Conceptual evaluation: epistemic

In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Ethics and Conceptual Engineering. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract
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 of things that cry out for explanation; that we evaluate not only ‘empirical' concepts, but also mathematical and perhaps moral concepts from an epistemic perspective; and that there is much more complexity to the concept/property relation than the natural thought seems to presuppose. These observations, it is argued, rule out giving a theory of conceptual evaluation that is a corollary of a metaphysical ranking of the relevant properties. conceptual ethics, explanation, naturalness, epistemic value, concept/property, semantic internalism
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Archival date: 2019-07-03
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