiHmiHeN3-dDMLn4KAz9tCwb8Zhf
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  1. Conceptual Construction in Epistemology.Thomas Grundmann - manuscript
    Standard Analytic Epistemology typically relies on conceptual analysis of folk epistemic terms such as ‘knowledge’ or ‘justification’. A cross-cultural and cross-linguistic perspective on this method leads to the worry that there might not be universally shared epistemic concepts, and that different languages might use folk notions that have different extensions. Moreover, there is no reason to believe that our epistemic common-sense terms pick out what is epistemically most significant or valuable. In my paper, I take these issues as a starting (...)
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  2. Intuitions About Cases as Evidence (for How We Should Think).James Andow - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Much recent work on philosophical methodology has focused on whether we should accept evidence: the claim that philosophers use intuitive judgments about cases as evidence for/against philosophical theories. This paper outlines a new way of thinking about the philosophical method of appealing to cases such that evidence is true but not as it is typically understood. The idea proposed is that, when philosophers appeal to cases, they are engaged in a project of conceptual engineering and that, within that project, intuitions (...)
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  3. What is Conceptual Engineering and What Should It Be?David Chalmers - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Conceptual engineering is the design, implementation, and evaluation of concepts. Conceptual engineering includes or should include de novo conceptual engineering (designing a new concept) as well as conceptual re-engineering (fixing an old concept). It should also include heteronymous (different-word) as well as homonymous (same-word) conceptual engineering. I discuss the importance and the difficulty of these sorts of conceptual engineering in philosophy and elsewhere.
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  4. Rational Conceptual Conflict and the Implementation Problem.Adam F. Gibbons - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Conceptual engineers endeavor to improve our stock of concepts. But their endeavors face serious practical difficulties. One such difficulty – rational conceptual conflict - concerns the degree to which agents are incentivized to impede the efforts of conceptual engineers, especially in many of the contexts within which conceptual engineering is viewed as a worthwhile pursuit. Under such conditions, the already difficult task of conceptual engineering becomes even more difficult. Consequently, if they want to increase their chances of success, conceptual engineers (...)
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  5. Neutralism and Conceptual Engineering.Patrick Greenough - forthcoming - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Conceptual Engineering alleges that philosophical problems are best treated via revising or replacing our concepts (or words). The goal here is not to defend Conceptual Engineering but rather show that it can (and should) invoke Neutralism—the broad view that philosophical progress can take place when (and sometimes only when) a thoroughly neutral, non-specific theory, treatment, or methodology is adopted. A neutralist treatment of one form of skepticism is used as a case study and is compared with various non-neutral rivals. Along (...)
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  6. Conceptual Construction: Why the Content of Our Folk Terms Has Only Limited Significance.Thomas Grundmann - forthcoming - In Masaharu Mizumoto & Stephen Stich (eds.), Ethno-Epistemology.
    Standard Analytic Epistemology typically relies on conceptual analysis of folk epistemic terms such as ‘knowledge’ or ‘justification’. A cross-cultural and cross-linguistic perspective on this method leads to the worry that there might not be universally shared epistemic concepts, and that different languages might use folk notions that have different extensions. Moreover, there is no reason to believe that our epistemic common-sense terms pick out what is epistemically most significant or valuable. In my paper, I take these issues as a starting (...)
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  7. Fake News, Conceptual Engineering, and Linguistic Resistance: Reply to Pepp, Michaelson, and Sterken, and Brown.Joshua Habgood-Coote - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In Habgood-Coote (2019 “Stop Talking about Fake News!” Inquiry: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62(9-10): 1033-1065) I argued that we should abandon ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’, on the grounds that these terms do not have stable public meanings, are unnecessary, and function as vehicles for propaganda. Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson, and Rachel Sterken (2019 “Why we should keep talking about fake news” Inquiry: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy) and Étienne Brown (2019 “’Fake News’ and Conceptual Ethics”, Journal of Ethics and (...)
