Which Concept of Concept for Conceptual Engineering?

Erkenntnis: An International Journal of Scientific Philosophy 88 (5):2145-2169 (2023)
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Abstract

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 engineering — namely, the philosophical and psychological ones. Finally, I evaluate these two concepts of concept using the proposed methodological framework and I show that, when it comes to making conceptual engineering an actionable method, the psychological concept of concept outclasses its philosophical counterpart on all counts. This provides a baseline from which the concept of concept can be further improved for the purposes of conceptual engineering.

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Author's Profile

Manuel Gustavo Isaac
EPFL - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Citations of this work

Engineering Social Concepts: Feasibility and Causal Models.Eleonore Neufeld - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Epistemic Paternalism via Conceptual Engineering.Eve Kitsik - 2023 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 9 (4):616-635.

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References found in this work

Verbal Disputes.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
The Language of Thought.J. A. Fodor - 1978 - Critica 10 (28):140-143.
What is Conceptual Engineering and What Should it Be?David Chalmers - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63.

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