There is no dilemma for conceptual engineering. Reply to Max Deutsch

Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2279-2291 (2020)
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Abstract

Max Deutsch has recently argued that conceptual engineering is stuck in a dilemma. If it is construed as the activity of revising the semantic meanings of existing terms, then it faces an unsurmountable implementation problem. If, on the other hand, it is construed as the activity of introducing new technical terms, then it becomes trivial. According to Deutsch, this conclusion need not worry us, however, for conceptual engineering is ill-motivated to begin with. This paper responds to Deutsch by arguing, first, that there is a third construal of conceptual engineering, neglected by him, which renders it both implementable and non-trivial, and second, that even the more ambitious project of changing semantic meanings is no less feasible than other normative projects we currently pursue. Lastly, the value of conceptual engineering is defended against Deutsch’s objections.

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Author's Profile

Steffen Koch
Bielefeld University

References found in this work

Studies in the way of words.Herbert Paul Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Logical foundations of probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
Philosophy Within its Proper Bounds.Edouard Machery - 2017 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

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