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  8. Conceptual Engineering and Ways of Believing.Eve Kitsik - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    I will argue that those thinking about conceptual engineering should think more about ways of believing. When we talk about what someone “believes”, we could be talking about how they are inclined to act, or what they have put forth as their position on a matter, or what gives rise to a feeling of endorsement when they reflect on the matter. If we further recognize that the contents of our beliefs are at least sometimes framed in certain concepts and that (...)
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  9. Conceptual Engineering and Ways of Believing.Eve Kitsik - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    I will argue that those thinking about conceptual engineering should think more about ways of believing. When we talk about what someone “believes”, we could be talking about how they are inclined to act, or what they have put forth as their position on a matter, or what gives rise to a feeling of endorsement when they reflect on the matter. If we further recognize that the contents of our beliefs are at least sometimes framed in certain concepts and that (...)
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  10. Topics, Disputes and 'Going Meta'.Viktoria Knoll - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    On a naive view of conceptual engineering, conceptual engineers simply aim at engineering concepts. This picture has recently come under attack. Sarah Sawyer (2018, 2020) and Derek Ball (2020) present two rather different, yet equally unorthodox, accounts of conceptual engineering, which they take to be superior to the naive picture. This paper casts doubts on the superiority of their respective accounts. By elaborating on the explanatory potential of “going meta”, the paper defends the naive view against Sawyer’s and Ball’s rival (...)
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  11. Verbal Disputes and Topic Continuity.Viktoria Knoll - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Changing concepts comes with a risk of creating merely verbal disputes. Accounts of topic continuity (such as Herman Cappelen’s) are supposed to solve this problem. As this paper shows, however, no existing solution avoids the danger of mere verbalness. On the contrary, accounts of topic continuity in fact increase the danger of overlooking merely verbal disputes between pre- and post-ameliorators. Ultimately, this paper suggests accepting the danger of mere verbalness resulting from a change in topic as a downside of conceptual (...)
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  12. Critical Review of Fixing Language: An Essay on Conceptual Engineering, by Herman Cappelen [in Portuguese]. [REVIEW]Samuel Maia - forthcoming - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology.
    This is a critical review of Herman Cappelen’s Fixing Language (2018), an excellent and thought-provoking introduction to a hot topic in metaphilosophy: conceptual engineering, which defines the process of evaluating and improving/revising our representational devices (popular known as concepts). Here, I first present an overview of the book, summarizing his General Theory of conceptual engineering. Second, I point out some limits of the General Theory, in particular the putative consequence of his semantic externalism, the Lack of Control thesis. According to (...)
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  13. Conceptual Engineering Via Experimental Philosophy.Jennifer Nado - forthcoming - Tandf: Inquiry:1-21.
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  14. Philosophizing Out of Bounds.Jennifer Nado - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
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  15. Conceptual Engineering, Metasemantic Externalism and Speaker-Meaning.Mark Pinder - forthcoming - Mind:fzz069.
    What is the relationship between conceptual engineering and metasemantic externalism? Sally Haslanger has argued that metasemantic externalism justifies the seemingly counterintuitive consequences of her proposed conceptual revisions. But according to Herman Cappelen, metasemantic externalism makes conceptual engineering effectively impossible in practice. After raising objections to Haslanger’s and Cappelen’s views, I argue for a very different picture, on which metasemantic externalism bears very little on conceptual engineering. I argue that, while metasemantic externalism principally operates at the level of semantic-meaning, we should (...)
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  16. What Ought a Fruitful Explicatum to Be?Mark Pinder - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    Many concepts are inadequate for serious inquiry, so theorists often seek to engineer new concepts. The method of explication, which involves replacing concepts with more fruitful alternatives, is a model of this process. In this paper, I develop an account of fruitfulness, the Relevant-Goals Account of Fruitfulness. The account is in the spirit of extant proposals, but develops and extends them in important ways. In particular, while it applies to explications in general, the account allows us to derive substantive details (...)
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  17. Not Wanted: On Scharp’s Solution to the Liar.Mark Pinder - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    Kevin Scharp argues that the concept of truth is defective, and is therefore unable to play its intended role in natural language truth-conditional semantics. As such, for this theoretical purpose, Scharp constructs two replacements: ascending truth and descending truth. Scharp applies the resultant theory, AD semantics, to the liar sentence, thereby obtaining a novel solution to the liar paradox. The aim of the present paper is fourfold. First, I show that, contrary to Scharp’s claims, AD semantics in fact yields an (...)
