Carnapian explication and ameliorative analysis: a systematic comparison

Synthese 197 (3):1011-1034 (2020)
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Abstract

A distinction often drawn is one between conservative versus revisionary conceptions of philosophical analysis with respect to commonsensical beliefs and intuitions. This paper offers a comparative investigation of two revisionary methods: Carnapian explication and ameliorative analysis as developed by S. Haslanger. It is argued that they have a number of common features, and in particular that they share a crucial political dimension: they both have the potential to serve as instrument for social reform. Indeed, they may produce improved versions of key concepts of everyday life, for example those pertaining to social categories such as gender and race, which in turn may lead to social change. The systematic comparison of these two frameworks offered here, where similarities as well as differences are discussed, is likely to provide useful guidance to practitioners of both approaches, as it will highlight important aspects of each of them that tend to remain implicit and under-theorized in existing applications of these methodologies to specific questions.

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Catarina Dutilh Novaes
VU University Amsterdam

References found in this work

Logical foundations of probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic.Rudolf Carnap - 1947 - Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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