The role of concepts in fixing language

Sawyer, Sarah (2019) The role of concepts in fixing language. Canadian Journal of Philosophy. ISSN 0045-5091 (Accepted)

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (119kB)


This is a contribution to the symposium on Herman Cappelen’s Fixing Language. Cappelen proposes a metasemantic framework—the ‘Austerity Framework’—within which to understand the general phenomenon of conceptual engineering. The proposed framework is austere in the sense that it makes no reference to concepts. Conceptual engineering is then given a ‘worldly’ construal according to which conceptual engineering is a process that operates on the world. I argue, contra Cappelen, that an adequate theory of conceptual engineering must make reference to concepts. This is because concepts are required to account for topic continuity, a phenomenon which lies at the heart of projects in conceptual engineering. I argue that Cappelen’s own account of topic continuity is inadequate as a result of the austerity of his metasemantic framework, and that his worldly construal of conceptual engineering is untenable.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Cappelen; conceptual engineering; metasemantics; externalism; concepts; thought; language.
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Depositing User: Sarah Sawyer
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2019 09:21
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 09:21

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update