Empirical Conceptual Engineering: Implementations, Challenges, and its Theoretical Basis

Today - Tomorrow
Department of Philosophy, University of Zürich

Zollikerstrasse 115, 8008 Zürich

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  • Marie-Gretler Stiftung
  • University of Zurich Graduate School


University of Manchester
University of St. Andrews
University of Hong Kong
University of St Andrews


University of Zürich
University of Zürich
University of Zürich

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Philosophy has recently seen two methodological shifts that have changed many philosophers' self-conception of their research. The first, experimental philosophy, proceeds under the belief that many philosophical questions, traditionally seen to require only careful thought to solve, actually often rest on complex hidden empirical questions. The second methodological shift, conceptual engineering, sees the goal of philosophy to identify defective concepts and then design and spread improved replacement concepts.

Many have argued that conceptual engineering needs experimental philosophy to succeed, yet the ways in which the two methods are intertwined has only begun to be mapped and explored in practice. This workshop aims to explore two main questions: First, should empirical methods be used by conceptual engineers? Second, what does empirical conceptual engineering involve and how should it proceed?

For Zoom info, email Ethan Landes: [email protected]


7th December, 2023

9:00 - 10:00     James Andow: On bringing conceptual engineering and experimental philosophy together
10:30 - 11:15    Tom Ralston: Words or Concepts? Some practical challenges for conceptual engineers
11:30 - 12:15    Aneta Zuber: Empirical Tractability and Functionalist Conceptual Engineer
13:45 - 14:45    Jennifer Nado: Conceptual Engineering and the Negative Experimentalist Challenge
15:00 - 15:45    Clotilde Torregrossa: What on Earth is Going on with Aesthetic Experience? And Should we Really Give Up on It?
16:15 - 17:00    Brian Kobylarz, Fritz Günther, and Guido Löhr: Conceptual engineering must be informed by distributional semantic models

8th December 2023

9:00 - 10:00     Emilia Wilson: Lexical Exploitation and Dual Character Concepts
10:30 - 11:15    Ethan Landes: Do Labels Affect Concept Spread?
11:30 - 12:15    Krzysztof Sękowski, Paul Rehren, and Lucien Baumgartner:  Measuring         (un)intentional conceptual change in philosophy: a corpus study
13:45 - 14:45    Derek Ball: Conceptual Engineering, Mere Theorising, and the Empirical
15:00 - 15:45    Kitnipat Boonyadhammakul: Fixing Attention Research
16:15 - 17:00    Ryan Miller: Empirical Constraints on Implementation: Meta-Linguistic     Negotiations with Cognitive Transaction Costs

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