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09:15-10:45 Session 6: Concepts and ethics
Location: UniS, A-122
Virtues, Rights, or Consequences? Mapping the Way for Conceptual Ethics

ABSTRACT. Are there virtues that constitutively involve using certain conceptsDoes it make sense to speak of rights and duties to use certain concepts? And do consequentialist approaches to concepts necessarily have to reproduce the difficulties that plague utilitarianism? These are fundamental orientating questions for the emerging field of conceptual ethics. In this talk, I first map out and explore the main ways in conceptual ethics might hope to take its cue from the virtue-theoretical, deontological, and consequentialist traditions of ethical thought. After finding them all wanting, I sketch a concern-based approach that looks more promising and show it how avoids the problems of other approaches.

Reconceptualizing Place

ABSTRACT. Various philosophers have discussed the importance of thinking and philosophizing about the concept of ‘place’. A necessary structure of human experience, place is vital to the very foundation of human experience. More than the geography or the arrangement of places, place is a concept that molds human experience and contributes to the understanding of oneself and the world. Despite its importance, place has not been problematized enough, and has been neglected in studies of intersectionality. The role and influence of place in a person’s diversity wheel and web of oppressive structures have been reduced to either racial, class, or gender mere racial categories. As a result, current critical theories fall short of drawing up the effects of place on intersectionality. I propose a reconceptualization of place and highlight the role that place aspects play in the oppression and marginalization of individuals.

11:15-12:45 Session 7A: History: 18th and 19th century
Location: UniS, A-122
Aufklärung der Begriffe: Zur Ordnungslogik der „Encyclopédie“

ABSTRACT. Die von Denis Diderot und Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert herausgegebene 'Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers' möchte mehr als nur ein Wörterbuch oder Lexikon sein, da die darin enthaltenen Begriffe 'begründet' (raisonné) sind. Die in der 'Enzyklopädie' enthaltenen Begriffe sind also gemäß einer bestimmten Logik organisiert, so dass ihre Struktur nicht allein in der alphabetischen Reihenfolge der Wörter besteht. Die aufklärerische Leistung der 'Enzyklopädie' besteht also nicht zuletzt darin, ihre Begriffe aufzuklären. Worin besteht aber genau die Begründung oder Begriffs-Logik der 'Enzyklopädie'? Im Folgenden wird dafür argumentiert, dass die 'Enzyklopädie' eine vierfache Ordnungslogik aufweist, die (i) in linear-sukzessiver alphabetischer Ordnung, (ii) in relational-diskursiver begrifflicher Ordnung, (iii) in organischer epistemischer Ordnung und (iv) in reflexiver performativer Ordnung besteht.

Mary Shepherd on Non-Conceptual Knowledge

ABSTRACT. In this paper I focus on the notion of “latent” reasoning and conception (cf. e.g., Essays on the Perception of an External Universe, xiii) in the works of the Scottish philosopher Mary Shepherd (1777–1847). I argue that Shepherd holds latent reasonings to lead to “latent conceptions” which are – despite the name – non-conceptual (causal) inferences. This is in line with Shepherd’s repeated insistence that children and non-human animals have such “latent powers” (e.g., ibid., 314). Taken together this suggests an understanding of the fundamental functions of the mind which is capable of performing rather complex operations without concepts, which in turn result in comparatively rich non-conceptual knowledge.

11:15-12:45 Session 7B: Philosophy of mind/conceptual relations
Location: UniS, B-102
Social externalism and ordinary attitude attributions

ABSTRACT. According to social externalism, the content of our thoughts is determined partly by our social environment. The main argument for this view, Burge’s argument from partial understanding, crucially relies on ordinary attitude attributions. However, the debate about this argument neglects their vocabulary dependency: which attitude we attribute to someone who manifests a deviant understanding of a word depends on our vocabulary. Recognition of this feature makes room for new positions in the debate: relativism and contextualism about thought content. However, the position that accounts best for this and other features of ordinary attitude attributions, is, as I will argue, internalism.

Begriffliche Verhältnisse

ABSTRACT. Von Begriffen wird gerne sehr summarisch gesprochen – so, als seien weitere Unterscheidungen zwischen ihnen nicht möglich. Gegen diese Tendenz gerichtet sollen im Vortrag Unterscheidungen vorgestellt werden, die sinnvoll auf Begriffe angewandt worden sind und deren Anwendungen einen Verdacht nähren, der in der These ausgesprochen werden kann, manche inhaltliche Schwierigkeit habe ihren Ursprung in begrifflichen Verhältnissen.

