Conceptual evaluation: epistemic

In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 304-332 (2020)
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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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Alejandro Pérez Carballo
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.

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