What does the way we clarify and revise concepts reveal about the nature of concepts? This paper investigates the ontological commitments of conceptual analysis and explication regarding their supposed subject matter–concepts. It demonstrates the benefits of a cognitivist account of concepts, according to which they are not items on which the subject operates cognitively, but rather ways in which the subject operates. The proposed view helps to handle alternating references to ‘concepts’ and ‘terms’ in instructions on analysis and explication. Furthermore, its virtue lies not in the capacity to render concepts ‘shareable’ but in its ontological parsimony.
The nature of intuitions remains a contested issue in (meta-)philosophy. Yet, intuitions are frequently cited in philosophical work, featuring most prominently in conceptual analysis, the philosophical method par excellence. In this paper, we approach the question about the nature of intuitions based on a pragmatist, namely, Wittgensteinian account of concepts. To Wittgenstein, intuitions are just immediate ‘ reactions ’ to certain cognitive tasks. His view provides a distinct alternative to identifying intuitions with either doxastic states or quasi-perceptual experiences. We discuss its implications for intuitions’ role in conceptual analysis and show that a Wittgensteinian account of intuitions is compatible even with ambitious metaphysical projects traditionally associated with this method.
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.