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  1. added 2020-04-06
    Choosing Values? Williams Contra Nietzsche.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    Amplifying Bernard Williams’s critique of the Nietzschean project of a revaluation of values, this paper mounts a critique of the idea that whether values will help us to live can serve as a criterion for choosing which values to live by. I explore why it might not serve as a criterion and highlight a number of further difficulties faced by the Nietzschean project. I then come to Nietzsche’s defence, arguing that if we distinguish valuations from values, there is at least (...)
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  2. added 2020-03-27
    Conceptual Engineering, Topics, Metasemantics, and Lack of Control.Herman Cappelen - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
    Conceptual engineering is now a central topic in contemporary philosophy. Just 4-5 years ago it wasn’t. People were then engaged in the engineering of various philosophical concepts (in various sub-disciplines), but typically not self-consciously so. Qua philosophical method, conceptual engineering was under-explored, often ignored, and poorly understood. In my lifetime, I have never seen interest in a philosophical topic grow with such explosive intensity. The sociology behind this is fascinating and no doubt immensely complex (and an excellent case study for (...)
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  3. added 2020-03-03
    Biko on Non-White and Black: Improving Social Reality.Brian Epstein - 2018 - In George Hull (ed.), Debating African Philosophy: Perspectives on Identity, Decolonial Ethics and Comparative Philosophy. New York: Routledge. pp. 97-117.
    This paper examines Steve Biko’s distinction between black and non-white as a project in the “amelioration” of social concepts and categories. Biko himself—it has been persuasively argued by Mabogo More and Lewis Gordon—writes in the tradition of existential phenomenology. More and Gordon explore Biko’s continuity with Frantz Fanon, and in this paper I draw on their interpretations, attempting to complement and elaborate on these continuities. I also, however, attempt to show how Biko moves beyond Fanon in crucial ways, solving problems (...)
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  4. added 2020-01-19
    Understanding Race: The Case for Political Constructionism in Public Discourse.David Ludwig - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-13.
    The aim of this article is to develop an understanding-based argument for an explicitly political specification of the concept of race. It is argued that a specification of race in terms of hierarchical social positions is best equipped to guide causal reasoning about racial inequality in the public sphere. Furthermore, the article provides evidence that biological and cultural specifications of race mislead public reasoning by encouraging confusions between correlates and causes of racial inequality. The article concludes with a more general (...)
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  5. added 2019-11-18
    Experimental Philosophy and the Fruitfulness of Normative Concepts.Matthew Lindauer - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-24.
    This paper provides a new argument for the relevance of empirical research to moral and political philosophy and a novel defense of the positive program in experimental philosophy. The argument centers on the idea that normative concepts used in moral and political philosophy can be evaluated in terms of their fruitfulness in solving practical problems. Empirical research conducted with an eye to the practical problems that are relevant to particular concepts can provide evidence of their fruitfulness along a number of (...)
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  6. added 2019-11-14
    The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - 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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  7. added 2019-10-23
    Truth and Objectivity in Conceptual Engineering.Sarah Sawyer - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Paradigm cases of conceptual engineering involve topic preservation through semantic change. The challenge (known as Strawson's challenge) is to explain how this is possible. In previous work, I have responded to the challenge by advocating an externalist metasemantic framework that distinguishes the linguistic meaning of a term from the concept the term expresses. In this paper I argue that the topics of interest to conceptual engineers are underpinned by objective properties and that in conceptual engineering we aim for truth. I (...)
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  8. added 2019-10-18
    Linguistic Interventions and Transformative Communicative Disruption.Rachel Katharine Sterken - 2019 - In Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    What words we use, and what meanings they have, is important. We shouldn't use slurs; we should use 'rape' to include spousal rape (for centuries we didn’t); we should have a word which picks out the sexual harassment suffered by people in the workplace and elsewhere (for centuries we didn’t). Sometimes we need to change the word-meaning pairs in circulation, either by getting rid of the pair completely (slurs), changing the meaning (as we did with 'rape'), or adding brand new (...)
