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Conceptual Engineering and the Politics of Implementation


Queloz, Matthieu; Bieber, Friedemann (2022). Conceptual Engineering and the Politics of Implementation. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 103(3):670-691.

Abstract

Conceptual engineering is thought to face an ‘implementation challenge’: the challenge of securing uptake of engineered concepts. But is the fact that implementation is challenging really a defect to be overcome? What kind of picture of political life would be implied by making engineering easy to implement? We contend that the ambition to obviate the implementation challenge goes against the very idea of liberal democratic politics. On the picture we draw, the implementation challenge can be overcome by institutionalizing control over conceptual uptake, and there are contexts – such as professions that depend on coordinated conceptual innovation – in which there are good reasons to institutionalize control in this fashion. But the liberal fear of this power to control conceptual uptake ending up in the wrong hands, combined with the democratic demand for freedom of thought as a precondition of genuine consent, yields a liberal democratic rationale for keeping implementation challenging.

Abstract

Conceptual engineering is thought to face an ‘implementation challenge’: the challenge of securing uptake of engineered concepts. But is the fact that implementation is challenging really a defect to be overcome? What kind of picture of political life would be implied by making engineering easy to implement? We contend that the ambition to obviate the implementation challenge goes against the very idea of liberal democratic politics. On the picture we draw, the implementation challenge can be overcome by institutionalizing control over conceptual uptake, and there are contexts – such as professions that depend on coordinated conceptual innovation – in which there are good reasons to institutionalize control in this fashion. But the liberal fear of this power to control conceptual uptake ending up in the wrong hands, combined with the democratic demand for freedom of thought as a precondition of genuine consent, yields a liberal democratic rationale for keeping implementation challenging.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Language:English
Date:1 September 2022
Deposited On:09 Nov 2021 14:49
Last Modified:27 Mar 2024 02:52
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0279-0750
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/papq.12394
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)