W. B. Gallie; IX.—Essentially Contested Concepts, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Volume 56, Issue 1, 1 June , Pages – Conceptual confusion has long been a source of difficulty in the study of politics. W. B. Gallie’s analysis of ‘essentially contested concepts’, published in ‘W.B. Gallie and Essentially Contested Concepts’. Re-Reading of W.B. Gallie, ‘ Essentially Contested Concepts’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian.

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Consequently, those responsible for giving “instructions”, and gzllie responsible for setting “standards” of “fairness”, in this community may be doing one of two things:. In Gallie proposed a set of seven conditions for the existence of an essentially cincepts concept. Gallie – – Philosophical Quarterly 6 It has been treated as a challenge in that theorists consider their uses of terms and concepts to be in competition with the uses advocated by other theorists, each theorist trying to be deemed the champion.

W. B. Gallie, Essentially Contested Concepts – PhilPapers

The Ethics and Tactics of Argument. Find it on Scholar. A Reconsideration”, Philosophy and RhetoricVol. Medicine as an Essentially Contested Concept. Sheila Jasanoff – – Science and Engineering Ethics 17 4: McKnight – – Journal of Medical Ethics 29 4: A Radical ViewMacmillan, London Clarke has made a valuable contribution to the overall debate by suggesting that, in order to determine whether a particular dispute was a consequence of true polysemy or inadvertent homonymy, one should seek to “locate the source of the dispute”.

In other words, this is “to claim that some feature or property of the concept makes it polysemantic, and that the concept contains some internal conflict of ideas”; and it is this fact that provides the “essentially contested concept” with its inherent potential for “generating disputes”. Gallie speaks of how “This picture is painted in oils ” can be successfully contested if the work is actually painted in tempera ; cobcepts while “This picture is a work of art” may meet strong opposition due to disputes over what “work of art” denotes.


Andrew Mason – – Inquiry: Scholars such as H. Eric Reitan – – Hypatia 16 2: So long as contestant users of any essentially contested concept believe, however deludedly, that their own use of it is the only one that can command honest and informed esentially, they are likely to persist in the hope that they will ultimately persuade and convert all their opponents by logical means.

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 33 1: In a different dispute over banks, where one speaks of financial institutions and the other of riparian zonesit is obvious that two homonyms have been confused.

The members of this group “agree on a great number of standard cases of unfairness and use these as benchmarks against which to test other, more controversial cases”.

Yet is also clear that “if the notion of logical justification can be applied only to such theses and arguments as can be presumed capable of gaining in the long run universal agreement, the disputes to which the uses of any essentially contested concept give rise are not genuine or rational disputes at all” [ clarification needed ] Gallie, a, p. This article has no associated abstract.

The Notion of an Essentially Contested Concept. It has been treated as an excuse in that, rather than acknowledge that the failure to reach agreement is due to such factors as imprecision, ignorance, or belligerence, instead theorists point to the terms and concepts under dispute and insist that they are always open to contest — that they are terms and concepts about which we can never expect to reach agreement. When discussing finance, “bank” is an essentially contested concept; because the discussion involves establishing the “correct” application, meaning or interpretation of this polysemous term.


Essentially contested concept

These features distinguish Gallie’s “essentially contested concepts” from others, “which can be shown, as a result of analysis or experiment, to be radically confused”; [20] or, as Gray [21] would have it, they are the features that relate to the task of distinguishing the contestwd words, which yallie denote an essentially contested concept” from those other “general words, whose uses conceal a diversity of distinguishable concepts”: The descriptive definition is still a definition, even if one may think it less interesting than Gallie’s definition.

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As a consequence, according to Dworkin, whenever an appeal is made to “fairness”, a moral issue is raised; and, whenever a conception of “fairness” is laid down, an attempt is being made to answer that moral issue. Sign in Create an account.

Clarke then drew attention to the substantial differences between the expressions “essentially contested” and “essentially contestable”, that were being extensively used within the literature as though they were interchangeable. Jeremy Waldron ‘s research has revealed that Gallie’s notion has “run wild” in the law review literature over the ensuing 60 years and is now being used to denote something like “very hotly contested, with no resolution in sight”, [44] due to an entirely mistaken view [45] that the essential in Gallie’s term is an ” intensifier “, when, in fact, “[Gallie’s] term ‘essential’ refers to the location of the disagreement or indeterminacy; it is contestation at the core, not just at the borderlines or penumbra of a concept”.

See McKnightp. Debates and applications”Journal of Political Ideologies Vol.