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  9. added 2019-09-21
    Carnapian Explication and the Canberra Plan’s Conceptual Analysis: A Comparison and Critique.Rogelio Miranda - 2019 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 22 (1):160-179.
    Conceptual analysis has been a traditional methodology within analytic philosophy, but it also has been the target of numerous attacks. On the other hand, explication has been undergoing a revival as a methodological alternative due to the revisionary element associated with it. This allows for a scientific reconstruction of our ordinary notions, which would share virtues associated with scientific concepts. However, there is now a popular variant of conceptual analysis which resembles closely the explicative methodology: the two-step methodology advanced by (...)
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  10. added 2019-07-03
    Conceptual Evaluation: Epistemic.Alejandro Pérez Carballo - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Ethics and Conceptual Engineering. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 304-332.
    On a view implicitly endorsed by many, a concept is epistemically better than another if and because it does a better job at ‘carving at the joints', or if the property corresponding to it is ‘more natural' than the one corresponding to another. This chapter offers an argument against this seemingly plausible thought, starting from three key observations about the way we use and evaluate concepts from en epistemic perspective: that we look for concepts that play a role in explanations (...)
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  11. added 2019-06-20
    What is Conceptual Engineering and What Should It Be?David Chalmers - manuscript
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  12. added 2019-05-07
    Amelioration Vs. Perversion.Teresa Marques - 2020 - In Teresa Marques & Asa Maria Wikforss (eds.), Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Words change meaning, usually in unpredictable ways. But some words’ meanings are revised intentionally. Revisionary projects are normally put forward in the service of some purpose – some serve specific goals of inquiry, and others serve ethical, political or social aims. Revisionist projects can ameliorate meanings, but they can also pervert. In this paper, I want to draw attention to the dangers of meaning perversions, and argue that the self-declared goodness of a revisionist project doesn’t suffice to avoid meaning perversions. (...)
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  13. added 2019-04-26
    Metalinguistic Proposals.Nat Hansen - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-19.
    This paper sets out the felicity conditions for metalinguistic proposals, a type of directive illocutionary act. It discusses the relevance of metalinguistic proposals and other metalinguistic directives for understanding both small- and large-scale linguistic engineering projects, essentially contested concepts, metalinguistic provocations, and the methodology of ordinary language philosophy. Metalinguistic proposals are compared with other types of linguistic interventions, including metalinguistic negotiation, conceptual engineering, lexical warfare, and ameliorative projects.
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  14. added 2019-03-17
    Herman Cappelen. Fixing Language. An Essay on Conceptual Engineering. [REVIEW]Steffen Koch - 2019 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 20 (1):248–256.
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  15. added 2019-03-16
    Real Kinds in Real Time: On Responsible Social Modeling.Theodore Bach - 2019 - The Monist 102 (2):236-258.
    There is broad agreement among social researchers and social ontologists that the project of dividing humans into social kinds should be guided by at least two methodological commitments. First, a commitment to what best serves moral and political interests, and second, a commitment to describing accurately the causal structures of social reality. However, researchers have not sufficiently analyzed how these two commitments interact and constrain one another. In the absence of that analysis, several confusions have set in, threatening to undermine (...)
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  16. added 2019-03-01
    The Role of Concepts in Fixing Language.Sarah Sawyer - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
    This is a contribution to the symposium on Herman Cappelen’s Fixing Language. Cappelen proposes a metasemantic framework—the ‘Austerity Framework’—within which to understand the general phenomenon of conceptual engineering. The proposed framework is austere in the sense that it makes no reference to concepts. Conceptual engineering is then given a ‘worldly’ construal according to which conceptual engineering is a process that operates on the world. I argue, contra Cappelen, that an adequate theory of conceptual engineering must make reference to concepts. This (...)
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  17. added 2019-03-01
    The Importance of Concepts.Sarah Sawyer - 2018 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 118 (2):127-147.
