Miscellaneous Metaphysics Talk: Esa Diaz-Leon

January 24, 2018
Monday, February 26, 2018 - 4:00pm
347 University Hall
UH

Professor Diaz-Leon is from the University of Barcelona.
 

Social Construction, Grounding, and Amelioration
 
Abstract: Schaffer (2016) and Griffith (2017) have recently argued that we could understand social constructivist claims about the nature of gender and race as claims about the grounds of gender and race. In this paper I want to argue that although this framework can capture what some social constructivists aim to do, there are still some social constructivist theses that cannot be captured in terms of grounding claims. I will offer several examples of social constructivist claims that do not clearly correspond to grounding claims, such as identity claims, a posteriori theoretical identifications, necessitation claims, and claims about the application conditions of certain concepts. Regarding the latter, I will argue that claims about the application conditions of a concept can be seen as contingent a priori claims. For example, the claim that ‘water is watery stuff’ does not correspond to a grounding claim about the grounds of water (since watery stuff is only contingently related to water, and therefore it does not ground water). In addition, I will argue that ameliorative projects concerning the concepts of gender and race that we ought to use are compatible with understanding these revisionary proposals in terms of new application conditions for our concepts, in the form of contingent a priori claims as well.
 
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