Carnapian explication and ameliorative analysis: a systematic comparison

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A distinction often drawn is one between conservative versus revisionary conceptions of philosophical analysis with respect to commonsensical beliefs and intuitions. This paper offers a comparative investigation of two revisionary methods: Carnapian explication and ameliorative analysis as developed by S. Haslanger. It is argued that they have a number of common features, and in particular that they share a crucial political dimension: they both have the potential to serve as instrument for social reform. Indeed, they may produce improved versions of key concepts of everyday life, for example those pertaining to social categories such as gender and race (among others), which in turn may lead to social change. The systematic comparison of these two frameworks offered here, where similarities as well as differences are discussed, is likely to provide useful guidance to practitioners of both approaches, as it will highlight important aspects of each of them that tend to remain implicit and under-theorized in existing applications of these methodologies to specific questions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1034
Number of pages24
Issue number3
Early online date24 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Revisonary analysis
  • Carnap
  • Explication
  • Haslanger
  • Ameliorative analysis
  • Philosophical methods
  • Race
  • Gender


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