    Words change meaning over time. Some meaning shift is accompanied by a corresponding change in subject matter; some meaning shift is not. In this paper I argue that an account of linguistic meaning can accommodate the first kind of case, but that a theory of concepts is required to accommodate the second. Where there is stability of subject matter through linguistic change, it is concepts that provide the stability. The stability provided by concepts allows for genuine disagreement and ameliorative change (...)
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  18. added 2019-01-13
    Carnapian Explications, Experimental Philosophy, and Fruitful Concepts.Steffen Koch - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (6):700-717.
    It seems natural to think that Carnapian explication and experimental philosophy can go hand in hand. But what exactly explicators can gain from the data provided by experimental philosophers remains controversial. According to an influential proposal by Shepherd and Justus, explicators should use experimental data in the process of ‘explication preparation’. Against this proposal, Mark Pinder has recently suggested that experimental data can directly assist an explicator’s search for fruitful replacements of the explicandum. In developing his argument, he also proposes (...)
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  19. added 2018-12-11
    The Points of Concepts: Their Types, Tensions, and Connections.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1122-1145.
    In the literature seeking to explain concepts in terms of their point, talk of ‘the point’ of concepts remains under-theorised. I propose a typology of points which distinguishes practical, evaluative, animating, and inferential points. This allows us to resolve tensions such as that between the ambition of explanations in terms of the points of concepts to be informative and the claim that mastering concepts requires grasping their point; and it allows us to exploit connections between types of points to understand (...)
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  20. added 2018-11-12
    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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  21. added 2018-11-12
    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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  22. added 2018-11-09
    The Externalist Challenge to Conceptual Engineering.Steffen Koch - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    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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  23. added 2018-10-22
    No Epistemic Trouble for Engineering ‘Woman’.Robin McKenna - 2018 - Logos and Episteme 9 (3):335-342.
    In a recent article in this journal, Mona Simion argues that Sally Haslanger’s “engineering” approach to gender concepts such as ‘woman’ faces an epistemic objection. The primary function of all concepts—gender concepts included—is to represent the world, but Haslanger’s engineering account of ‘woman’ fails to adequately represent the world because, by her own admission, it doesn’t include all women in the extension of the concept ‘woman.’ I argue that this objection fails because the primary function of gender concepts—and social kind (...)
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  24. added 2018-09-19
    Carnap, Explication, and Social History.James Pearson - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (4):741-774.
    A.W. Carus champions Rudolf Carnap’s ideal of explication as a model for liberal political deliberation. Constructing a linguistic framework for discussing social problems, he argues, promotes the resolution of our disputes. To flesh out and assess this proposal, I examine debate about the social institutions of marriage and adoption. Against Carus, I argue that not all citizens would accept the pragmatic principles underlying Carnap’s ideal. Nevertheless, explication may facilitate inquiry in the social sciences and be used to create models that (...)
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  25. added 2018-08-08
    A Guided Tour Of Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics.David Plunkett & Herman Cappelen - forthcoming - In Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  26. added 2018-08-08
    Conceptual Engineering: The Master Argument.Herman Cappelen - forthcoming - In Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    I call the activity of assessing and developing improvements of our representational devices ‘conceptual engineering’.¹ The aim of this chapter is to present an argument for why conceptual engineering is important for all parts of philosophy (and, more generally, all inquiry). Section I of the chapter provides some background and defines key terms. Section II presents the argument. Section III responds to seven objections. The replies also serve to develop the argument and clarify what conceptual engineering is.
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  27. added 2018-04-16
    Why Philosophers Shouldn’T Do Semantics.Herman Cappelen - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (4):743-762.
    The linguistic turn provided philosophers with a range of reasons for engaging in careful investigation into the nature and structure of language. However, the linguistic turn is dead. The arguments for it have been abandoned. This raises the question: why should philosophers take an interest in the minutiae of natural language semantics? I’ll argue that there isn’t much of a reason - philosophy of language has lost its way. Then I provide a suggestion for how it can find its way (...)
