Live blogging: Maria Kon

For Jackson, a concept is the meaning of a term.  For him, a concept’s structure and reference is fixed by its theoretical role (a descriptivist model rather than a “causal reference” model).  J uses conceptual analysis to solve the “location problem” — the problem of reconciling the phenomena with one’s fundamental ontology (locating the world in the fundamental stuff).

Two steps:

1. Find out the referents of upper-level terms (establish our shared “folk theory” via reflection on linguistic intuitions).  This tells us the theoretical role of the upper-level concepts (e.g. “water”).

2. Determine whether statements involving the concept to be analyzed are entailed by lower-level descriptions of reality.  (If not, we can eliminated the concept.)  Example: our folk concept of water as potable liquid can be reconciled with our theoretical entity H2O, so we have “located” water in H2O.

Kon notes that Jackson assumes the lower-level description should come from our best scientific theory.


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