Genealogy, Evaluation, and Engineering

The Monist (forthcoming)
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Against those who identify genealogy with reductive genealogical debunking or deny it any evaluative and action-guiding significance, I argue for the following three claims: that although genealogies, true to their Enlightenment origins, tend to trace the higher to the lower, they need not reduce the higher to the lower, but can elucidate the relation between them and put us in a position to think more realistically about both relata; that if we think of genealogy’s normative significance in terms of a triadic model that includes the genealogy’s addressee, we can see that in tracing the higher to the lower, a genealogy can facilitate an evaluation of the higher element, and where the lower element is some important practical need rather than some sinister motive, the genealogy can even be vindicatory; and finally, that vindicatory genealogies can offer positive guidance on how to engineer better concepts.
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