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PANEL |  Rose Novick (Seattle), Ingo Brigandt (Alberta) and Philipp Haueis (Bielefeld)
PANEL |  Rose Novick (Seattle), Ingo Brigandt (Alberta) and Philipp Haueis (Bielefeld)

Fri, 08 Dec



PANEL | Rose Novick (Seattle), Ingo Brigandt (Alberta) and Philipp Haueis (Bielefeld)


08 Dec 2023, 17:00 – 18:30 CET




Managing conceptual complexity in science: pluralism, eliminativism and neutralism


Philosophers of science frequently discuss how researchers do and should change scientific concepts, but the relevance of these debates to conceptual engineering remains underexplored. This panel aims to shed light on this area by canvassing normative positions on conceptual change in science and discuss with the audience its relevance to debates in conceptual engineering.

Through detailed historical case studies philosophers have learned that scientific concepts like "gene", "species", "force" or "acid" frequently acquire multiple meanings. The panelists will first introduce pluralist, eliminativist and neutralist positions towards such concepts. While pluralists like panelist Ingo Brigandt maintain that scientists that conceptual complexity in science is beneficial because it facilitates communication and the pursuit of epistemic goals and non-epistemic goals, eliminativists argue that polysemous concepts should be eliminated because they lead to miscommunication and degenerating research programs. By contrast, neutralists like panelist Rose Novick claim that most conceptual complexity is neither beneficial nor detrimental, and thus does not require any explicit linguistic management. After canvassing these positions, the panel will discuss, together with the audience, their relevance to theories of conceptual engineering.

Zoom meeting ID: 677 6135 3612  Zoom passcode: CEN23

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