Zu den begriffliche Verhältnissen gehören unter anderem Planheit und Variabilität der Begriffe (Paul Grice), die Diskrepanz von Sein und Schein und ihr mögliche Zugewinn an Gehalt durch ihre Stellung im Argumentationsgang (J. L Austin). Gerade weil zentrale Begriffe unserer Zeit – man kann an ‘Diskriminierungsverbot’, ‘Gleichheit’, ‘Freiheit’ denken – vor dem gezeichneten Hintergrund fragil erscheinen könnten, ist weitere Aufklärung der sie tragenden begrifflichen Verhältnisse nötig.

14:00-15:15 Session 8: Keynote II
Location: UniS, A-122
Slurs: Derogatory Content and Signalling Functions

ABSTRACT. Philosophers of language are increasingly engaging with derogatory terms or slurs. Only few theorists take such language as a starting point for addressing puzzles in philosophy of language with little connection to our real-world problems. In this talk, I am arguing that the political nature of derogatory language use calls for non-ideal theorising as we find it in the work of feminist and critical race scholars. According to my non-ideal approach to slurs, a two-stage project is necessary to understand their perniciousness: accounting for the derogatory content of concepts expressed by derogatory terms and, additionally, explaining the communicative function of slurs more specifically. I end by showing how inferentialism is well-suited to account for meaning in derogatory language use whilst allowing for further explanations of the communicative functions of slurs.

16:00-17:30 Session 9A: Conceptual analysis
Location: UniS, A-122
The Limits of Conceptual Analysis: A Dilemma

ABSTRACT. Conceptual analysis is widely regarded as a crucial practice in addressing philosophical problems, as it involves analysing concepts to understand the nature of their subject matters. In this paper, I argue that conceptual analysis faces a dilemma: Whether it examines our concepts or those we do not possess, conceptual analysis alone cannot yield truths about the world. In brief, I argue that when analysing our concepts (what we think about a subject matter), we encounter the difficulty of lacking a determinant for the correctness of one's understanding. Even when conceptual analysis examines concepts we do not possess (specifically those formed by stipulation), it remains incapable of yielding truths about the world, due to difficulties in establishing clear and non-contested stipulations within philosophy.

Can inconsistent concepts be analysed?

ABSTRACT. An inconsistent concept is a concept whose constitutive principles logically entail something false. Kevin Scharp argues that inconsistent concepts cannot be analysed. To be fair: Scharp only mentions the concept TRUE, but it would seem that if his argument succeeds for TRUE, it succeeds for every inconsistent concept. I aim to show that Scharp’s argument is illuminating but only establishes a fairly limited conclusion. It establishes that there is one type of analysis which inconsistent concepts cannot receive, but it leaves open that they can receive another, popular type of analysis, which I call a ‘definitional analysis’. I then apply this discussion by using it to defend a Ramseyan analysis of TRUE, and end by relating my argument to alethic nihilism (the view that nothing is true).

16:00-17:30 Session 9B: Language and metaphors
Location: UniS, B-102
Conceptual Innovation via Metaphor: A Multipropositionalist Model for Ad Hoc Concept Construction

ABSTRACT. There is a long tradition of crediting metaphor with bringing about conceptual innovation and semantic change. Within more recent theorizing in linguistics, psychology, and philosophy of language, there are numerous proposals as to how to best cash out this intuitive idea. In this paper, we focus on the relevance-theoretic notion of ad hoc concept construction. We highlight some problems for this framework, according to which metaphor modulates the conceptual meaning of lexical items. Rather, we suggest that metaphor effects a bifurcation at the level of logical form, generating two propositional templates the interaction of which leads to conceptual innovation.

Negotiated Success for Linguistic Intentions

ABSTRACT. Conceptual engineers seek to change the meaning of words in order to make progress on philosophical puzzles or improve society more generally. Pessimists like Hermann Cappelen have raised an externalist objection to the promise of regular success in conceptual engineering, however: language is so stable that semantic grounds must be totally outside of our control. Extreme externalist positions like Cappelen’s generate their own puzzles, though, since the associations between words and their meanings are themselves conventional and originated by human agency. I propose to resolve this dilemma by taking seriously the characterization of semantic disputes as negotiations and introducing a formal financial theory of negotiations to explain why they are more successful in some cases than others and the overall pace of change remains modest.