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De Benedetto, Matteo (2020): Explicating ‘Explication’ via Conceptual Spaces. In: Erkenntnis [PDF, 2MB]


Recent years have witnessed a revival of interest in the method of explication as a procedure for conceptual engineering in philosophy and in science. In the philosophical literature, there has been a lively debate about the different desiderata that a good explicatum has to satisfy. In comparison, the goal of explicating the concept of explication itself has not been central to the philosophical debate. The main aim of this work is to suggest a way of filling this gap by explicating ‘explication’ by means of conceptual spaces theory. Specifically, I show how different, strictly-conceptual readings of explication desiderata can be made precise as geometrical or topological constraints over the conceptual spaces related to the explicandum and the explicatum. Moreover, I show also how the richness of the geometrical representation of concepts in conceptual spaces theory allows us to achieve more fine-grained readings of explication desiderata, thereby overcoming some alleged limitations of explication as a procedure of conceptual engineering.

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