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Volume 52 Issue 5
May 2020
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Citation: Feng YE. Conceptual Analysis: A Physicalistic Appraisal[J]. Academic Monthly, 2020, 52(5): 5-14, 38. shu

Conceptual Analysis: A Physicalistic Appraisal

  • Physicalism, as a global philosophical worldview, should include some implications on philosophical methodology. Examining the method of conceptual analysis in traditional philosophy we conclude that: (1)Conceptual analysis is not really explicating the structure of an existent concept, but instead, it is looking for a new linguistic description that is equivalent to the old, existent concept in some way; (2)Physicalism can explain the apparent apriority of conceptual analysis and explain why such an “a priori” method frequently leads to unreliable conclusions; (3)Philosophy is just like sciences and is aiming to construct truthful theories describing the physical world based on observations about the world, and conceptual analysis in philosophy is similar to pure theoretical researches in sciences, which aim at analyzing and restructuring some existent scientific theories; (4)The method of conceptual analysis is perhaps practically indispensable for philosophical researches. These conclusions also show that physicalism in fact supports and can explain some valid methodological practices in traditional philosophy.
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        Conceptual Analysis: A Physicalistic Appraisal

        Abstract: Physicalism, as a global philosophical worldview, should include some implications on philosophical methodology. Examining the method of conceptual analysis in traditional philosophy we conclude that: (1)Conceptual analysis is not really explicating the structure of an existent concept, but instead, it is looking for a new linguistic description that is equivalent to the old, existent concept in some way; (2)Physicalism can explain the apparent apriority of conceptual analysis and explain why such an “a priori” method frequently leads to unreliable conclusions; (3)Philosophy is just like sciences and is aiming to construct truthful theories describing the physical world based on observations about the world, and conceptual analysis in philosophy is similar to pure theoretical researches in sciences, which aim at analyzing and restructuring some existent scientific theories; (4)The method of conceptual analysis is perhaps practically indispensable for philosophical researches. These conclusions also show that physicalism in fact supports and can explain some valid methodological practices in traditional philosophy.

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