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  1. Conceptual Engineering and the Dynamics of Linguistic Intervention.Adam F. Gibbons - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The Implementation Problem for conceptual engineering is, roughly, the problem conceptual engineers face when attempting to bring about the conceptual change they support. An important aspect of this problem concerns the extent to which attempting to implement concepts can lead to unintended negative consequences. Not only can conceptual engineers fail to implement their proposals, but their interventions can produce outcomes directly counter to their goals. It is therefore important to think carefully about the prospect of attempted implementation leading to unintended (...)
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  • The Ethics of Conceptualization: Tailoring Thought and Language to Need.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Philosophy strives to give us a firmer hold on our concepts. But what about their hold on us? Why place ourselves under the sway of a concept and grant it the authority to shape our thought and conduct? Another conceptualization would carry different implications. What makes one way of thinking better than another? This book develops a framework for concept appraisal. Its guiding idea is that to question the authority of concepts is to ask for reasons of a special kind: (...)
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  • The Concept of Extinction: Epistemology, Responsibility, and Precaution.Fenner Stanley Tanswell - 2024 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 27 (2):205-226.
    Extinction is a concept of rapidly growing importance, with the world currently in the sixth mass extinction event and a biodiversity crisis. However, the concept of extinction has itself received surprisingly little attention from philosophers. I will first argue that in practice there is no single unified concept of extinction, but instead that its usage divides between descriptive, epistemic, and declarative concepts. I will then consider the epistemic challenges that arise in ascertaining whether a species has gone extinct, and how (...)
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  • Open texture, rigor, and proof.Benjamin Zayton - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-20.
    Open texture is a kind of semantic indeterminacy first systematically studied by Waismann. In this paper, extant definitions of open texture will be compared and contrasted, with a view towards the consequences of open-textured concepts in mathematics. It has been suggested that these would threaten the traditional virtues of proof, primarily the certainty bestowed by proof-possession, and this suggestion will be critically investigated using recent work on informal proof. It will be argued that informal proofs have virtues that mitigate the (...)
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  • Critical social ontology.Kevin Richardson - 2023 - Synthese 201 (6):1-19.
    Critical social ontology is any study of social ontology that is done in order to critique ideology or end social injustice. The goal of this paper is to outline what I call the fundamentality approach to critical social ontology. On the fundamentality approach, social ontologists are in the business of distinguishing between appearances and (fundamental) reality. Social reality is often obscured by the acceptance of ideology, where an ideology is a distorted system of beliefs that leads people to promote or (...)
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  • Meaning Change.Indrek Reiland - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    The linguistic meaning of a word in a language is what fully competent speakers of the language have a grasp of merely in virtue of their semantic competence. The meanings of words sometimes change over time. 'Meat' used to mean 'solid food', but now means 'animal flesh eaten as food'. This type of meaning change comes with change of topic, what we’re talking about. Many people interested in conceptual engineering have claimed that there is also meaning change where topic is (...)
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  • Throwing the Baby out with the Bathwater: The Dangers of Global and Local Ontologies in Scientific Metaphysics.Sahana V. Rajan - 2022 - Res Philosophica 99 (4):403-425.
    In the recent years, attempts to relate metaphysics and sciences have taken various alternative forms such as metaphysics applied to science, metaphysics of science, and scientific metaphysics. In this article, I focus on scientific metaphysics and specifically explore the challenges with developing ontologies through four arguments. The Argument from Representational Indeterminacy highlights that global ontologies fail to clearly identify their target phenomenon. The Argument from Independent Inaccessibility explores the methodological difficulty of accessing a world that is independent of specific sets (...)
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  • What Should Conceptual Engineering Be All About?Isaac Manuel Gustavo - 2021 - Philosophia: A Global Journal of Philosophy 49 (5):2041-2051.
