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Matthieu Queloz
Oxford University
  1. Left Wittgensteinianism.Matthieu Queloz & Damian Cueni - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Social and political concepts are indispensable yet historically and culturally variable in a way that poses a challenge: how can we reconcile confident commitment to them with awareness of their contingency? In this article, we argue that available responses to this problem—Foundationalism, Ironism, and Right Wittgensteinianism—are unsatisfactory. Instead, we draw on the work of Bernard Williams to tease out and develop a Left Wittgensteinian response. In present-day pluralistic and historically self-conscious societies, mere confidence in our concepts is not enough. For (...)
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  2. The Self-Effacing Functionality of Blame.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    This paper puts forward an account of blame combining two ideas that are usually set up against each other: that blame performs an important function, and that blame is justified by the moral reasons making people blameworthy rather than by its functionality. The paper argues that blame could not have developed in a purely instrumental form, and that its functionality itself demands that its functionality be effaced in favour of non-instrumental reasons for blame—its functionality is self-effacing. This notion is sharpened (...)
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  3. Choosing Values? Williams Contra Nietzsche.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    Amplifying Bernard Williams’s critique of the Nietzschean project of a revaluation of values, this paper mounts a critique of the idea that whether values will help us to live can serve as a criterion for choosing which values to live by. I explore why it might not serve as a criterion and highlight a number of further difficulties faced by the Nietzschean project. I then come to Nietzsche’s defence, arguing that if we distinguish valuations from values, there is at least (...)
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    Ethics Beyond the Limits. [REVIEW]Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Mind.
    Bernard Williams’ books demand an unusual amount of work from readers. This is particularly true of his 1985 magnum opus, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy—a work so charged with ideas that there seems to be nothing more to say, and yet at the same time so pared-down and tersely argued that there seems to be nothing left to take away. Reflecting on the book five years after its publication, Williams writes that it is centrally concerned with a Nietzschean question: (...)
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  5. The Points of Concepts: Their Types, Tensions, and Connections.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1122-1145.
    In the literature seeking to explain concepts in terms of their point, talk of ‘the point’ of concepts remains under-theorised. I propose a typology of points which distinguishes practical, evaluative, animating, and inferential points. This allows us to resolve tensions such as that between the ambition of explanations in terms of the points of concepts to be informative and the claim that mastering concepts requires grasping their point; and it allows us to exploit connections between types of points to understand (...)
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  6. From Paradigm-Based Explanation to Pragmatic Genealogy.Matthieu Queloz - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):683-714.
    Why would philosophers interested in the points or functions of our conceptual practices bother with genealogical explanations if they can focus directly on paradigmatic examples of the practices we now have?? To answer this question, I compare the method of pragmatic genealogy advocated by Edward Craig, Bernard Williams, and Miranda Fricker—a method whose singular combination of fictionalising and historicising has met with suspicion—with the simpler method of paradigm-based explanation. Fricker herself has recently moved towards paradigm-based explanation, arguing that it is (...)
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  7. Nietzsche as a Critic of Genealogical Debunking: Making Room for Naturalism Without Subversion.Matthieu Queloz & Damian Cueni - 2019 - The Monist 102 (3):277-297.
    This paper argues that Nietzsche is a critic of just the kind of genealogical debunking he is popularly associated with. We begin by showing that interpretations of Nietzsche which see him as engaging in genealogical debunking turn him into an advocate of nihilism, for on his own premises, any truthful genealogical inquiry into our values is going to uncover what most of his contemporaries deem objectionable origins and thus license global genealogical debunking. To escape nihilism and make room for naturalism (...)
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  8. Whence the Demand for Ethical Theory?Damian Cueni & Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Where does the impetus towards ethical theory come from? What drives humans to make values explicit, consistent, and discursively justifiable? This paper situates the demand for ethical theory in human life by identifying the practical needs that give rise to it. Such a practical derivation puts the demand in its place: while finding a place for it in the public decision-making of modern societies, it also imposes limitations on the demand by presenting it as scalable and context-sensitive. This differentiates strong (...)