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  18. Scharp on Inconsistent Concepts and Their Engineered Replacements, Or: Can We Mend These Broken Things?Mark Pinder - forthcoming - Tandf: Inquiry:1-22.
    Kevin Scharp’s influential work on the alethic paradoxes combines an extensively developed inconsistency theory with a substantial conceptual engineering project. I argue that Scharp’s inconsistency theory is in tension with his conceptual engineering project: the inconsistency theory includes an account of concepts that implies that the conceptual engineering project will fail. I recommend that Scharp revises his account of concepts, and show how doing so allows him to resolve the tension. The discussion is important for ongoing work on conceptual engineering. (...)
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  19. Agency, Power, and Injustice in Metalinguistic Disagreement.Paul-Mikhail Podosky - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly:1- 24.
    In this paper, I explain the kinematics of non-ideal metalinguistic disagreement. This occurs when one speaker has greater control in the joint activity of pairing contents with words in a context. I argue that some forms of non-ideal metalinguistic disagreement are deeply worrying, namely those that involves certain power imbalances. In such cases, a speaker possesses illegitimate control in metalinguistic disagreement owing to the operation of identity prejudice. I call this metalinguistic injustice. The wrong involves restricting a speaker from participating (...)
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  20. Can Conceptual Engineering Actually Promote Social Justice?Paul-Mikhail Catapang Podosky - forthcoming - Synthese.
    This paper explores the question: What would conceptual engineering have to be in order to promote social justice? Specifically, it argues that to promote social justice, conceptual engineering must deliver the following: (i) it needs to be possible to deliberately implement a conceptual engineering proposal in large communities; (ii) it needs to be possible for a conceptual engineering proposal to bring about change to extant social categories; (iii) it needs to be possible to bring a population to adopt a conceptual (...)
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  21. Ideology and Normativity: Constraints on Conceptual Engineering.Paul-Mikhail Catapang Podosky - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
    ABSTRACTWhere do the boundaries of the ‘should’ in conceptual engineering lie? Mona Simion suggests that the right kind of reason for a...
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  22. Left Wittgensteinianism.Matthieu Queloz & Damian Cueni - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Social and political concepts are indispensable yet historically and culturally variable in a way that poses a challenge: how can we reconcile confident commitment to them with awareness of their contingency? In this article, we argue that available responses to this problem—Foundationalism, Ironism, and Right Wittgensteinianism—are unsatisfactory. Instead, we draw on the work of Bernard Williams to tease out and develop a Left Wittgensteinian response. In present-day pluralistic and historically self-conscious societies, mere confidence in our concepts is not enough. For (...)
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  23. Conceptual Engineers Shouldn’T Worry About Semantic Externalism.Jared Riggs - forthcoming - Tandf: Inquiry:1-22.
    Conceptual engineers sometimes say they want to change what our words mean. If a certain kind of externalism is true, it might be nearly impossible to do that. For some of the external factors that determine meaning, like metaphysical naturalness or past usage, are not within our power to change. And if we can’t change what determines meaning, then we can’t change meaning. I argue that, if this sort of externalism is true, then conceptual engineers didn’t want to change what (...)
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  24. Conceptual Exploration.Rachel Etta Rudolph - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Conceptual engineering involves revising our concepts. It can be pursued as a specific philosophical methodology, but is also common in ordinary, non-philosophical, contexts. How does our capacity for conceptual engineering fit into human cognitive life more broadly? I hold that conceptual engineering is best understood alongside practices of conceptual exploration, examples of which include conceptual supposition (i.e., suppositional reasoning about alternative concepts), and conceptual comparison (i.e., comparisons between possible concept choices). Whereas in conceptual engineering we aim to change the concepts (...)
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  25. Conceptual Domination.Matthew Shields - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Implicit in much of the recent literature on conceptual engineering and conceptual ethics is the assumption that when speakers argue that we should talk or think about a concept in a specific way, they are doing so as inquirers – as speakers who are invested in arriving at the correct or best view of this concept. In this paper I question that assumption and argue that philosophers have been too quick to project idealized versions of themselves into the contexts of (...)