    Conceptual engineering is commonly characterized as the method for assessing and improving our representational devices. Little has been said, however, on how best to construe these representational devices—in other words, on what conceptual engineering should be all about. This paper tackles this problem with a basic strategy: First, by presenting a taxonomy of the different possible subject matters for conceptual engineering; then, by comparatively assessing them and selecting the most conducive one with a view to making conceptual engineering an actionable (...)
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  • Commitment engineering: conceptual engineering without representations.Guido Löhr - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13035-13052.
    It is largely assumed that conceptual engineering is essentially about revising, introducing, or eliminating representational devices, in particular the intension and extension of words and concepts. However, tying conceptual engineering too closely to representations is risky. Not everyone endorses the notion of representation as theoretically helpful or even real. Not everyone thinks that concepts or meanings should be understood in terms of the notion of representation. Does this mean that conceptual engineering is not interesting or relevant for these skeptics? In (...)
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  • ‘Are mental disorders brain disorders?’ is a question of conceptual choice.Elisabetta Lalumera - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 1 (3):1-13.
    This contribution focuses on what type of question “Are mental disorders brain disorders?” is and what task Anneli Jefferson performs in her book with the same title. I distinguish between conceptual engineering and conceptual choice, the former involving the individuation of an adequate concept for a specific goal, and the latter involving the normative problem of whether we should employ the concept at hand. I contend that Anneli Jefferson’s book is a work of conceptual engineering, which is valuable in and (...)
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  • There is no dilemma for conceptual engineering. Reply to Max Deutsch.Steffen Koch - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2279-2291.
    Max Deutsch has recently argued that conceptual engineering is stuck in a dilemma. If it is construed as the activity of revising the semantic meanings of existing terms, then it faces an unsurmountable implementation problem. If, on the other hand, it is construed as the activity of introducing new technical terms, then it becomes trivial. According to Deutsch, this conclusion need not worry us, however, for conceptual engineering is ill-motivated to begin with. This paper responds to Deutsch by arguing, first, (...)
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  • Recent work in the theory of conceptual engineering.Steffen Koch, Guido Löhr & Mark Pinder - 2023 - Analysis 83 (3):589-603.
    A philosopher argues that state-sponsored cyberattacks against central military or civilian targets are always acts of war. What is this philosopher doing? According to conceptual analysts, the philosopher is making a claim about our concept of war. According to philosophical realists, the philosopher is making a claim about war per se. In a quickly developing literature, a third option is being explored: the philosopher is engineering the concept of war. On this view, the philosopher is making a proposal about which (...)
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  • Epistemic Paternalism via Conceptual Engineering.Eve Kitsik - 2023 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 9 (4):616-635.
    This essay focuses on conceptual engineers who aim to improve other people's patterns of inference and attention by shaping their concepts. Such conceptual engineers sometimes engage in a form of epistemic paternalism that I call paternalistic cognitive engineering: instead of explicitly persuading, informing and educating others, the engineers non-consultatively rely on assumptions about the target agents’ cognitive systems to improve their belief forming. The target agents could reasonably regard such benevolent exercises of control as violating their sovereignty over their own (...)
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  • The good, the bad and the insignificant—assessing concept functions for conceptual engineering.Sigurd Jorem - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-20.
    Many theorists of conceptual engineering appeal to the functions, roles, purposes or aims of concepts to articulate how conceptual engineering ought to be done. The functional approach to conceptual engineering is well-motivated: It promises a good account of the limits of revision, and of what makes some concept good. In this paper, I raise a problem for the functional approach which concerns the existence of harmful and methodologically insignificant concept functions. I examine whether we can deal with these problematic functions (...)
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  • Inferentialist Conceptual Engineering.Sigurd Jorem & Guido Löhr - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    On a representationalist view, conceptual engineering is the practice of changing the extensions and intensions of the devices we use to speak and think. But if this view holds true, conceptual engineering has a bad rationale. Extensions and intensions are not the sorts of things that are better or worse as such. A representationalist account of conceptual engineering thus falls prey to the objection that the practice has a bad rationale. To account for the assumption that conceptual engineering is worthwhile, (...)
