Broad-Spectrum Conceptual Engineering

Ratio: An International Journal for Analytic Philosophy 34 (4):286–302 (2021)
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Abstract

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 defends the theses that conceptual engineering should be: (i) About concepts, (ii) psychologically theorised, (iii) as multiply realised functional kinds. Thereby, I claim to theoretically secure and justify the maximum scope, flexibility, and impact for the method of conceptual engineering on our representational devices in our whole cognitive life—in other words, a broad-spectrum version of conceptual engineering.

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Manuel Gustavo Isaac
Swiss National Science Foundation

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