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LECTURE | Tamara Dobler (VU Amsterdam)
LECTURE | Tamara Dobler (VU Amsterdam)

Thu, 23 Nov


Online Lecture

LECTURE | Tamara Dobler (VU Amsterdam)

Tamara Dobler is an Assistant professor at Vrije University Amsterdam. Her research interests include early analytic philosophy of language, Wittgenstein, contextualism and other related topics.


23 Nov 2023, 16:00 – 17:30 CET

Online Lecture



"Concepts and conceptions in conceptual engineering"


In this paper consider the impact that distinguishing concepts from conceptions may have on the possibility of conceptual change and on topic (dis)continuity. In doing so I will revisit some arguments for and against this distinction in a theory of concepts (Rey 1983, 1985, 2010). Utilising Fodor’s file metaphor (Fodor 2008) and Chomsky’s distinction between common-sense and scientific concepts (Chomsky 2000), I will propose a different characterisation of the intended split between concepts and conceptions to the one proposed in Sawyer (2021). Whilst agreeing with Sawyer that different concepts may have different (meta)semantics – some mind-to-world, others world-to-mind direction – I dispute the notion that the categorisation into different kinds of concepts should be approached intuitively, namely, by what we think a concept is the concept of (e.g., that the concept water is a natural kind concept because it supposedly refers to a kind find in nature). On the Chomskian model I put forward, the key distinction is between technical concepts which are artificially engineered for a particular purpose and everyday concepts which are connected to natural language and whose role is to facilitate planning, action, and communication. The proposed meta-semantic framework will have some consequences for our understanding of conceptual revision and topic change.

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