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Intuitions, Conceptual Engineering, and Conceptual Fixed Points

In Christopher Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods (2015)

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  1. Engineering What? On Concepts in Conceptual Engineering.Steffen Koch - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1955-1975.
    Conceptual engineers aim to revise rather than describe our concepts. But what are concepts? And how does one engineer them? Answering these questions is of central importance for implementing and theorizing about conceptual engineering. This paper discusses and criticizes two influential views of this issue: semanticism, according to which conceptual engineers aim to change linguistic meanings, and psychologism, according to which conceptual engineers aim to change psychological structures. I argue that neither of these accounts can give us the full story. (...)
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  • 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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  • The Revisionist’s Rubric: Conceptual Engineering and the Discontinuity Objection.Michael Prinzing - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (8):854-880.
    This paper is about conceptual engineering. Specifically, it discusses a common objection to CE, which I call the Discontinuity Objection. According to the Discontinuity Objection, CE leads to problematic discontinuities in subject and/or inquiry – making it philosophically uninteresting or irrelevant. I argue that a conceptual engineer can dismiss the Discontinuity Objection by showing that the pre-engineering concept persists through the proposed changes. In other words, the Discontinuity Objection does not apply if the proposal involves identity-preserving changes. Two existing views (...)
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  • Intrinsic Properties and Relations.Jan Plate - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (8):783-853.
    This paper provides an analysis of the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction, as applied both to properties and to relations. In contrast to other accounts, the approach taken here locates the source of a property’s intrinsicality or extrinsicality in the manner in which that property is ‘logically constituted’, and thus – plausibly – in its nature or essence, rather than in e.g. its modal profile. Another respect in which the present proposal differs from many extant analyses lies in the fact that it does (...)
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  • Conceptual Analysis Without Concepts.Max Deutsch - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):11125-11157.
    “Conceptual analysis” is a misnomer—it refers, but it does not refer to a method or practice that involves the analysis of concepts. Once this is recognized, many of the main arguments for skepticism about conceptual analysis can be answered, since many of these arguments falsely assume that conceptual analyses target concepts. The present paper defends conceptual analysis from skepticism about its viability and, positively, presents an argument for viewing conceptual analyses as targeting philosophical phenomena, not our concepts of these phenomena.
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  • Conceptual Engineering, Truth, and Efficacy.Jennifer Nado - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1507-1527.
    Traditional views on philosophical methodology characterize our primary philosophical goal as production of a successful conceptual analysis. The notion of conceptual analysis, however, faces several challenges—from experimental philosophy to more traditional worries such as the paradox of analysis. This paper explores an alternate approach, commonly called conceptual engineering, which aims at recommending conceptual revisions. An important question for the conceptual engineer is as follows: what counts as a case of successful conceptual engineering? What sorts of revisions are permitted, and what (...)
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  • Trends and Progress in Philosophy.Matti Eklund - 2013 - Metaphilosophy 44 (3):276-292.
    This article is in three parts. The first discusses trends in philosophy. The second defends reliance on intuitions in philosophy from some doubts that have recently been raised. The third discusses Philip Kitcher's contention that contemporary analytic philosophy does not have its priorities straight. While the three parts are independent, there is a common theme. Each part defends what is regarded as orthodoxy from attacks. Of course there are other reasonable challenges to philosophical methodology. The article's aim is just to (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Beyond Categorical Definitions of Life: A Data-Driven Approach to Assessing Lifeness.Christophe Malaterre & Jean-François Chartier - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4543-4572.
    The concept of “life” certainly is of some use to distinguish birds and beavers from water and stones. This pragmatic usefulness has led to its construal as a categorical predicate that can sift out living entities from non-living ones depending on their possessing specific properties—reproduction, metabolism, evolvability etc. In this paper, we argue against this binary construal of life. Using text-mining methods across over 30,000 scientific articles, we defend instead a degrees-of-life view and show how these methods can contribute to (...)
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  • 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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  • Speaker’s Reference, Stipulation, and a Dilemma for Conceptual Engineers.Max Deutsch - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3935-3957.
