Conceptual Innovation, Function First

Noûs 54 (4):985-1002 (2019)
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Abstract

Can we engineer conceptual change? While a positive answer to this question would be exciting news for philosophy, there has been a growing number of pessimistic voices in the literature. This paper resists this trend. Its central aim is to argue not only that conceptual engineering is possible but also that it is not even distinctively hard. In order to achieve this, we will develop a novel approach to conceptual engineering that has two key components. First, it proposes a reorientation of the conceptual engineering project away from fixing conceptual defects and towards bringing about conceptual innovation. Second, it offers a new account of when conceptual engineering is successful in terms of etiological functions. We then turn to the reasons that have motivated various forms of pessimism about conceptual engineering and show that, on our novel approach, none of them stands up to scrutiny.

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Author Profiles

Mona Simion
University of Glasgow
Christoph Kelp
University of Glasgow

References found in this work

The extended mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
Verbal Disputes.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
Individualism and the mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.

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