Topic for WS20+SS21

Please send your proposals to till Sunday, 13th of September!

Every proposal should include:
– the topic
– a short text about it and why we should pick it
– questions that might be interesting to discuss
– a few papers we could read (around 5)
– possible keynote speakers for the conference

The vote will be held on Friday, 18th of September at 18:30 via Zoom. To get the link, join the Mailing List.

Please make sure that there is at least one proponent present for every proposal to present it in a few sentences.


Conceptual Engineering


Here’s a brief approximation of what Conceptual Engineering (CE) is or does:
We might want to agree that concepts are (mental) representations of the world. So, the concept of a dog would be a representation of a dog. There’s different ideas on how this representation looks like exactly.
Now, why would we want to engineer it and what does that mean?
Basically, there’s two broad reasons why we’d want to engineer a given concept. Either, because it is epistemically deficient, or because it has undesirable social and societal implications. A concept is epistemically deficient if it hinders us at getting at the truth of things. Hence, we will want to change that concept so it gets things right. A concept can also have undesirable societal implications. Again, that could be a reason why we would want to change (or engineer) that concept. How exactly one would go about engineering a concept depends on the stance one has on what concepts are (fundamentally speaking), how they are structured, and so on. That is in itself pretty interesting to explore.

Philosophy of Psychiatry


The ‘Philosophy of Psychiatry’ is roughly concerned with three interrelated topics: a) Problems from the Philosophy of Science, as they especially occur for Psychiatry; b) Conceptual and moral questions concerning the notion of ‘mental disorder’; and c) whether some psychopathological phenomena might be relevant for questions in the philosophy of mind.
As topic for the next year of the WFAP, I propose to focus especially on the Philosophy of Psychiatry, as it is concerned with (b): What are mental disorders? Is “mental disorder” a purely descriptive notion, or is it irreducibly normative? Are they “illnesses”, in the same sense as non-mental illnesses, or are there noteworthy differences? Is the common “pathologization” of mental disorders well justified? What role does the social and cultural context play for their diagnosis? And what in turn is “mental health”?

Words and Power


Whilst many historical contributions to “liberation” philosophy (the philosophies of race, gender, sexuality, disability, etc) have come from outside analytic philosophy, more recent works have either heavily employed analytic methodology or simply been a work of analytic philosophy. In particular, philosophy of language has played an invaluable role by providing new tools for understanding oppression and disadvantage. Concepts such as hermeneutical injustice and conceptual engineering, whilst clear and distinct products of the analytic tradition, are becoming invaluable assets to liberation philosophy. Moreover, the use of these concepts in practical philosophy is driving innovation in the theoretical domain. Old debates, such as Internalism vs Externalism about meaning, are being driven back into the foreground in order to facilitate the needs of applied philosophy. This proposal focuses on three areas: liberation philosophy, philosophy of language, and the intersection of the two.