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  28. added 2018-04-16
    Revisionary Epistemology.Davide Fassio & Robin McKenna - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (7-8):755-779.
    What is knowledge? What should knowledge be like? Call an epistemological project that sets out to answer the first question ‘descriptive’ and a project that sets out to answer the second question ‘normative’. If the answers to these two questions don’t coincide—if what knowledge should be like differs from what knowledge is like—there is room for a third project we call ‘revisionary’. A revisionary project starts by arguing that what knowledge should be differs from what knowledge is. It then proposes (...)
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  29. added 2018-04-16
    X - Phi and Carnapian Explication.Joshua Shepherd & James Justus - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (2):381-402.
    The rise of experimental philosophy has placed metaphilosophical questions, particularly those concerning concepts, at the center of philosophical attention. X-phi offers empirically rigorous methods for identifying conceptual content, but what exactly it contributes towards evaluating conceptual content remains unclear. We show how x-phi complements Rudolf Carnap’s underappreciated methodology for concept determination, explication. This clarifies and extends x-phi’s positive philosophical import, and also exhibits explication’s broad appeal. But there is a potential problem: Carnap’s account of explication was limited to empirical and (...)
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  30. added 2018-04-16
    Philosophy as Conceptual Engineering: Inductive Logic in Rudolf Carnap's Scientific Philosophy.Christopher F. French - 2015 - Dissertation, University of British Columbia
    My dissertation explores the ways in which Rudolf Carnap sought to make philosophy scientific by further developing recent interpretive efforts to explain Carnap’s mature philosophical work as a form of engineering. It does this by looking in detail at his philosophical practice in his most sustained mature project, his work on pure and applied inductive logic. I, first, specify the sort of engineering Carnap is engaged in as involving an engineering design problem and then draw out the complications of design (...)
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  31. added 2018-04-16
    Living Words: Meaning Underdetermination and the Dynamic Lexicon.Peter Ludlow - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Peter Ludlow shows how word meanings are much more dynamic than we might have supposed, and explores how they are modulated even during everyday conversation. The resulting view is radical, and has far-reaching consequences for our political and legal discourse, and for enduring puzzles in the foundations of semantics, epistemology, and logic.
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  32. added 2018-04-16
    Replacing Truth.Kevin Scharp - 2007 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (6):606 – 621.
    Of the dozens of purported solutions to the liar paradox published in the past fifty years, the vast majority are "traditional" in the sense that they reject one of the premises or inference rules that are used to derive the paradoxical conclusion. Over the years, however, several philosophers have developed an alternative to the traditional approaches; according to them, our very competence with the concept of truth leads us to accept that the reasoning used to derive the paradox is sound. (...)
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  33. added 2018-04-16
    What Good Are Our Intuitions: Philosophical Analysis and Social Kinds.Sally Haslanger - 2000 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 80 (1):89-118.
    Across the humanities and social sciences it has become commonplace for scholars to argue that categories once assumed to be “natural” are in fact “social” or, in the familiar lingo, “socially constructed”. Two common examples of such categories are race and gender, but there many others. One interpretation of this claim is that although it is typically thought that what unifies the instances of such categories is some set of natural or physical properties, instead their unity rests on social features (...)
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  34. added 2018-04-16
    What Are We Talking About? The Semantics and Politics of Social Kinds.Sally Haslanger - 2000 - Hypatia 20 (4):10-26.
    Theorists analyzing the concepts of race and gender disagree over whether the terms refer to natural kinds, social kinds, or nothing at all. The question arises: what do we mean by the terms? It is usually assumed that ordinary intuitions of native speakers are definitive. However, I argue that contemporary semantic externalism can usefully combine with insights from Foucauldian genealogy to challenge mainstream methods of analysis and lend credibility to social constructionist projects.
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  35. added 2018-04-16
    What Knowledge is and What It Ought to Be: Feminist Values and Normative Epistemology.Sally Haslanger - 1999 - Philosophical Perspectives 13 (s13):459-480.
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  36. added 2018-02-13
    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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