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  1. Williams’s Debt to Wittgenstein.Matthieu Queloz & Nikhil Krishnan - forthcoming - In Marcel van Ackeren & Matthieu Queloz (eds.), Bernard Williams on Philosophy and History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter argues that several aspects of Bernard Williams’s style, methodology, and metaphilosophy can be read as evolving dialectically out of Wittgenstein’s own. After considering Wittgenstein as a stylistic influence on Williams, especially as regards ideals of clarity, precision, and depth, Williams’s methodological debt to Wittgenstein is examined, in particular his anthropological interest in thick concepts and their point. The chapter then turns to Williams’s explicit association, in the 1990s, with a certain form of Wittgensteinianism, which he called ‘Left Wittgensteinianism’. (...)
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  • Conceptual Engineering and the Politics of Implementation.Matthieu Queloz & Friedemann Bieber - 2022 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (3):670-691.
    Conceptual engineering is thought to face an ‘implementation challenge’: the challenge of securing uptake of engineered concepts. But is the fact that implementation is challenging really a defect to be overcome? What kind of picture of political life would be implied by making engineering easy to implement? We contend that the ambition to obviate the implementation challenge goes against the very idea of liberal democratic politics. On the picture we draw, the implementation challenge can be overcome by institutionalizing control over (...)
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  • Genealogy as Meditation and Adaptation with the Han Feizi.Lee Wilson - 2022 - The Monist 105 (4):452-469.
    This paper focuses on an early Chinese conception of genealogical argumentation in the late Warring States text Han Feizi and a possible response it has to the problem of genealogical self-defeat as identified by Amia Srinivasan —i.e., the genealogist cannot seem to support their argument with premises their interlocutor or they themselves can accept, given their own argument. The paper offers a reading of Han Fei’s genealogical method that traces back to the meditative practice of an earlier Daoist text the (...)
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  • The virtues of truth: On democracy’s epistemic value.Zhichao Tong - 2022 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 48 (3):416-436.
    Drawing on Bernard Williams's Truth and Truthfulness and Miranda Fricker's Epistemic Justice, this article presents an epistemic argument for democracy on the basis of its ability to incentivize more people to display the virtues of truth required for the social production and aggregation of knowledge. In particular, the article compares democracy respectively with autocracy and epistocracy, showing that it is likely to be, within the context of a modern pluralistic society, an epistemically superior regime in the sense that it creates (...)
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  • Genealogical Solutions to the Problem of Critical Distance: Political Theory, Contextualism and the case of Punishment in Transitional Scenarios.Francesco Testini - 2022 - Res Publica 28 (2):271-301.
    In this paper, I argue that one approach to normative political theory, namely contextualism, can benefit from a specific kind of historical inquiry, namely genealogy, because the latter provides a solution to a deep-seated problem for the former. This problem consists in a lack of critical distance and originates from the justificatory role that contextualist approaches attribute to contextual facts. I compare two approaches to genealogical reconstruction, namely the historiographical method pioneered by Foucault and the hybrid method of pragmatic genealogy (...)
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  • Basic Equality.Paul Sagar - 2024 - Princeton University Press.
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  • Virtue Ethics and the Morality System.Matthieu Queloz & Marcel van Ackeren - 2023 - Topoi:1-12.
    Virtue ethics is frequently billed as a remedy to the problems of deontological and consequentialist ethics that Bernard Williams identified in his critique of “the morality system.” But how far can virtue ethics be relied upon to avoid these problems? What does Williams’s critique of the morality system mean for virtue ethics? To answer this question, we offer a more principled characterisation of the defining features of the morality system in terms of its organising ambition—to shelter life against luck. This (...)
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  • The Dworkin–Williams Debate: Liberty, Conceptual Integrity, and Tragic Conflict in Politics.Matthieu Queloz - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (open access):1-27.
    Bernard Williams articulated his later political philosophy notably in response to Ronald Dworkin, who, striving for coherence or integrity among our political concepts, sought to immunize the concepts of liberty and equality against conflict. Williams, doubtful that we either could or should eliminate the conflict, resisted the pursuit of conceptual integrity. Here, I reconstruct this Dworkin–Williams debate with an eye to drawing out ideas of ongoing philosophical and political importance. The debate not only exemplifies Williams's political realism and its connection (...)