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  26. Conceptual Engineering is Extremely Unlikely to Work. So What?James Andow - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):212-226.
    ABSTRACT Conceptual engineering aims to improve our concepts. That's plausibly an extremely difficult thing to do. Should this make us sceptical of the idea that philosophers should try to do it? You might think so. Cappelen, in his Fixing Language: an Essay on Conceptual Engineering, thinks it shouldn't stop us – but his stated reasons are not really encouraging. In this paper, I say what I think Cappelen should have said, on the basis of a very rough cost-benefit analysis.
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  27. Disability Studies, Conceptual Engineering, and Conceptual Activism.Elizabeth Amber Cantalamessa - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):46-75.
    In this project I am concerned with the extent to which conceptual engineering happens in domains outside of philosophy, and if so, what that might look like. Specifically, I’ll argue that...
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  28. Conceptual Change and Conceptual Engineering: The Case of Colour Concepts.Lieven Decock - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):168-185.
    I analyse conceptual change and conceptual engineering in the special case of colour concepts. The case raises the prospects of conceptual engineering because a precise standard for measuring the amelioration of the structure of concepts is available. On the other hand, the study highlights the problems with controlling conceptual engineering pointed out by Cappelen. I argue that in the case of conceptual change of colour concepts varying degrees of optimization, design and control are possible. I submit that this observation can (...)
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  29. Explicating the Concept of Epistemic Rationality.Anna-Maria A. Eder - 2021 - Synthese (1-2):1-26.
    A characterization of epistemic rationality, or epistemic justification, is typically taken to require a process of conceptual clarification, and is seen as comprising the core of a theory of (epistemic) rationality. I propose to explicate the concept of rationality. -/- It is essential, I argue, that the normativity of rationality, and the purpose, or goal, for which the particular theory of rationality is being proposed, is taken into account when explicating the concept of rationality. My position thus amounts to an (...)
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  30. Conceptual Engineering in Philosophy.Matti Eklund - 2021 - In Justin Khoo & Rachel Sterken (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social and Political Philosophy of Language.
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  31. Conceptual Responsibility.Trystan S. Goetze - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):20-45.
    Conceptual engineering is concerned with the improvement of our concepts. The motivating thought behind many such projects is that some of our concepts are defective. But, if to use a defective concept is to do something wrong, and if to do something wrong one must be in control of what one is doing, there might be no defective concepts, since we typically are not in control of our concept use. To address this problem, this paper turns from appraising the concepts (...)
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  32. Experimental Philosophy and the Method of Cases.Joachim Horvath & Steffen Koch - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (1):e12716.
    In this paper, we first briefly survey the main responses to the challenge that experimental philosophy poses to the method of cases, given the common assumption that the latter is crucially based on intuitive judgments about cases. Second, we discuss two of the most popular responses in more detail: the expertise defense and the mischaracterization objection. Our take on the expertise defense is that the available empirical data do not support the claim that professional philosophers enjoy relevant expertise in their (...)
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  33. Broad-Spectrum Conceptual Engineering.Manuel Gustavo Isaac - 2021 - Ratio: An International Journal for Analytic Philosophy 34 (4):286–302.
    Conceptual engineering is the method for assessing and improving our representational devices. On its ‘broad-spectrum’ version, it is expected to be appropriately applicable to any of our representation-involving cognitive activities, with major consequences for our whole cognitive life. This paper is about the theoretical foundations of conceptual engineering thus characterised. With a view to ensuring the actionability of conceptual engineering as a broad-spectrum method, it addresses the issue of how best to construe the subject matter of conceptual engineering and successively (...)
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  34. Post-Truth Conceptual Engineering.Manuel Gustavo Isaac - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1–16.
    Conceptual engineering is the method for assessing and improving our concepts. Some have recently claimed that the implementation of such method in the form of ameliorative projects is truth-driven and should thus be epistemically constrained, ultimately at least (Simion 2018; cf. Podosky 2018). This paper challenges that claim on the assumption of a social constructionist analysis of ideologies, and provides an alternative, pragmatic and cognitive framework for determining the legitimacy of ameliorative conceptual projects overall. The upshot is that one should (...)