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  9. How Genealogies Can Affect the Space of Reasons.Matthieu Queloz - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):2005-2027.
    Can genealogical explanations affect the space of reasons? Those who think so commonly face two objections. The first objection maintains that attempts to derive reasons from claims about the genesis of something commit the genetic fallacy—they conflate genesis and justification. One way for genealogies to side-step this objection is to focus on the functional origins of practices—to show that, given certain facts about us and our environment, certain conceptual practices are rational because apt responses. But this invites a second objection, (...)
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  10. Williams’s Pragmatic Genealogy and Self-Effacing Functionality.Matthieu Queloz - 2018 - Philosophers' Imprint 18:1-20.
    In Truth and Truthfulness, Bernard Williams sought to defend the value of truth by giving a vindicatory genealogy revealing its instrumental value. But what separates Williams’s instrumental vindication from the indirect utilitarianism of which he was a critic? And how can genealogy vindicate anything, let alone something which, as Williams says of the concept of truth, does not have a history? In this paper, I propose to resolve these puzzles by reading Williams as a type of pragmatist and his genealogy (...)
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  11. A Shelter From Luck: The Morality System Reconstructed.Matthieu Queloz - manuscript
    The “morality system,” Bernard Williams writes, is “a deeply rooted and still powerful misconception of life.” It combines, in ways that Williams finds problematic, certain quite special conceptions of value, motivation, obligation, practical necessity, responsibility, voluntariness, blame, and guilt. But why does the morality system combine just these ideas in the way it does? And what exactly is wrong with it? This essay seeks to answer these questions by reconstructing the morality system from the ground up, starting by explaining why (...)
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  12. Davidsonian Causalism and Wittgensteinian Anti-Causalism: A Rapprochement.Matthieu Queloz - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:153-72.
    A longstanding debate in the philosophy of action opposes causalists to anti-causalists. Causalists claim the authority of Davidson, who offered powerful arguments to the effect that intentional explanations must be causal explanations. Anti-causalists claim the authority of Wittgenstein, who offered equally powerful arguments to the effect that reasons cannot be causes. My aim in this paper is to achieve a rapprochement between Davidsonian causalists and Wittgensteinian anti-causalists by showing how both sides can agree that reasons are not causes, but that (...)
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  13. Genealogy and Knowledge-First Epistemology: A Mismatch?Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):100-120.
    This paper examines three reasons to think that Craig's genealogy of the concept of knowledge is incompatible with knowledge-first epistemology and finds that far from being incompatible with it, the genealogy lends succour to it. This reconciliation turns on two ideas. First, the genealogy is not history, but a dynamic model of needs. Secondly, by recognizing the continuity of Craig's genealogy with Williams's genealogy of truthfulness, we can see that while both genealogies start out from specific needs explaining what drives (...)
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  14. Nietzsche’s Pragmatic Genealogy of Justice.Matthieu Queloz - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (4):727-749.
    This paper analyses the connection between Nietzsche’s early employment of the genealogical method and contemporary neo-pragmatism. The paper has two goals. On the one hand, by viewing Nietzsche’s writings in the light of neo-pragmatist ideas and reconstructing his approach to justice as a pragmatic genealogy, it seeks to bring out an under-appreciated aspect of his genealogical method which illustrates how genealogy can be used to vindicate rather than to subvert, and accounts for Nietzsche’s lack of historical references. On the other (...)
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  15. Revealing Social Functions Through Pragmatic Genealogies.Matthieu Queloz - 2020 - In Rebekka Hufendiek, Daniel James & Raphael Van Riel (eds.), Social Functions in Philosophy: Metaphysical, Normative, and Methodological Perspectives. London: Routledge. pp. 200-218.
    There is an under-appreciated tradition of genealogical explanation that is centrally concerned with social functions. I shall refer to it as the tradition of pragmatic genealogy. It runs from David Hume (T, 3.2.2) and the early Friedrich Nietzsche (TL) through E. J. Craig (1990, 1993) to Bernard Williams (2002) and Miranda Fricker (2007). These pragmatic genealogists start out with a description of an avowedly fictional “state of nature” and end up ascribing social functions to particular building blocks of our practices (...)
