Cappelen (Fixing language, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2018) proposes a radically externalist framework (the ‘Austerity Framework’) for conceptual engineering. This approach embraces the following two theses. Firstly, the mechanisms that underlie conceptual engineering are inscrutable: they are too complex, unstable and non-systematic for us to grasp. Secondly, the process of conceptual engineering is largely beyond our control. One might think that these two theses are peculiar to the Austerity Framework, or to metasemantic externalism more generally. However, Cappelen argues that there is no reason to think that internalism avoids either commitment. Cappelen argues that to do so she must provide arguments for 3 claims: (a) there are inner states that are scrutable and within our control; (b) concepts supervene on these inner states; and (c) the determination relation from supervenience base to content is itself scrutable and within our control. In this paper, I argue that internalist conceptual role theories of content can meet Cappelen’s challenge.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International