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Reshaping the World: A Systematic Unified Framework for Conceptual Engineering

Applicant Isaac Manuel Gustavo
Number 183807
Funding scheme Postdoc.Mobility
Research institution
Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics Philosophy Department Macquarie University
Center for the Philosophy of Science University of Pittsburgh
Arché, Philosophical Research Centre The University of St Andrews
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.12.2019 - 31.05.2021
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Keywords (5)

Theory of concepts; Philosophical methodology; Theory of cognition; Conceptual engineering; Metaphilosophy

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
On utilise en permanence des concepts pour faire sens du monde dans lequel on vit. Pour en parler, pour l’expliquer, pour le comprendre, pour le partager. Nos concepts déterminent par là non seulement ce que l’on peut dire, imaginer ou savoir, mais encore ce que l’on peut faire et comment l’on peut vivre. Pensons simplement à la quantité de déchets que l’on peut recycler grâce à de bons concepts de tri sélectif. Pareils exemples sont disponibles partout tout le temps autour de nous. Et l’ingénierie conceptuelle est ce programme de recherche qui précisément vise à nous doter d’une méthode pour créer de meilleurs de concepts. Mais comment cela fonctionne-t-il donc? Comment crée-t-on de meilleurs concepts? Et que sont les concepts, pour commencer?
Lay summary
L’ingénierie conceptuelle est un programme de recherche en philosophie analytique contemporaine qui vise à nous doter d’une méthode pour évaluer et améliorer n’importe lequel des concepts que nous utilisons dans nos activités cognitives. Peu de choses ont cependant été dites à ce jour quant à la manière de comprendre ce que sont les concepts et ce qu’est la cognition dans le cadre de l’ingénierie conceptuelle. Et en l’absence de pareille compréhension de ses fondations théoriques, l’ingénierie conceptuelle paraît vouée à l’échec, n’opérant alors que comme une méthode éparse manquant de toute emprise globale sur son propre domaine d’investigation. L’objectif principal du présent projet de recherche est de pallier ce manque fondamental en vue d’assurer la mise en œuvre effective de l’ingénierie conceptuelle. Dans un premier temps, le but sera de développer une théorie des concepts qui assure à la méthode de l’ingénierie conceptuelle la plus grande portée sur l’ensemble de notre appareil conceptuel. Dans un deuxième temps, le but sera de développer une théorie de la cognition qui assure à cette même méthode le plus grand impact sur nos activités cognitives. Enfin, dans un troisième temps et sur la base de ces fondations théoriques, le but sera de développer la méthode même de l’ingénierie conceptuelle afin de lui garantir la plus facile des utilisations. Cette unification systématique du cadre théorique de l’ingénierie conceptuelle est donc ainsi escomptée assurer à terme sa mise en œuvre effective en tant que méthode. 
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 05.11.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
What should conceptual engineering be all about?
Isaac Manuel Gustavo (2021), What should conceptual engineering be all about?, in Philosophia, 1-13.
Post-truth conceptual engineering
Isaac Manuel Gustavo (2021), Post-truth conceptual engineering, in Inquiry, 1-16.
Broad-spectrum conceptual engineering
Isaac Manuel Gustavo (2021), Broad-spectrum conceptual engineering, in Ratio: An International Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 0(0), 1-17.
How to conceptually engineer conceptual engineering?
Isaac Manuel Gustavo (2020), How to conceptually engineer conceptual engineering?, in Inquiry, 1-24.
Inquiry. Special issue: "Foundational Issues in Conceptual Engineering"
Koch Steffen, Isaac Manuel Gustavo (ed.) (2020), Inquiry. Special issue: "Foundational Issues in Conceptual Engineering", Taylor & Francis, UK.
Which Concept of Concept for Conceptual Engineering?
IsaacManuel Gustavo, Which Concept of Concept for Conceptual Engineering?, in Erkenntnis: An International Journal of Scientific Philosophy .

