Philosophical Analysis: The Concept Grounding View

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (3):724-750 (2017)
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Philosophical analysis was the central preoccupation of 20th-century analytic philosophy. In the contemporary methodological debate, however, it faces a number of pressing external and internal challenges. While external challenges, like those from experimental philosophy or semantic externalism, have been extensively discussed, internal challenges to philosophical analysis have received much less attention. One especially vexing internal challenge is that the success conditions of philosophical analysis are deeply unclear. According to the standard textbook view, a philosophical analysis aims at a strict biconditional that captures the necessary and sufficient conditions for membership in the relevant category. The textbook view arguably identifies a necessary condition on successful philosophical analyses, but understood as a sufficient condition it is untenable, as I will argue in this paper. To this end, I first uncover eight conditions of adequacy on successful philosophical analyses, some of which have rarely been spelled out in detail. As we shall see, even sophisticated alternatives to the textbook view fail to accommodate some of these conditions. I then propose the concept grounding view as a more promising account of philosophical analysis. According to this view, successful philosophical analyses require necessary biconditionals that are constrained by grounding relations among the concepts involved. Apart from providing a satisfactory account of philosophical analysis in its own right, the concept grounding view is also able to meet the challenge that the success conditions of philosophical analysis are problematically unclear.



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Joachim Horvath
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Citations of this work

Metaphysical grounding.Ricki Bliss & Kelly Trogdon - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Metafísica para Juristas.Samuele Chilovi - 2022 - In D. Lagier & G. Lariguet (eds.), Filosofía. Una Introducción para Juristas. Madrid: Trotta.
Varieties of conceptual analysis.Max Kölbel - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 64 (1):20-38.

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Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.

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