Abstract: The chief aim of this paper is an attempt to establish a conceptual engineering project where ‘engineering’ is taken literally. This demands a mass synthesis of discoveries made in cognitive science (conceptual processing, various theories of concepts) to provide a sense of the materials (what concepts are) along with engineering techniques found in complexity science (e.g. hierarchical modeling of concepts, redundancy, and robustness analysis). This paper is thus demonstrative, and each section builds on the previous. I first show how concepts are complex systems. A model of what I call concept-systems is then provided, and finally, I apply this machinery in a hypothetical conceptual engineering scenario, demonstrating that complexity can be useful to a conceptual engineer. This project pivots on helpful critiques Herman Cappelen has made, which any conceptual engineer must wrestle with. The idea is that by accepting Cappelen’s challenges, there is a path through cognitive science and complexity science that can deliver us a possible conceptual engineering project.
I am not sure where this research will lead, but as for now this paper deals with many of the ideas this blog is interest in. There will be further elaborations that will appear here on this blog. As with all post: Your criticisms, suggestions, recommendations, advice, and the full gambit of your thoughts are welcome. Thank you.
Complexity Science Strategies for Conceptual Engineering (link)