Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 1, Issue 1, 2001

Nenad Miščević
Pages 21-48

Apriority and Conceptual Kinematics

The paper critically discusses the Chalmers-and-Jackson strategy of accounting for the dynamics of conceptual intuitions. In contrast to this strategy, it is argued that concepts alone do not determine in advance rational responses to new evidence. An initial concept is often revised in the light of new data, the revision being guided by the goal of detecting the deep causal structure of the domain investigated. Using examples from the history of science (concept REFLEX ARC) as an illustration, it is argued that the dilemma of either irrational messy updating of intuitions (Yablo) or strict rails of conceptual pre-determination (Chalmers-Jackson) is a false one. Rationality does not lie in the alleged conceptual apriority, but in the flexible pursuit of reasonable epistemic goals.