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Conceptual tuning : a philosophical method

Abstract : Different human practices require various methods to carry them out successfully. Philosophy, an activity with 2500 years of history, must also have its own method, which demarcates a philosopher from a lay person. This thesis embarks on a project of philosophical method—conceptual tuning. How to do philosophy belongs to the category of metaphilosophy or philosophy of philosophy. Boxers usually do not care about the conceptual question ‘What is boxing?’ and biologists barely ask ‘What is Biology?’. For them, this kind of question is a higher order question which concerns the nature of the thing in itself. It is an external question for most disciplines. But for philosophy, the question concerning the nature of philosophy is an internal question. Self-awareness is a sine qua non of doing philosophy.With such a long history and so many traditions, the method of doing philosophy must be miscellaneous. My thesis attempts to contribute to the discussion of philosophical methodology by proposing a method I shall call conceptual tuning. Conceptual tuning is grounded in the philosophical method of conceptual engineering, advocates of which endeavor to improve our concepts. According to the method of conceptual engineering, philosophical problems stem from defects in our understanding of concepts, and it is the philosopher’s task to fix them. While most conceptual engineering approaches only narrowly focus on the perspective of ‘repairing’ or ‘fixing’, conceptual tuning calls for attention to the ‘expressive’ perspective. In other words, we should put this method in the broad framework of the practice of asking for and giving reasons. In this thesis, I also attempt to explain some previous conceptual methods under the title of conceptual tuning, such as Brandomian method, ordinary language philosophy, and the traditional conceptual analyses.
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Yuanfan Huang. Conceptual tuning : a philosophical method. Philosophy. Université de Lyon; East China normal university (Shanghai), 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSEN100⟩. ⟨tel-01679627⟩

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