Conceptual Engineering and its Place in the History of Philosophy

February 19, 2024 - February 20, 2024

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Saint Louis University
EPFL - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology


University of Warsaw
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

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The Institute of Philosophy II at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw invite you to the online workshop Conceptual Engineering and its Place in the History of Philosophy.

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February 19. 2024 (times are CET)

12.00-13.00: Manuel Gustavo Isaac (EPFL) - The Hallmark Problem for Conceptual Engineering [Keynote Speaker]

13.30-14.15: Fredrik Österblom (Lund University) - How old do we want conceptual engineering to be?

14.20-15.05: Krzysztof Sękowski (Universtiy of Warsaw) & Ethan Landes (University of Zürich) - Conceptual Engineering is old news

15.15-16.00: Matthew Cull (University of Edinburgh) -A Curious Coincidence: Placing Deleuze and Guattari in a History of Conceptual Engineering

16.10-16.55: Simon Wimmer (TU Dortmund) -Cook Wilson as a conceptual engineer

17.00-17.45: Pedro Abreu (University of Lisbon) - Formalization, Explication and Conceptual Engineering

February 20. 2024

12.00-12.45: Emanuela Carta (KU Leuven) - Husserl’s Approach to Conceptual Amelioration

13.30-14.15: Denis Kazankov (CEU) - De Novo Conceptual Engineering in Translation: A Case Study of Translation Words in the Meiji Era.

14.20-15.05: Jonah Dunch(University of Toronto) Xunzi’s Correcting Names as Conceptual (Re-)engineering.

15.15-16.00: Jacob Blitz (University of Arizona) - Virtues for Plumbers

16.10-16.55: Sean Driscoll (Brigham Young University) - Callicles’ Conceptual


17.00-17.45: Scott Berman (Saint Louis University) Conceptual Engineering: A Footnote to Plato [Keynote Speaker]


Conceptual Engineering takes normative considerations on concepts, and revising their meaning as a primal goal for philosophy. It has both linguistic and extra-linguistic goals. Better concepts should allow us to develop better theories (Fischer 2020), overcome hermeneutic injustices (Fricker 2007), and help us navigate our social world (Machery 2017).

Conceptual Engineering is often portrayed as a revolutionary movement seeking to reshape the way we think about philosophy and the act of philosophizing. In this narrative, conceptual engineering emerges as a novel methodological approach in contrast to traditional philosophical methodologies, which primarily involve the analysis of concepts rather than their revision.

However, this depiction of conceptual engineering is not without controversy. Some have argued that the methods advocated by conceptual engineering, as well as the practice of revising or introducing new concepts, have been present in the history of philosophy. It is suggested that many historical philosophical works can be interpreted as early instances of conceptual engineering.

This workshop seeks to explore the question of where conceptual engineering fits within the history of philosophy. We are interested in both:

a) metaphilosophical discussions about the role and methods of improving concepts in the practice of philosophy, and

b) examples that can be seen as applied cases of concept engineering in the history of philosophy.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

- Demonstrations of conceptual engineering in the history of philosophy

- Explicit historical examples of arguments for or against the method of revising concepts

- A historical analysis of how a revised concept had theoretical or social consequences

- A discussion of conceptual engineering is a genuinely new methodology in philosophy

- A difference between contemporary examples of conceptual engineering and historical instances of arguments aimed at concept revision or amelioration

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