Metaphilosophy 53 (4):385-403 (2022)

Philipp Haueis
Bielefeld University
Jan Slaby
Freie Universität Berlin
This paper proposes an analysis of the discursive dynamics of high-impact concepts in the humanities. These are concepts whose formation and development have a lasting and wide-ranging effect on research and our understanding of discursive reality in general. The notion of a conceptual practice, based on a normative conception of practice, is introduced, and practices are identified, on this perspective, according to the way their respective performances are held mutually accountable. This normative conception of practices is then combined with recent work from philosophy of science that characterizes concepts in terms of conceptual capacities that are productive, open-ended, and applicable beyond the original context they were developed in. It is shown that the formation of concepts can be identified by changes in how practitioners hold exercise of their conceptual capacities accountable when producing knowledge about a phenomenon. In a manner similar to the use of operational definitions in scientific practices, such concepts can also be used to intervene in various discourses within or outside the conceptual practice. Using the formation of the concepts “mechanism” and “performative” as examples, the paper shows how high-impact concepts reconfigure what is at issue and at stake in conceptual practices. As philosophy and other humanities disciplines are its domain of interest, it is a contribution to the methodology of the humanities.
Keywords concepts  humanities  mechanism  performative utterances  philosophy of science  practice
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/meta.12551
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,436
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
What is a Mechanism? Thinking About Mechanisms Across the Sciences.Phyllis Illari & Jon Williamson - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):119-135.
Concepts and Cognitive Science.Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis - 1999 - In Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.), Concepts: Core Readings. MIT Press. pp. 3-81.
Three Kinds of New Mechanism.Arnon Levy - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):99-114.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Difference and Unity of Humanities and Social Science.Xinyan Wang - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 67:59-62.
Place Matters: Thinking About Spaces for Humanities Practices.Urszula Pawlicka-Deger - 2020 - Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 20 (3):320-338.


Added to PP index

Total views
23 ( #495,516 of 2,520,361 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
22 ( #39,293 of 2,520,361 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes