CFP: Conceptual Engineering and its Place in the History of Philosophy

Submission deadline: December 17, 2023

Conference date(s):
February 19, 2024 - February 20, 2024

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The Institute of Philosophy II at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw are pleased to announce a Call for Abstracts for an upcoming online workshop Conceptual Engineering and its Place in the History of Philosophy.

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

Papers may cover any tradition in any historical period, including ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy. Presentations should be 25 minutes in length, followed by 20 minutes of discussion.

Please send an abstract (500 words) to [email protected] or [email protected] by the 17th of December. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by December 31st

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