Conceptual re-engineering: from explication to reflective equilibrium

Brun, Georg (2017). Conceptual re-engineering: from explication to reflective equilibrium. Synthese Springer Science+Business Media 10.1007/s11229-017-1596-4

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Carnap and Goodman developed methods of conceptual re-engineering known respectively as explication and reflective equilibrium. These methods aim at advancing theories by developing concepts that are simultaneously guided by preexisting concepts and intended to replace these concepts. This paper shows that Carnap’s and Goodman’s methods are historically closely related, analyses their structural interconnections, and argues that there is great systematic potential in interpreting them as aspects of one method, which ultimately must be conceived as a component of theory development. The main results are: an adequate method of conceptual reengineering must focus not on individual concepts but on systems of concepts and theories; the linear structure of Carnapian explication must be replaced by a process of mutual adjustments as described by Goodman; Carnap’s condition of similarity can be analysed into two components, one securing a relation to the specific extensions of the pre-existing concepts, one regulating the transition to the new system of concepts; these two criteria of adequacy can be built into Goodman’s account of reflective equilibrium to ensure that the resulting concepts promote theoretical virtues while being sufficiently similar to the concepts we started out with.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Theoretical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Brun, Georg

Subjects:

100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 120 Epistemology
100 Philosophy > 160 Logic

ISSN:

0039-7857

Publisher:

Springer Science+Business Media

Funders:

[42] Schweizerischer Nationalfonds

Language:

English

Submitter:

Georg Brun

Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2018 12:59

Last Modified:

25 Apr 2018 17:22

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s11229-017-1596-4

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Explication Reflective equilibrium Definition Reconstruction Conceptual engineering Carnap Goodman

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.108932

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/108932

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