MODR 1770 Lecture Notes - Surrogacy, Asexuality
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MODR 1770B Note 8
- Concerned with semantic meaning of concepts
- In conceptual analysis, you’re dealing with interpretive meanings, non-
empirical claims, and in a contextual manner.
- Conceptual claims are problematic because we need to first find the
characteristics of the person, and then see if there are enough characteristics
to compare the two concepts.
- Wittgenstein: concepts are reduced to social factors, in the sense that they’re
meanings given in society: how we use the language socially.
- We don’t want to use dictionaries because concepts keep evolving, and
therefore, in order to capture the variation of meanings, we have to generate
cases and place them in cases to see how we can extract the conceptual
- Concepts are not static things (unless it’s democracy)
o I.e. democracy originated with Greece, however now it’s completely
- Meaning is used, and therefore is contextual.
- In conceptual analysis, we’re not concerned with facts or questions, we’re
- What is a concept?
o Comes from the Latin word “Concipere” and it means a mental
thought or image.
I.e. it’s done to form and apprehend something in your mind.
o Thought, idea or notion that can be expressed in one word or a
o Comes from the Latin word “Analyein” and it’s done to break down
- What is conceptual analysis:
o A tool/method we use to clarify and probe the meaning and usage of
We do so to generate cases to see what they show us.
- Step 1: Model (paradigm) Case: What is “x”?
o Ideal, perfect or paradigm example
o A case that no one would quibble over as an instance of the concept
o At this state we suspend the opinion about the questions.
o Epoche: suspend your thought, not discard it for a better
understanding of how concepts are used.
o The most naïve understanding of the situation
- Step 2: Contrary case: It is NOT “x”
o An opposition case.
o The point of conceptual analysis is to find the differences between
these two cases
o More of a side-kick transformation
- Step 3: Borderline: What is “x” and NOT “x” at the same time?
o Emotions are involved. We have to capture the contradictions in life
o When cases are vague, ambiguous or contradictory
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