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  1. Conspiracy Theories and Evidential Self-Insulation.M. Giulia Napolitano - forthcoming - In Sven Bernecker, Amy Flowerree & Thomas Grundmann (eds.), The Epistemology of Fake News.
    What are conspiracy theories? And what, if anything, is epistemically wrong with them? I offer an account on which conspiracy theories are a unique way of holding a belief in a conspiracy. Specifically, I take conspiracy theories to be self-insulating beliefs in conspiracies. On this view, conspiracy theorists have their conspiratorial beliefs in a way that is immune to revision by counter-evidence. I argue that conspiracy theories are always irrational. Although conspiracy theories involve an expectation to encounter some seemingly disconfirming (...)
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  • Conceptual Engineering, Topics, Metasemantics, and Lack of Control.Herman Cappelen - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):594-605.
    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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  • The Role of Concepts in Fixing Language.Sarah Sawyer - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):555-565.
    This is a contribution to the symposium on Herman Cappelen’s book 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. (...)
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  • Defining 'Democracy': Are We Staying on Topic?Sean Ingham & David Wiens - manuscript
    Political scientists' failure to pay careful attention to the content (as opposed to the operationalization) of their chosen definition of 'democracy' can make them liable to draw invalid inferences from their empirical research. With this problem in mind, we argue for the following proposition: if one wishes to conduct empirical research that contributes to an existing conversation about democracy, then one must choose a definition of 'democracy' that picks out the topic of that conversation as opposed to some other (perhaps (...)
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  • Talk and Thought.Sarah Sawyer - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 379-395.
    This paper provides an externalist account of talk and thought that clearly distinguishes the two. It is argued that linguistic meanings and concepts track different phenomena and have different explanatory roles. The distinction, understood along the lines proposed, brings theoretical gains in a cluster of related areas. It provides an account of meaning change which accommodates the phenomenon of contested meanings and the possibility of substantive disagreement across theoretical divides, and it explains the nature and value of conceptual engineering in (...)
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  • Concepts, Conceptions and Self-Knowledge.Sarah Sawyer - 2019 - Erkenntnis (y).
    Content externalism implies first, that there is a distinction between concepts and conceptions, and second, that there is a distinction between thoughts and states of mind. In this paper, I argue for a novel theory of self-knowledge: the partial-representation theory of self-knowledge, according to which the self-ascription of a thought is authoritative when it is based on a con-scious, occurrent thought in virtue of which it partially represents an underlying state of mind.
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  • Subjective Externalism.Sarah Sawyer - 2018 - Theoria 84 (1):4-22.
    In this article I argue for a novel theory of representational content, which I call ‘subjective externalism’. The view combines an internal, subjective constraint on the attribution of thought content which traditionally underpins internalist theories of thought, and an external, objective constraint on the attribution of thought content which traditionally underpins externalist theories of thought. While internalism and externalism are mutually inconsistent, the constraints to which each theory is committed are not. It is this realization that opens up the conceptual (...)
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  • Thick Concepts and Sociological Research.Gabriel Abend - 2019 - Sociological Theory 37 (3):209-233.
    I consider how to do sociological things with thick concepts, what’s the relation between thick concepts and social facts, what’s unique about thick concepts, and what’s unique about creatures in whose lives there are thick concepts.
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