The Importance of Concepts

Sarah Sawyer
University of Sussex
Words change meaning over time. Some meaning shift is accompanied by a corresponding change in subject matter; some meaning shift is not. In this paper I argue that an account of linguistic meaning can accommodate the first kind of case, but that a theory of concepts is required to accommodate the second. Where there is stability of subject matter through linguistic change, it is concepts that provide the stability. The stability provided by concepts allows for genuine disagreement and ameliorative change in the context of conceptual engineering.
Keywords Concepts  Conceptions  Externalism  Conceptual Engineering  Meaning Change  Language
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DOI 10.1093/arisoc/aoy008
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References found in this work BETA

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Citations of this work BETA

The Role of Concepts in Fixing Language.Sarah Sawyer - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
Subjective Externalism.Sarah Sawyer - 2018 - Theoria 84 (1):4-22.

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