Amelioration vs. Perversion

In Teresa Marques & Åsa Wikforss (eds.), Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2020)
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Abstract

Words change meaning, usually in unpredictable ways. But some words’ meanings are revised intentionally. Revisionary projects are normally put forward in the service of some purpose – some serve specific goals of inquiry, and others serve ethical, political or social aims. Revisionist projects can ameliorate meanings, but they can also pervert. In this paper, I want to draw attention to the dangers of meaning perversions, and argue that the self-declared goodness of a revisionist project doesn’t suffice to avoid meaning perversions. The road to Hell, or to horrors on Earth, is paved with good intentions. Finally and more importantly, I want to demarcate what meaning perversions are. This, I hope, can help us assess the moral and political legitimacy of revisionary projects.

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Author's Profile

Teresa Marques
Universitat de Barcelona

Citations of this work

The Ethics of Conceptualization: A Needs-Based Approach.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Conceptual Engineering and the Politics of Implementation.Matthieu Queloz & Friedemann Bieber - 2022 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (3):670-691.
Conceptual domination.Matthew Shields - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):15043-15067.
Epistemic Paternalism via Conceptual Engineering.Eve Kitsik - 2023 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 9 (4):616-635.

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Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny.Kate Manne - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.
The semantic conception of truth and the foundations of semantics.Alfred Tarski - 1943 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4 (3):341-376.

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