In this paper, it is argued that there are relevant similarities between Aristotle’s account of definition and Carnap’s account of explication. To show this, first, Aristotle’s conditions of adequacy for definitions are provided and an outline of the main critique put forward against Aristotle’s account of definition is given. Subsequently, Carnap’s conditions of adequacy for explications are presented and discussed. It is shown that Aristotle’s conditions of extensional correctness can be interpreted against the backdrop of Carnap’s condition of similarity once one skips Aristotelian essentialism and takes a Carnapian and more pragmatic stance. Finally, it is argued that, in general, a complementary rational reconstruction of both approaches allows for resolving problems of interpretational underdetermination.
Ever since the rise of the so-called analytic school in 20th century philosophy, philosophical analysis has often been considered to be synonymous with conceptual analysis. However, criticism has also been levelled at the conceptual analysis procedures, which undermined confidence in the merits of conceptual analysis. As far as the clarification of concepts is concerned, explication is therefore sometimes proposed as an alternative means. Combining historical and systematic perspectives, this volume collects new work on analytical and explicatory methods within 20th century philosophy. The contributions explore how clarificatory and reformatory methods of engaging with concepts have been construed and utilized by such different authors as Aristotle, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap or Mackie, marking out underappreciated congruencies and reevaluating historical disputes. They explore the role of analysis in metaphysics as well as metaethics and examine how methodological accounts relate to underlying ideas about concepts.