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Balkan Journal of Philosophy

Volume 10, Issue 2, 2018

Hristo Ivanov Valchev
Pages 131-142
DOI: 10.5840/bjp201810215

What Is Conceptual Analysis?

In the present inquiry I explore the concept of conceptual analysis, looking for ways for it to be improved, and I come to the following conclusions. Conceptual analysis as ordinarily understood in analytic philosophy is a method which consists in drawing a conclusion about what the definition of a predicate is on the basis of an armchair investigation into whether the predicate is semantically applicable in different possible cases; but, the concept of conceptual analysis can be improved by making two changes to it: 1) the investigation into whether the predicate is semantically applicable in different possible cases is not to serve as a basis for a conclusion about what the definition of the predicate is, but as a basis for a conclusion about whether this-and-this is an only necessary, only sufficient, both necessary and sufficient, or neither necessary nor sufficient condition for the predicate’s semantic application; 2) the investigation into whether the predicate is semantically applicable in different possible cases is done not only from the armchair, but also empirically.