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  • The Essential Superficiality of the Voluntary and the Moralization of Psychology.Matthieu Queloz - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1591-1620.
    Is the idea of the voluntary important? Those who think so tend to regard it as an idea that can be metaphysically deepened through a theory about voluntary action, while those who think it a superficial idea that cannot coherently be deepened tend to neglect it as unimportant. Parting company with both camps, I argue that the idea of the voluntary is at once important and superficial—it is an essentially superficial notion that performs important functions, but can only perform them (...)
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  • The Self-Effacing Functionality of Blame.Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1361-1379.
    This paper puts forward an account of blame combining two ideas that are usually set up against each other: that blame performs an important function, and that blame is justified by the moral reasons making people blameworthy rather than by its functionality. The paper argues that blame could not have developed in a purely instrumental form, and that its functionality itself demands that its functionality be effaced in favour of non-instrumental reasons for blame—its functionality is self-effacing. This notion is sharpened (...)
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  • On Ordered Pluralism.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Australasian Philosophical Review 3 (3):305-11.
    This paper examines Miranda Fricker’s method of paradigm-based explanation and in particular its promise of yielding an ordered pluralism. Fricker’s starting point is a schism between two conceptions of forgiveness, Moral Justice Forgiveness and Gifted Forgiveness. In the light of a hypothesis about the basic point of forgiveness, she reveals the unity underlying the initially baffling plurality and brings order into it, presenting a paradigmatic form of forgiveness as explanatorily basic and other forms as derivative. The resulting picture, she claims, (...)
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  • On the Self‐Undermining Functionality Critique of Morality.Matthieu Queloz - 2023 - European Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):501-508.
    Nietzsche’s injunction to examine “the value of values” can be heard in a pragmatic key, as inviting us to consider not whether certain values are true, but what they do for us. This oddly neglected pragmatic approach to Nietzsche now receives authoritative support from Bernard Reginster’s new book, which offers a compelling and notably cohesive interpretation of Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality. In this essay, I reconstruct Reginster's account of Nietzsche’s critique of morality as a “self-undermining functionality critique” and (...)
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  • Left Wittgensteinianism.Matthieu Queloz & Damian Cueni - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):758-777.
    Social and political concepts are indispensable yet historically and culturally variable in a way that poses a challenge: how can we reconcile confident commitment to them with awareness of their contingency? In this article, we argue that available responses to this problem—Foundationalism, Ironism, and Right Wittgensteinianism—are unsatisfactory. Instead, we draw on the work of Bernard Williams to tease out and develop a Left Wittgensteinian response. In present-day pluralistic and historically self-conscious societies, mere confidence in our concepts is not enough. For (...)
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  • Nietzsche’s Conceptual Ethics.Matthieu Queloz - 2023 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 66 (7):1335-1364.
    If ethical reflection on which concepts to use has an avatar, it must be Nietzsche, who took more seriously than most the question of what concepts one should live by, and regarded many of our inherited concepts as deeply problematic. Moreover, his eschewal of traditional attempts to derive the one right set of concepts from timeless rational foundations renders his conceptual ethics strikingly modern, raising the prospect of a Nietzschean alternative to Wittgensteinian non-foundationalism. Yet Nietzsche appears to engage in two (...)
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  • Ethics Beyond the Limits: New Essays on Bernard Williams’ Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. [REVIEW]Matthieu Queloz - 2023 - Mind 132 (525):234-243.
    Bernard Williams’ books demand an unusual amount of work from readers. This is particularly true of his 1985 magnum opus, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (ELP)—a work so charged with ideas that there seems to be nothing more to say, and yet at the same time so pared-down and tersely argued that there seems to be nothing left to take away. Reflecting on the book five years after its publication, Williams writes that it is centrally concerned with a Nietzschean (...)
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  • Function-Based Conceptual Engineering and the Authority Problem.Matthieu Queloz - 2022 - Mind 131 (524):1247-1278.
