Is conceptual analysis only an inquiry into rules for the use of concepts?

Fiona J. Hibberd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/opinion

5 Citations (Scopus)


Does what is said make sense? or Is what is said nonsense? This is the criterion employed by those influenced by Wittgenstein's post-Tractatus view that the rules or conventions for the use of expressions determine what it makes sense to say. It drives what most in theoretical psychology take conceptual analysis to bethe clarification of existing grammar, viz., rules for the use of concepts, and the provision of grammatical insightsfor these apparently determine what does and what does not make sense. Yet this seems odd in ways which I highlight. Perhaps some of us continue to miss the Wittgensteinian point, but a more complex account of conceptual analysis unfolds from the anomalies in Hacker's approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-822
Number of pages8
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • conceptual analysis
  • grammar
  • logic
  • metaphysics
  • method

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