Can conceptual engineering actually promote social justice?

Synthese 200 (2) (2022)
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Abstract

This paper explores the question: What would conceptual engineering have to be in order to promote social justice? Specifically, it argues that to promote social justice, conceptual engineering must deliver the following: it needs to be possible to deliberately implement a conceptual engineering proposal in large communities; it needs to be possible for a conceptual engineering proposal to bring about change to extant social categories; it needs to be possible to bring a population to adopt a conceptual engineering proposal for the right reasons; and it needs to be possible to do – without producing harmful consequences. I show that, of the three dominant approaches to conceptual engineering in the literature, only one of them seems amenable to the idea that it is possible and legitimate to promote social justice in accordance with –.

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