Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1507-1527 (2019)
AbstractTraditional views on philosophical methodology characterize our primary philosophical goal as production of a successful conceptual analysis. The notion of conceptual analysis, however, faces several challenges—from experimental philosophy to more traditional worries such as the paradox of analysis. This paper explores an alternate approach, commonly called conceptual engineering, which aims at recommending conceptual revisions. An important question for the conceptual engineer is as follows: what counts as a case of successful conceptual engineering? What sorts of revisions are permitted, and what sorts are too revisionary? In this paper I examine ‘functional’ approaches to conceptual engineering, ultimately arguing for a ‘radical’ functionalism according to which even revisions which ‘change the subject’ are permitted, and successful re-engineering is constrained only by the requirement that continuity in needed functions of a pre-engineering concept be maintained somewhere in the postengineering conceptual scheme. I further argue that this approach suggests a heightened role, in metaphilosophical discourse, for a neglected epistemic goal—conceptual efficacy.
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References found in this work
From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual Analysis.Frank Jackson - 1998 - Oxford University Press.
Fixing Language: An Essay on Conceptual Engineering.Herman Cappelen - 2018 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work
The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Function-Based Conceptual Engineering and the Authority Problem.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Mind.
Conspiracy Theories and Evidential Self-Insulation.M. Giulia Napolitano - 2021 - In Sven Bernecker, Amy Flowerree & Thomas Grundmann (eds.), The Epistemology of Fake News. Oxford University Press. pp. 82-105.
Speaker’s Reference, Stipulation, and a Dilemma for Conceptual Engineers.Max Deutsch - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3935-3957.
Engineering What? On Concepts in Conceptual Engineering.Steffen Koch - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1955-1975.
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