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  35. Which Concept of Concept for Conceptual Engineering?Manuel Gustavo Isaac - 2021 - Erkenntnis: An International Journal of Scientific Philosophy:1–25.
    Conceptual engineering is the method for assessing and improving our concepts. However, little has been written about how best to conceive of concepts for the purposes of conceptual engineering. In this paper, I aim to fill this foundational gap, proceeding in three main steps: First, I propose a methodological framework for evaluating the conduciveness of a given concept of concept for conceptual engineering. Then, I develop a typology that contrasts two competing concepts of concept that can be used in conceptual (...)
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  36. Conceptual Engineering and the Implementation Problem.Sigurd Jorem - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):186-211.
    Conceptual engineers seek to revise or replace the devices we use to speak and think. If this amounts to an effort to change what natural language expressions mean, conceptual engineers will have a hard time. It is largely unfeasible to change the meaning of e.g. ‘cause’ in English. Conceptual engineers may therefore seem unable to make the changes they aim to make. This is what I call ‘the implementation problem’. In this paper, I argue that the implementation problem dissolves if (...)
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  37. The Externalist Challenge to Conceptual Engineering.Steffen Koch - 2021 - Synthese 198:327–348.
    Unlike conceptual analysis, conceptual engineering does not aim to identify the content that our current concepts do have, but the content which these concepts should have. For this method to show the results that its practitioners typically aim for, being able to change meanings seems to be a crucial presupposition. However, certain branches of semantic externalism raise doubts about whether this presupposition can be met. To the extent that meanings are determined by external factors such as causal histories or microphysical (...)
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  38. In Defense of Conceptual Engineering.Steffen Koch - 2021 - Dissertation, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
    In this cumulative phd thesis, I provide an account of conceptual engineering and defend it against various challenges. The thesis contains five chapters (plus an introduction and a conclusion): 1. Engineering what? On concepts in conceptual engineering (Synthese, 2020); 2. The externalist challenge to conceptual engineering (Synthese, 2021); 3. There is no dilemma for conceptual engineering. Reply to Max Deutsch (Philosophical Studies, 2020); 4. Why conceptual engineers should not worry about topics (Erkenntnis, forthcoming); 5. Carnapian explication, experimental philosophy, and fruitful (...)
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  39. Is Conceptual Relativism a Prerequisite for Philosophy as Conceptual Engineering?Pavol Labuda - 2021 - Filozofia 76 (1):3-17.
    The aim of the paper is to examine whether conceptual relativism is a prerequi-site for conceptual engineering (and if so, then to what extent). In the first part of the paper, I explore and classify varieties of relativism to prepare a distinctive definition of conceptual relativism. In the second part I analyse conceptual relativism and I consequently propose two different readings of conceptual scheme: (i) conceptual scheme as a monolithic, timeless, and determinate systems of meanings, and (ii) conceptual scheme as (...)
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  40. Diverse Philosophies: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them To Be?Shen-yi Liao - 2021 - The Philosophers' Magazine 93:64-70.
    Whenever philosophers try to include a “diverse” — in the sense of not currently recognised as canon — philosophy x into their teaching and their research, they inevitably get asked: “What is x philosophy?” and “Is x philosophy really philosophy?”. -/- These metaphilosophical questions do not only arise with attempts to include “diverse” intellectual traditions, but also with attempts to include “diverse” thinkers, works, topics, and methods. First, they are asked to prove that x exists. Second, they are asked to (...)
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  41. The Austerity Framework and Semantic Normativity.Mark Pinder - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):123-141.
    According to Herman Cappelen’s Austerity Framework, conceptual engineering doesn’t involve concepts, and barely involves engineering. I begin by raising two objections to the Austerity Framework as it stands: the framework cannot account for important normative aspects of conceptual engineering; and it doesn’t give us an adequate response to Strawson-style objections that conceptual engineering serves only to change the subject. I then supplement the Austerity Framework with an account of semantic normativity, which builds on the speaker/semantic meaning distinction, and show that (...)