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  • Which Concept of Concept for Conceptual Engineering?Manuel Gustavo Https://Orcidorg Isaac - 2023 - Erkenntnis: An International Journal of Scientific Philosophy 88 (5):2145-2169.
    Conceptual engineering is the method for assessing and improving our concepts. However, little has been written about how best to conceive of concepts for the purposes of conceptual engineering. In this paper, I aim to fill this foundational gap, proceeding in three main steps: First, I propose a methodological framework for evaluating the conduciveness of a given concept of concept for conceptual engineering. Then, I develop a typology that contrasts two competing concepts of concept that can be used in conceptual (...)
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  • Broad‐spectrum conceptual engineering.Manuel Gustavo Https://Orcidorg Isaac - 2021 - Ratio 34 (4):286-302.
    Ratio, Volume 34, Issue 4, Page 286-302, December 2021.
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  • Broad-spectrum conceptual engineering.Manuel Gustavo Https://Orcidorg Isaac - 2021 - Ratio 34 (4):286-302.
    Conceptual engineering is the method for assessing and improving our representational devices. On its ‘broad‐spectrum’ version, it is expected to be appropriately applicable to any of our representation‐involving cognitive activities, with major consequences for our whole cognitive life. This paper is about the theoretical foundations of conceptual engineering thus characterised. With a view to ensuring the actionability of conceptual engineering as a broad‐spectrum method, it addresses the issue of how best to construe the subject matter of conceptual engineering and successively (...)
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  • Experimental philosophy and the method of cases.Joachim Horvath & Steffen Koch - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (1):e12716.
    In this paper, we first briefly survey the main responses to the challenge that experimental philosophy poses to the method of cases, given the common assumption that the latter is crucially based on intuitive judgments about cases. Second, we discuss two of the most popular responses in more detail: the expertise defense and the mischaracterization objection. Our take on the expertise defense is that the available empirical data do not support the claim that professional philosophers enjoy relevant expertise in their (...)
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  • Conceptual Engineering and Philosophy of Technology: Amelioration or Adaptation?Jeroen Hopster & Guido Löhr - 2023 - Philosophy and Technology 36 (4):1-17.
    Conceptual Engineering (CE) is thought to be generally aimed at ameliorating deficient concepts. In this paper, we challenge this assumption: we argue that CE is frequently undertaken with the orthogonal aim of _conceptual adaptation_. We develop this thesis with reference to the interplay between technology and concepts. Emerging technologies can exert significant pressure on conceptual systems and spark ‘conceptual disruption’. For example, advances in Artificial Intelligence raise the question of whether AIs are agents or mere objects, which can be construed (...)
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  • What Conceptual Engineering Can Learn from the History of Philosophy of Science: Healthy Externalism and Metasemantic Plasticity.Matteo De Benedetto - 2024 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 14 (1):1-24.
    Conceptual engineering wants analytic philosophy to be centered around the assessment and improvement of philosophical concepts. But contemporary debates about conceptual engineering do not engage much with the vast literature on conceptual change that exists in philosophy of science. In this article, I argue that an adequate appreciation of the history of philosophy of science can contribute to discussions about conceptual engineering. Specifically, I show that the evolution of debates over scientific conceptual change arguably demonstrates that, contrary to what is (...)
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  • Defective food concepts.Andrea Borghini, Nicola Piras & Beatrice Serini - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12225-12249.
    Our aim in this paper is to employ conceptual negotiation to inform a method of rethinking defective food concepts, that is concepts that fail to suitably represent a certain food-related domain or that offer representations that run counter to the interests of their users. We begin by sorting out four dimensions of a food concept: the data upon which it rests and the methodology by which those data are gathered; the ontology that sustains it; the social acts that serve to (...)
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  • Conceptual Injustice.Lisa Bastian - 2024 - The Journal of Ethics 28 (2):263-286.
