Concepts and Conceptual Analysis



    1. University of Sheffield
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    1. Rice University
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      This paper is fully collaborative; the order of the authors' names is arbitrary. We wish to thank the AHRB and Rice University for their generous support of this research. We would also like to thank Murat Aydede, Richard Boyd, Craig Callender, Chris Hookway, Rosanna Keefe, Philip Robbins. Stephen Stich, Scott Sturgeon, Jonathan Sutton, and an anonymous referee.


Conceptual analysis is undergoing a revival in philosophy, and much of the credit goes to Frank Jackson. Jackson argues that conceptual analysis is needed as an integral component of so-called serious metaphysics and that it also does explanatory work in accounting for such phenomena as categorization, meaning change, communication, and linguistic understanding. He even goes so far as to argue that opponents of conceptual analysis are implicitly committed to it in practice. We show that he is wrong on all of these points and that his case for conceptual analysis doesn't succeed. At the same time, we argue that the sorts of intuitions that figure in conceptual analysis may still have a significant role to play in philosophy. So naturalists needn't disregard intuitions altogether.