The study of concepts lies at the intersection of various disciplines, both analytic and empiric. The rising cognitive sciences, for instance, are interested in concepts insofar as they are used in an explanation of such diverse epistemic phenomena like categorization, inference, memory, learning, and decision-making. In philosophy, the challenge imposed by conceptualization consists, among other things, in accommodating reverse intuitions about concepts like shareability, mind-dependency, mediation between reference, knowledge and reality, etc. While researchers have collaborated more and more to contribute to a unified understanding of concepts and categorization, the joint venture unfortunately suffers (so far) from the fact that it is generally left unclear how exactly the different approaches undertaken in the participating sciences relate to each other. What do psychologists and philosophers mean by the notion of a concept? Is there a core-theory of concepts and categorization underlying analytical and empirical studies? The present collection of essays addresses these and related questions and tries to answer them from both a systematic and a historical perspective.
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.