Genealogy & Conceptual Engineering
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In philosophy, genealogical analysis corresponds to an examination of the origins and development of specific concepts and accompanying practices. It is a method of historical/philosophical analysis that investigates the different stages of development of particular concepts, focusing both on aspects of continuity and aspects of change. Nietzsche’s genealogy of Christian morality is perhaps the most famous instance of genealogical analysis, but a number of distinguished philosophers such as Hobbes, Hume, Foucault, Bernard Williams, Edward Craig, Martin Kusch, among others, have engaged in genealogical analysis.
Conceptual engineering, in turn, is a methodological approach according to which the role of philosophical analysis is not merely that of analyzing and systematizing commonsensical beliefs while by and large preserving their content. Instead, philosophical analysis should engage critically with commonsensical beliefs, and when necessary modify (‘engineer’) or even replace them with more suitable concepts, in view of specific goals or projects. Carnap’s method of explication and Haslanger’s ameliorative analysis can be viewed as examples of this methodological approach. Conceptual engineering has attracted much attention among in recent years, and is in fact the topic of one of Arché’s five core research programs.
While they are both prominent methods for philosophical analysis, to date there has been no sustained comparison between genealogical analysis and conceptual engineering. This workshop is the first attempt at a systematic comparison between the two. We will address questions such as: What are the relations between genealogical analysis and conceptual engineering in philosophy? Are they competing or complementary methods for philosophical analysis? What is the relevance of historical contextualization more generally for conceptual engineering?
Esa Diaz-Leon (Barcelona),
Alexander Douglas (St. Andrews)
Catarina Dutilh Novaes (VU Amsterdam/St. Andrews)
Manuel Gustavo Isaac (St. Andrews)
Colin Koopman (Oregon — via video conference, TBC)
David Plunkett (Dartmouth)
Matthieu Queloz (Oxford)
April 1, 2020, 9:00am EET