Conceptual engineering for analytic theology

Patrick Michael Greenough*, Jean Gové, Ian Church

*Corresponding author for this work

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Conceptual Engineering is the method (or methods) via which we can assess and improve our concepts. Can Conceptual Engineering be usefully employed within analytic theology? Given that analytic theology and analytic philosophy effectively share the same philosophical toolkit then if Conceptual Engineering works well in philosophy then it ought to work well in analytic theology too. This will be our working hypothesis. To make good on this hypothesis we first address two challenges. The first challenge makes conceptual engineering look to be too inclusive; the second challenge makes it look to be too revolutionary (for analytic theology). To address these challenges, we propose a refined characterisation of Conceptual Engineering. We then turn to consider a number of case studies where analytic theology and conceptual engineering may fruitfully cooperate. These are: theological disagreements, inter-faith dialogue, meaning change, celibacy, AI, the name of God, and conceptual genealogy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages34
JournalInquiry - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date22 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Aug 2023


  • Conceptual engineering
  • Analytic theology
  • Conceptual pluralism
  • Metalinguistic negotiation
  • Religious disagreement
  • Inter-faith dialogue


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