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  42. Metalinguistic Negotiation and Speaker Error.David Plunkett & Tim Sundell - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):142-167.
    In recent work, we have argued that a number of disputes of interest to philosophers – including some disputes amongst philosophers themselves – are metalinguistic negotiations. Prima facie, many of these disputes seem to concern worldly, non-linguistic issues directly. However, on our view, they in fact concern, in the first instance, normative questions about the use of linguistic expressions. This will strike many ordinary speakers as counterintuitive. In many of the disputes that we analyze as metalinguistic negotiations, speakers might quite (...)
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  43. Revision, Endorsement and the Analysis of Meaning.Paul-Mikhail Catapang Podosky & Kai Tanter - 2021 - Analysis 80 (4):693-704.
    Recently there has been much philosophical interest in the analysis of concepts to determine whether they should be removed, revised, or replaced. Enquiry of this kind is referred to as conceptual engineering or conceptual ethics. We will call it revisionary conceptual analysis. It standardly involves describing the meaning of a concept, evaluating whether it serves its purposes, and prescribing what it should mean. However, this stands in tension with prescriptivism, a metasemantic view which holds that all meaning claims are prescriptions. (...)
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  44. Tracing Concepts to Needs.Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - The Philosopher 109 (3):34–39.
    Why is the concept of truth so important to us? After all, it is not at all obvious why human intelligence would have evolved to do anything other than to dissimulate, deceive, cheat, and trick. Pragmatic genealogies like the genealogies of the value of truth told by Nietzsche and Williams can help us grasp why we think as we do. But instead of explaining concepts by tracing them to antecedent objects in reality, they trace them to practical needs and reverse-engineer (...)
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  45. The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  46. Conceptual Engineering and the Politics of Implementation.Matthieu Queloz & Friedemann Bieber - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Conceptual engineering is thought to face an ‘implementation challenge’: the challenge of securing uptake of engineered concepts. But is the fact that implementation is challenging really a defect to be overcome? What kind of picture of political life would be implied by making engineering easy to implement? We contend that the ambition to obviate the implementation challenge goes against the very idea of liberal democratic politics. On the picture we draw, the implementation challenge can be overcome by institutionalizing control over (...)
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  47. Meanings as Species. [REVIEW]Indrek Reiland - 2021 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2.
  48. Empirical Studies on Truth and the Project of Re-Engineering Truth.Kevin Reuter & Georg Brun - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Most philosophers have largely downplayed any relevance of multiple meanings of the folk concept of truth in the empirical domain. However, confusions about what truth is have surged in political and everyday discourse. In order to resolve these confusions, we argue that we need a more accurate picture of how the term ‘true’ is in fact used. Our experimental studies reveal that the use of ‘true’ shows substantial variance within the empirical domain, indicating that ‘true’ is ambiguous between a correspondence (...)
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  49. Essentializing Language and the Prospects for Ameliorative Projects.Katherine Ritchie - 2021 - Ethics 131 (3):460-488.
    Some language encourages essentialist thinking. While philosophers have largely focused on generics and essentialism, I argue that nouns as a category are poised to refer to kinds and to promote representational essentializing. Our psychological propensity to essentialize when nouns are used reveals a limitation for anti-essentialist ameliorative projects. Even ameliorated nouns can continue to underpin essentialist thinking. I conclude by arguing that representational essentialism does not doom anti-essentialist ameliorative projects. Rather it reveals that would-be ameliorators ought to attend to the (...)
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  50. Concept Pluralism in Conceptual Engineering.Sarah Sawyer - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1 (10.1080/0020174X.2021.1986424):1.
    In this paper, I argue that an adequate meta-semantic framework capable of accommodating the range of projects currently identified as projects in conceptual engineering must be sensitive to the fact that concepts (and hence projects relating to them) fall into distinct kinds. Concepts can vary, I will argue, with respect to their direction of determination, their modal range, and their temporal range. Acknowledging such variations yields a preliminary taxonomy of concepts and generates a meta-semantic framework that allows us both to (...)
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