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Conference: ‘Applied Conceptual Engineering’ @ University of St Andrews Talk given at a conference Applied empirical conceptual engineering 13.05.2021 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Isaac Manuel Gustavo;
Workshop: The Implementation Challenge 2 @ University of St Andrews Talk given at a conference Applied empirical conceptual engineering 15.03.2021 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Isaac Manuel Gustavo;
Arché Conceptual Engineering Seminar @ University of St Andrews Individual talk Applied empirical conceptual engineering 15.12.2020 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Isaac Manuel Gustavo;
Workshop: The Implementation Challenge 1 @ University of St Andrews Talk given at a conference Applied empirical conceptual engineering 10.12.2020 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Isaac Manuel Gustavo;
European Congress of Analytic Philosophy @ Utrecht University Talk given at a conference Broad-spectrum conceptual engineering 05.08.2020 Utrecht, Netherlands Isaac Manuel Gustavo;
Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Philosophy @ University of Edinburgh Talk given at a conference The implementation challenge from a psychological point of view 10.07.2020 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Isaac Manuel Gustavo;
Joint Session Aristotelian Society and Mind Association @ University of Kent Talk given at a conference Concepts as functional kinds 06.07.2020 Canterburry, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Isaac Manuel Gustavo;
SNSF Fellows Conference @ Swissnex Boston Talk given at a conference Conceptual engineering 29.06.2020 Boston, United States of America Isaac Manuel Gustavo;
Arché Conceptual Engineering Seminar @ University of St Andrews Individual talk Broad-spectrum conceptual engineering 17.12.2019 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Isaac Manuel Gustavo;
St Andrews/Vienna Workshop @ University of Vienna Talk given at a conference Broad-spectrum conceptual engineering 09.12.2019 Vienna, Austria Isaac Manuel Gustavo;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Conference ‘Applied Conceptual Engineering’ @ University of St Andrews 13.05.2021 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Workshop ‘The Implementation Challenge 2’ @ University of St Andrews 15.03.2021 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Workshop ‘The Implementation Challenge 2’ @ University of St Andrews 10.12.2020 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Symposium ‘Metaphilosophical Issues in Conceptual Engineering’ @ European Congress of Analytic Philosophy 24.08.2020 Utrecht, Netherlands
Panel ‘The Implementation Challenge to Conceptual Engineering’ @ Annual Meeting of the Society of Applied Philosophy 06.07.2020 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Arché Seminar on Conceptual Engineering @ University of St Andrews 31.03.2020 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Arché Conceptual Engineering YouTube International 2020
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Conceptual Engineering Group Facebook International 2020

Awards

Title Year
THOUGHT Trust Conference Grant 2019

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
171736 Sign, Meaning, Reference (SIMERE). A Semiotic Epistemology for Conceptual Engineering 01.04.2017 Early Postdoc.Mobility

Abstract

We use concepts all the time to make sense of reality. That of foodstuff types to put the groceries away, of GDP metrics to measure the country's economic progress, of `force' to explain the falling of bodies in Newtonian mechanics, etc. Here the quality of our cognitive activity crucially depends on the quality of our conceptual apparatus, so that: the better our concepts are, the better our cognition will be. Think of the percentage of waste you can recycle thanks to good concepts of selective sorting. Example like this are all around us everyday. And conceptual engineering is the new research program that precisely means to provide a method to assess and improve any of our concepts working as such cognitive devices. But conceptual engineering is still a very young research field and it still lacks, to date, an explicit account of what concepts are (as cognitive devices) and of what engineering is (in the case of conceptual cognition). Now, without such prior understanding of its subject matter, or so it is claimed here, conceptual engineering is bound to remain useless, merely operating as a piecemeal approach with no overall grip on its target domain. The purpose of the present research project is to overcome this knowledge gap by developing the theories of concepts and of (cognitive) engineering that will ground the systematic unified framework needed to efficiently and consistently implement conceptual engineering as a method for the cognitive optimization of our concepts. Given that conceptual deficiencies are ubiquitous (as revealed throughout many informational interviews with policy-makers, think tanks, entrepreneurs, practitioners and researchers from various domains), the challenge of setting up conceptual engineering in this way is of the most urgent scientific relevance.
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