    In this paper, I identify a central problem for conceptual engineering: the problem of showing concept-users why they should recognise the authority of the concepts advocated by engineers. I argue that this authority problem cannot generally be solved by appealing to the increased precision, consistency, or other theoretical virtues of engineered concepts. Outside contexts in which we anyway already aim to realise theoretical virtues, solving the authority problem requires engineering to take a functional turn and attend to the functions of (...)
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  • Choosing Values? Williams Contra Nietzsche.Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):286-307.
    Amplifying Bernard Williams’ 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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  • Debunking Concepts.Matthieu Queloz - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47 (1):195-225.
    Genealogies of belief have dominated recent philosophical discussions of genealogical debunking at the expense of genealogies of concepts, which has in turn focused attention on genealogical debunking in an epistemological key. As I argue in this paper, however, this double focus encourages an overly narrow understanding of genealogical debunking. First, not all genealogical debunking can be reduced to the debunking of beliefs—concepts can be debunked without debunking any particular belief, just as beliefs can be debunked without debunking the concepts in (...)
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  • Knowledge as a Social Kind.Tammo Lossau - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-20.
    I argue that knowledge can be seen as a quality standard that governs our sharing and storing of information. This standard satisfies certain functional needs, namely it allows us to share and store trustworthy information more easily. I argue that this makes knowledge a social kind, similar in important ways to other social kinds like money. This provides us with a way of talking about knowledge without limiting ourselves to the concept of knowledge. I also outline three ways in which (...)
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  • Explanation and evaluation in Foucault's genealogy of morality.Eli B. Lichtenstein - 2023 - European Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):731-747.
    Philosophers have cataloged a range of genealogical methods by which different sorts of normative conclusions can be established. Although such methods provide diverging ways of pursuing genealogical inquiry, they typically converge in eschewing historiographic methodology, in favor of a uniquely philosophical approach. In contrast, one genealogist who drew on historiographic methodology is Michel Foucault. This article presents the motivations and advantages of Foucault's genealogical use of such a methodology. It advances two mains claims. First, that Foucault's early 1970s work employs (...)
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  • How to Choose Normative Concepts.Ting Cho Lau - 2022 - Analytic Philosophy.
    Matti Eklund (2017) has argued that ardent realists face a serious dilemma. Ardent realists believe that there is a mind-independent fact as to which normative concepts we are to use. Eklund claims that the ardent realist cannot explain why this is so without plumping in favor of their own normative concepts or changing the topic. The paper first advances the discussion by clarifying two ways of understanding the question of which normative concepts to choose: a theoretical question about which concepts (...)
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  • The Shaken Realist: Bernard Williams, the War, and Philosophy as Cultural Critique.Nikhil Krishnan & Matthieu Queloz - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):226-247.
    Bernard Williams thought that philosophy should address real human concerns felt beyond academic philosophy. But what wider concerns are addressed by Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, a book he introduces as being ‘principally about how things are in moral philosophy’? In this article, we argue that Williams responded to the concerns of his day indirectly, refraining from explicitly claiming wider cultural relevance, but hinting at it in the pair of epigraphs that opens the main text. This was Williams’s solution (...)
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  • Dual Minds: Lessons from the French Context of Hume's Social Theory.Catherine Dromelet - 2021 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 19 (3):203-217.
    Hume's theory of mind is often interpreted in associationist terms, portraying the mind as psychological and social. It is also argued that in his most famous philosophical works Hume has an irreligious agenda. These views are problematic because they overlook the issue of social obedience to political authority. By contrast, I examine the connections between Hume's works and those of Bayle and Montaigne. I argue that the French context of Hume's social theory sheds a new light on the dual mind. (...)
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  • Being and holding responsible: Reconciling the disputants through a meaning-based Strawsonian account.Benjamin De Mesel - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (6):1893-1913.
    A fundamental question in responsibility theory concerns the relation between being responsible and our practices of holding responsible. ‘Strawsonians’ often claim that being responsible is somehow a function of our practices of holding responsible, while others think that holding responsible depends on being responsible, and still others think of being and holding responsible as interdependent. Based on a Wittgensteinian reading of Strawson, I develop an account of the relation between being and holding responsible which respects major concerns of all parties (...)