    Advocates of conceptual engineering as a method of philosophy face a dilemma: either they are ignorant of how conceptual engineering can be implemented, or else it is trivial to implement but of very little value, representing no new or especially fruitful method of philosophizing. Two key distinctions frame this dilemma and explain its two horns. First, the distinction between speaker’s meaning and reference and semantic meaning and reference reveals a severe implementation problem for one construal of conceptual engineering. Second, the (...)
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  • Conceptual Cartography.Robert Smithson - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):97-122.
    ABSTRACT Certain features of our conceptual scheme seem necessary for subjects with our basic nature: we cannot imagine humans accomplishing their basic projects without having a conceptual scheme with these features. Other aspects of our conceptual scheme seem more contingent: we can imagine communities effectively using a somewhat different conceptual scheme. Conceptual cartography is the project of investigating the necessity and contingency of the various features of conceptual schemes. The project of conceptual cartography has not received much explicit methodological attention. (...)
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  • Implicit and Explicit Examples of the Phenomenon of Deviant Encodings.Paula Quinon - 2020 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 63 (1):53-67.
    The core of the problem discussed in this paper is the following: the Church-Turing Thesis states that Turing Machines formally explicate the intuitive concept of computability. The description of Turing Machines requires description of the notation used for the input and for the output. Providing a general definition of notations acceptable in the process of computations causes problems. This is because a notation, or an encoding suitable for a computation, has to be computable. Yet, using the concept of computation, in (...)
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  • A Functional Approach to Ontology.Nathaniel Gan - 2021 - Metaphysica 22 (1):23-43.
    There are two ways of approaching an ontological debate: ontological realism recommends that metaphysicians seek to discover deep ontological facts of the matter, while ontological anti-realism denies that there are such facts; both views sometimes run into difficulties. This paper suggests an approach to ontology that begins with conceptual analysis and takes the results of that analysis as a guide for which metaontological view to hold. It is argued that in some cases, the functions for which we employ a part (...)
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  • The Anti-Mechanist Argument Based on Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, Indescribability of the Concept of Natural Number and Deviant Encodings.Paula Quinon - 2020 - Studia Semiotyczne 34 (1):243-266.
    This paper reassesses the criticism of the Lucas-Penrose anti-mechanist argument, based on Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, as formulated by Krajewski : this argument only works with the additional extra-formal assumption that “the human mind is consistent”. Krajewski argues that this assumption cannot be formalized, and therefore that the anti-mechanist argument – which requires the formalization of the whole reasoning process – fails to establish that the human mind is not mechanistic. A similar situation occurs with a corollary to the argument, that (...)
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  • Conceptual Innovation, Function First.Mona Simion & Christoph Kelp - 2020 - Noûs 54 (4):985-1002.
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  • The Existence of Personites.Matti Eklund - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):2051-2071.
    Mark Johnston and Eric Olson have both pressed what Johnston has dubbed the personite problem. Personites, if they exist, are person-like entities whose lives extend over a continuous proper part of a person’s life. They are so person-like that they seem to have moral status if persons do. But this threatens to wreak havoc with ordinary moral thinking. For example, simple decisions to suffer some short-term hardship for long-term benefits become problematic. And ordinary punishment is always also punishment of the (...)
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  • Explication as a Method of Conceptual Re-Engineering.Georg Brun - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (6):1211-1241.
    Taking Carnap’s classic exposition as a starting point, this paper develops a pragmatic account of the method of explication, defends it against a range of challenges and proposes a detailed recipe for the practice of explicating. It is then argued that confusions are involved in characterizing explications as definitions, and in advocating precising definitions as an alternative to explications. Explication is better characterized as conceptual re-engineering for theoretical purposes, in contrast to conceptual re-engineering for other purposes and improving exactness for (...)
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  • The Charge From Psychology and Art's Definition.Annelies Monseré - 2016 - Theoria 82 (3):256-273.
    This article argues that the so-called Charge from Psychology does not refute the project of defining art. The charge entails that the project is misguided because it falsely presupposes that the concept of art is classically structured. The charge is challenged by distinguishing philosophers’ normative from psychologists’ descriptive aims. Unlike what many philosophers of art themselves believe, defining art is a normative project, since proposed definitions formulate conditions under which the concept of art should be applied, rather than is applied. (...)
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  • Metaphysics and Conceptual Negotiation.Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):364-382.
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