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Conceptual engineering, truth, and efficacy

Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1507-1527 (2019)

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  1. What Should Conceptual Engineering Be All About?Isaac Manuel Gustavo - 2021 - Philosophia Philosophical Quarterly of Israel:1–13.
    Conceptual engineering is commonly characterized as the method for assessing and improving our representational devices. Little has been said, however, on how best to construe these representational devices—in other words, on what conceptual engineering should be all about. This paper tackles this problem with a basic strategy: First, by presenting a taxonomy of the different possible subject matters for conceptual engineering; then, by comparatively assessing them and selecting the most conducive one with a view to making conceptual engineering an actionable (...)
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  • Which Concept of Concept for Conceptual Engineering?Manuel Gustavo Isaac - 2021 - Erkenntnis An International Journal of Scientific Philosophy:1–25.
    Conceptual engineering is the method for assessing and improving our concepts. However, little has been written about how best to conceive of concepts for the purposes of conceptual engineering. In this paper, I aim to fill this foundational gap, proceeding in three main steps: First, I propose a methodological framework for evaluating the conduciveness of a given concept of concept for conceptual engineering. Then, I develop a typology that contrasts two competing concepts of concept that can be used in conceptual (...)
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  • The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  • Topics, Disputes and 'Going Meta'.Viktoria Knoll - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    On a naive view of conceptual engineering, conceptual engineers simply aim at engineering concepts. This picture has recently come under attack. Sarah Sawyer (2018, 2020) and Derek Ball (2020) present two rather different, yet equally unorthodox, accounts of conceptual engineering, which they take to be superior to the naive picture. This paper casts doubts on the superiority of their respective accounts. By elaborating on the explanatory potential of “going meta”, the paper defends the naive view against Sawyer’s and Ball’s rival (...)
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  • Downplaying the Change of Subject Objection to Conceptual Engineering.Delia Belleri - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Conceptual engineering projects have been criticized for creating discontinuities of subject-matter and, as a result, discontinuities in inquiries: call this the Change of Subject objection. In this paper, I explore a way of dealing with the objection that clarifies its scope and eventually downplays it. First, two strategies aimed at saving subject-continuity are examined and found wanting: Herman Cappelen’s appeal to topics, and the account in terms of concept function. Second, the idea is introduced that one can begin an object-level (...)
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  • Engineering What? On Concepts in Conceptual Engineering.Steffen Koch - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Conceptual engineers aim to revise rather than describe our concepts. But what are concepts? And how does one engineer them? Answering these questions is of central importance for implementing and theorizing about conceptual engineering. This paper discusses and criticizes two influential views of this issue: semanticism, according to which conceptual engineers aim to change linguistic meanings, and psychologism, according to which conceptual engineers aim to change psychological structures. I argue that neither of these accounts can give us the full story. (...)
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  • Content internalism and conceptual engineering.Joey Pollock - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    Cappelen proposes a radically externalist framework for conceptual engineering. This approach embraces the following two theses. Firstly, the mechanisms that underlie conceptual engineering are inscrutable: they are too complex, unstable and non-systematic for us to grasp. Secondly, the process of conceptual engineering is largely beyond our control. One might think that these two theses are peculiar to the Austerity Framework, or to metasemantic externalism more generally. However, Cappelen argues that there is no reason to think that internalism avoids either commitment. (...)
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  • Conceptual analysis without concepts.Max Deutsch - forthcoming - Synthese:1-33.
    “Conceptual analysis” is a misnomer—it refers, but it does not refer to a method or practice that involves the analysis of concepts. Once this is recognized, many of the main arguments for skepticism about conceptual analysis can be answered, since many of these arguments falsely assume that conceptual analyses target concepts. The present paper defends conceptual analysis from skepticism about its viability and, positively, presents an argument for viewing conceptual analyses as targeting philosophical phenomena, not our concepts of these phenomena.
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  • Conspiracy Theories and Evidential Self-Insulation.M. Giulia Napolitano - 2021 - In Sven Bernecker, Amy Flowerree & Thomas Grundmann (eds.), The Epistemology of Fake News. Oxford University Press. pp. 82-105.
    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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  • Speaker’s Reference, Stipulation, and a Dilemma for Conceptual Engineers.Max Deutsch - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3935-3957.
    Advocates of conceptual engineering as a method of philosophy face a dilemma: either they are ignorant of how conceptual engineering can be implemented, or else it is trivial to implement but of very little value, representing no new or especially fruitful method of philosophizing. Two key distinctions frame this dilemma and explain its two horns. First, the distinction between speaker’s meaning and reference and semantic meaning and reference reveals a severe implementation problem for one construal of conceptual engineering. Second, the (...)
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  • Is Conceptual Engineering From Japan Feasible?:日本発の概念工学は実行に移せるか?.Ryo Uehara - 2021 - Kagaku Tetsugaku 53 (2):259-273.
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  • Experimental Philosophy and the Method of Cases.Joachim Horvath & Steffen Koch - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (1):e12716.
    In this paper, we first briefly survey the main responses to the challenge that experimental philosophy poses to the method of cases, given the common assumption that the latter is crucially based on intuitive judgments about cases. Second, we discuss two of the most popular responses in more detail: the expertise defense and the mischaracterization objection. Our take on the expertise defense is that the available empirical data do not support the claim that professional philosophers enjoy relevant expertise in their (...)
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