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  • Whence the Demand for Ethical Theory?Damian Cueni & Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):135-46.
    Where does the impetus towards ethical theory come from? What drives humans to make values explicit, consistent, and discursively justifiable? This paper situates the demand for ethical theory in human life by identifying the practical needs that give rise to it. Such a practical derivation puts the demand in its place: while finding a home for it in the public decision-making of modern societies, it also imposes limitations on the demand by presenting it as scalable and context-sensitive. This differentiates strong (...)
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  • Reconsidering harm in psychiatric manuals within an explicationist framework.Mia Biturajac & Marko Jurjako - 2022 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25:239–249.
    The notion of harm has been a recurring and a significant notion in the characterization of mental disorder. It is present in eminent diagnostic manuals such as DSM and ICD, as well as in the discussion on mental disorders in philosophy of psychiatry. Recent demotion of harm in the definition of mental disorders in DSM-5 shows a general trend towards reducing the significance of harm when thinking about the nature of mental disorders. In this paper, we defend the relevance of (...)
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  • A Higher-Order Account of the Phenomenology of Particularity.Jacob Berger - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    Many theorists maintain that perceptual experience exhibits the what is often called the phenomenology of particularity: that in perceptual experience it phenomenally seems that there are particular things. Some urge that this phenomenology demands special accounts of perception on which particulars somehow constitute perceptual experience, including versions of relationalism, on which perception is a relation between perceivers and particular perceived objects, or complex forms of representationalism, on which perception exhibits demonstrative or special particular-involving types of content. I argue here that (...)
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  • The Ethics of Conceptualization: A Needs-Based Approach.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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  • Reasons of Love and Conceptual Good-for-Nothings.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - In Michael Frauchiger & Markus Stepanians (eds.), Themes from Susan Wolf. Berlin: De Gruyter.
    What reasons do we have to use certain concepts and conceptions rather than others? Approaching that question in a methodologically humanistic rather than Platonic spirit, one might seek “reasons for concept use” in how well concepts serve the contingent human concerns of those who live by them. But appealing to the instrumentality of concepts in meeting our concerns invites the worry that this yields the wrong kind of reasons, especially if the relevant concerns are nonmoral ones. Drawing on Susan Wolf’s (...)
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  • Generics in Use.Annie Bosse - 2021 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
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  • Law as a Test of Conceptual Strength.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - In Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco, Daniel Peixoto Murata & Julieta Rabanos (eds.), Bernard Williams on Law and Jurisprudence: From Agency and Responsibility to Methodology. Oxford: Hart.
    In ‘What Has Philosophy to Learn from Tort Law?’, Bernard Williams reaffirms J. L. Austin’s suggestion that philosophy might learn from tort law ‘the difference between practical reality and philosophical frivolity’. Yet while Austin regarded tort law as just another repository of time-tested concepts, on a par with common sense as represented by a dictionary, Williams argues that ‘the use of certain ideas in the law does more to show that those ideas have strength than is done by the mere (...)
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  • The Construction of Epistemic Normativity.Michael Hannon & Elise Woodard - manuscript
    This paper aims to solve a puzzle for instrumental conceptions of epistemic normativity. The puzzle is this: if the usefulness of epistemic norms explains their normative grip on us, why does it seem improper to violate these norms even when doing so would benefit us? To solve this puzzle, we argue that epistemic instrumentalists must adopt a more social approach to normativity. In particular, they should not account for the nature of epistemic normativity by appealing to the goals of individual (...)
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  • Wittgenstein and the Cognitive Science of Religion: Interpreting Human Nature and the Mind.Robert Vinten (ed.) - 2023 - London: Bloomsbury Academic.
    Advancing our understanding of one of the most influential 20th-century philosophers, Robert Vinten brings together an international line up of scholars to consider the relevance of Ludwig Wittgenstein's ideas to the cognitive science of religion. Wittgenstein's claims ranged from the rejection of the idea that psychology is a 'young science' in comparison to physics to challenges to scientistic and intellectualist accounts of religion in the work of past anthropologists. Chapters explore whether these remarks about psychology and religion undermine the frameworks (...)