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  16. Nietzsche’s English Genealogy of Truthfulness.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie.
    This paper aims to increase our understanding of the genealogical method by taking a developmental approach to Nietzsche’s genealogical methodology and reconstructing an early instance of it: Nietzsche’s genealogy of truthfulness in On Truth and Lie. Placing this essay against complementary remarks from his notebooks, I show that Nietzsche’s early use of the genealogical method concerns imagined situations before documented history, aims to reveal practical necessity before contingency, and focuses on vindication before it turns to subversion or problematization. I argue (...)
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  17. On Ordered Pluralism.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review.
    This paper examines Miranda Fricker’s method of paradigm-based explanation and in particular its promise of yielding an ordered pluralism. Fricker’s starting point is a schism between two conceptions of forgiveness, Moral Justice Forgiveness and Gifted Forgiveness. In the light of a hypothesis about the basic point of forgiveness, she reveals the unity underlying the initially baffling plurality and brings order into it, presenting a paradigmatic form of forgiveness as explanatorily basic and other forms as derivative. The resulting picture, she claims, (...)
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  18. The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  19. Wittgenstein on the Chain of Reasons.Matthieu Queloz - 2016 - Wittgenstein-Studien 7 (1):105-130.
    In this paper, I examine Wittgenstein’s conception of reason and rationality through the lens of his conception of reasons. Central in this context, I argue, is the image of the chain, which informs not only his methodology in the form of the chain-method, but also his conception of reasons as linking up immediately, like the links of a chain. I first provide a general sketch of what reasons are on Wittgenstein’s view, arguing that giving reasons consists in making thought and (...)
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  20. Does Philosophy Have a Vindicatory History? Bernard Williams on the History of Philosophy.Matthieu Queloz - 2017 - Studia Philosophica: The Swiss Journal of Philosophy 76:137-51.
    This paper develops Bernard Williams’s suggestion that for philosophy to ignore its history is for it to assume that its history is vindicatory. The paper aims to offer a fruitful line of inquiry into the question whether philosophy has a vindicatory history by providing a map of possible answers to it. It first distinguishes three types of history: the history of discovery, the history of progress, and the history of change. It then suggests that much of philosophy lacks a vindicatory (...)
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  21. Nietzsches affirmative Genealogien.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 67 (3):429-439.
    This paper argues that besides the critical and historically informed genealogies of his later work, Nietzsche also sketched genealogies that are not historically situated and that display an under-appreciated affirmative aspect. The paper begins by looking at two early examples of such genealogies where datable historical origins are clearly not at issue, which raises the question of what kind of origins Nietzsche is after. It is argued that these genealogies inquire into practical origins—into the original point of certain conceptual practices (...)
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  22. Two Orders of Things: Wittgenstein on Reasons and Causes.Matthieu Queloz - 2017 - Philosophy 92 (3):369-97.
    This paper situates Wittgenstein in what is known as the causalism/anti-causalism debate in the philosophy of mind and action and reconstructs his arguments to the effect that reasons are not a species of causes. On the one hand, the paper aims to reinvigorate the question of what these arguments are by offering a historical sketch of the debate showing that Wittgenstein's arguments were overshadowed by those of the people he influenced, and that he came to be seen as an anti-causalist (...)
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  23. The Double Nature of DNA: Reevaluating the Common Heritage Idea.Matthieu Queloz - 2016 - Journal of Political Philosophy 24 (1):47-66.
    DNA possesses a double nature: it is both an analog chemical compound and a digital carrier of information. By distinguishing these two aspects, this paper aims to reevaluate the legally and politically influential idea that the human genome forms part of the common heritage of mankind, an idea which is thought to conflict with the practice of patenting DNA. The paper explores the lines of reasoning that lead to the common heritage idea, articulates and motivates what emerges as the most (...)
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