Conceptual engineering, speaker-meaning and philosophy

Pinder, Mark (2020). Conceptual engineering, speaker-meaning and philosophy. Inquiry (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0020174X.2020.1853342

Abstract

We sometimes seek to change and improve our conceptual repertoire in some way. This is called ‘conceptual engineering’. In recent work, I have defended the ‘Speaker-Meaning Picture’ of conceptual engineering. Independently, while critiquing the conceptual engineering literature, Max Deutsch has argued against understanding conceptual engineering in terms of speaker-meaning. Deutsch’s critique targets what he calls the ‘standard account’ of conceptual engineering and its role in philosophy. In my contribution to this symposium, I also object to the ‘standard account’. I then sketch a more moderate view, centred on the Speaker-Meaning Picture, arguing that it avoids Deutsch’s criticisms. I then discuss a new objection to the Speaker-Meaning Picture, raised by Deutsch in this symposium: that it trivialises conceptual engineering methodology.

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