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  • The Philosophy of Online Manipulation.Michael Klenk & Fleur Jongepier (eds.) - 2022 - Routledge.
    Are we being manipulated online? If so, is being manipulated by online technologies and algorithmic systems notably different from human forms of manipulation? And what is under threat exactly when people are manipulated online? This volume provides philosophical and conceptual depth to debates in digital ethics about online manipulation. The contributions explore the ramifications of our increasingly consequential interactions with online technologies such as online recommender systems, social media, user-friendly design, micro-targeting, default-settings, gamification, and real-time profiling. The authors in this (...)
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  • (草稿) バーナード・ウィリアムズによる系譜学の擁護と「道徳の系譜学」(Bernard Williams' defense of genealogy and his genealogy of morality).Kazuki Watanabe - manuscript
    This manuscript explores Bernard Williams' discussion of the nature of genealogy. Also, I attempt to reconstruct his genealogy of the morality system.
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  • A defense of reconstructivism.Oliver Toth - 2022 - Hungarian Review of Philosophy 65 (1):51-68.
    The immediate occasion for this special issue was Christia Mercer’s influential paper “The Contextualist Revolution in Early Modern Philosophy”. In her paper, Mercer clearly demarcates two methodologies of the history of early modern philosophy. She argues that there has been a silent contextualist revolution in the past decades, and the reconstructivist methodology has been abandoned. One can easily get the impression that ‘reconstructivist’ has become a pejorative label that everyone outright rejects. Mercer’s examples of reconstructivist historians of philosophy are deceased (...)
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  • Natural Thoughts and Unnatural ‘Oughts’: Lessing, Wittgenstein, and Contemporary CSR.Guy Axtell - forthcoming - In Robert Vinten (ed.), Wittgenstein and Cognitive Science of Religion. London: Bloomsbury.
    Wittgenstein’s “Lectures on Religious Belief” (LRB) provide a source for as yet unexplored connections to religious ideas as treated in Robert N. McCauley’s book Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not (2013), and to other CSR scholars who focus attention on how “cognitively speaking it is religion that is natural and science that is largely unnatural.” Tensions are explored in this paper between our “maturationally natural” religious inclinations to adopt religious ideas and the “unnatural” demands sometimes made upon people, (...)
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  • "Knowledge First" and Its Limits.Tammo Lossau - 2022 - Dissertation, Johns Hopkins University
    I discuss three understandings of the idea of “Knowledge First Epistemology”, i.e. Timothy Williamson’s suggestion that we should take knowledge as a starting point, rather than trying to analyze it. Some have taken this to be a suggestion about the role of the concept of knowledge, but Williamson also seems to be concerned with intuition-based metaphysics. As an alternative, I develop the idea that knowledge may be a social kind that can be understood through a functional analysis in the tradition (...)
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  • A Shelter from Luck: The Morality System Reconstructed.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - In András Szigeti & Matthew Talbert (eds.), Morality and Agency: Themes from Bernard Williams. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 182-209.
    Far from being indiscriminately critical of the ideas he associated with the morality system, Bernard Williams offered vindicatory explanations of its crucial building blocks, such as the moral/non-moral distinction, the idea of obligation, the voluntary/involuntary distinction, and the practice of blame. The rationale for these concessive moves, I argue, is that understanding what these ideas do for us when they are not in the service of the system is just as important to leading us out of the system as the (...)
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  • Wittgenstein and the ABC's of Religious Epistemics.Axtell Guy - forthcoming - In Pritchard Duncan & Venturinha Nuno (eds.), Wittgenstein and the Epistemology of Religion. Oxford University Press.
    This paper continues my development of philosophy of religion as multi-disciplinary comparative research. An earlier paper, “Wittgenstein and Contemporary Belief-Credence Dualism” compared Wittgensteinian reflections on religious discourse and praxis with B-C dualism as articulated by its leading proponents. While some strong commonalities were elaborated that might help to bridge Continental and Analytic approaches in philosophy of religion, Wittgenstein was found to be a corrective to B-C dualism especially as regards how the psychology and philosophy of epistemic luck/risk applies to doxastic (...)
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