    In recent years, there has been significant interest in injustices that do not consist in inflicting physical or material harm on others, but operate in more subtle ways, e.g. by targeting our status as epistemic agents. In a similar fashion, this paper aims to bring to the forefront a currently overlooked kind of injustice that occurs in relation to our concepts: conceptual injustice, which is characterised by wrongful in- or exclusion from the application of a concept. The first part of (...)
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  • The Fourfold Route to Empirical Enlightenment: Experimental Philosophy’s Adolescence and the Changing Body of Work.Robert Barnard, Joseph Ulatowski & Jonathan M. Weinberg - 2021 - Filozofia Nauki 29 (2):77-113.
    The time has come to consider whether experimental philosophy’s (“x-phi”) early arguments, debates, and conceptual frameworks, that may have worn well in its early days, fit with the diverse range of projects undertaken by experimental philosophers. Our aim is to propose a novel taxonomy for x-phi that identifies four paths from empirical findings to philosophical consequences, which we call the “fourfold route.” We show how this taxonomy can be fruitfully applied even at what one might have taken to be the (...)
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  • Conceptual Baggage and How to Unpack It.Emilia L. Wilson - 2024 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    Our interpretive resources enable us to make sense of, navigate, and communicate about our shared world. These resources not only carve the world up into categories, but also guide how we, individually and collectively, are oriented towards it. In this thesis, I examine how these resources, and the dispositions they guide, may be harmful. A vital kind of interpretive resources are frames, which equip us with unified perspectives on the world. Perspectives are suites of open-ended interpretive (inquisitive, attentional, inferential, evaluative, (...)
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  • Engineering Social Concepts: Labels and the Science of Categorization.Eleonore Neufeld - forthcoming - In Sally Haslanger, Karen Jones, Greg Restall, Francois Schroeter & Laura Schroeter (eds.), Mind, Language, and Social Hierarchy: Constructing a Shared Social World. Oxford University Press.
    One of the core insights from Eleanor Rosch’s work on categorization is that human categorization isn’t arbitrary. Instead, two psychological principles constrain possible systems of classification for all human cultures. According to these principles, the task of a category system is to provide maximum information with the least cognitive effort, and the perceived world provides us with structured rather than arbitrary features. In this paper, I show that Rosch's insights give us important resources for making progress on the 'feasibility question' (...)
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  • Local Conceptual Engineering in a Linguistic Subgroup and the Implementation Problem.Takaaki Matsui - manuscript
    In this paper, I examine Max Deutsch’s dilemma for the implementation of newly engineered concepts. In the debate over this dilemma, the goal of conceptual engineering tends to be set either too high or too low. As a result, implementation tends to be seen as either very unlikely to succeed or too easily achievable. This paper aims to offer a way out of this dilemma. I argue that the success conditions for implementation can be better understood if we distinguish between (...)
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  • Engineering virtue: constructionist virtue ethics.Jakob Ohlhorst - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Virtue ethics is traditionally a conservative project. It analyses the virtues that humanity has been relying on since antiquity. This conservatism unduly limits the potential of virtue ethics to contribute to moral progress. Instead, we should pay more attention to constructionist virtue ethics with the help of conceptual engineering. I will argue that revising and ameliorating the virtue concepts which a community uses directly and indirectly leads to a change of the virtues that exist in this community. By revising and (...)
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  • Frameworks, models, and case studies: a new methodology for studying conceptual change in science and philosophy.Matteo De Benedetto - 2022 - Dissertation, Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
    This thesis focuses on models of conceptual change in science and philosophy. In particular, I developed a new bootstrapping methodology for studying conceptual change, centered around the formalization of several popular models of conceptual change and the collective assessment of their improved formal versions via nine evaluative dimensions. Among the models of conceptual change treated in the thesis are Carnap’s explication, Lakatos’ concept-stretching, Toulmin’s conceptual populations, Waismann’s open texture, Mark Wilson’s patches and facades, Sneed’s structuralism, and Paul Thagard’s conceptual revolutions. (...)
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