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Heather Burnett (CNRS, Paris)
Heather Burnett (CNRS, Paris)

Tue, 20 Dec


Online Lecture

Heather Burnett (CNRS, Paris)

Heather Burnett is a Senior Research Scientist at the CNRS, working in the Laboratoire de Linguistique Formelle at the Université de Paris. Her work involves describing new patterns of structure, meaning and communication in natural languages, and developing mathematical tools for analyzing them.


20 Dec 2022, 15:00 – 17:00 CET

Online Lecture


TITLE. — CONCEPTUAL SPACES FOR CONCEPTUAL ENGINEERING? FEMINISM AS A CASE STUDY (in collaboration with Lina Bendifallah, Julie Abbou, and Igor Douven)

ABSTRACT. —  This paper argues that the conceptual spaces framework can be helpful to philosophers engaged in the project of conceptual engineering, even for concepts in the social domain. Recently, there has been much research into conceptual engineering (and related processes explication and amelioration) of concepts central to feminist inquiry and activism, most obviously gender following Haslanger (2000) (see Witt 2011; Jenkins 2016; Díaz León 2020 among many others), but also sexism and misogyny (Manne 2017). Our paper continues in the same vein as this previous work in analytic feminism and aims to explicate a series of other concepts which are important for feminist research and activism: feminist political identity terms. To this end, we will explore how the Conceptual Spaces Framework (CSF; Gärdenfors 2000, 2014) can be applied to the domain of feminism, more specifically, feminism in France. CSF is currently one of the main approaches to conceptual analysis in cognitive science. The core idea of this framework is that properties and concepts can be represented geometrically, as regions in so-called conceptual spaces. A particular strength of the CSF framework is its empirically-focused methodology, which, at least ideally, allows researchers to infer the boundaries of concepts more or less directly from empirical data, thus eliminating the need to strongly rely on philosophers’ or other people’s intuitions about meanings. For this reason, we hypothesize that is can be useful for the explication of concepts relating to feminist political identity, since, as we will show, the intuitions of feminist scholars and activists in this domain are conflicting.

  • Zoom meeting ID: 614 8076 0079
  • Zoom passcode: CEN22

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