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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Sign in to use this feature. Debates and applications”Journal of Political Ideologies Vol. From their work it is easy to understand the issue as one of determining whether there is a single notion that has a number of different instantiations, or whether there is more than one notion, each of which is reflected in a different usage.
Dworkin argues that this admission of error would not entail any “change” to his original instructions, because the true meaning of his instructions was that “[he] meant the family to be guided by the concept of fairness, not by any specific conception of fairness [that he] might have had in mind”. In an attempt to account for essentialoy where disputants trace their individual notions back to entirely differentbut mutually compatible exemplarsConnollyp.
These features distinguish Gallie’s “essentially contested concepts” from others, “which can be shown, as a result of analysis or contexted, to be radically confused”;  or, as Gray  would have it, they are the features that relate to the task of distinguishing the “general words, which really denote an essentially contested concept” from those other “general words, whose uses conceal a diversity of distinguishable concepts”: In a section of his article in The New York Review of BooksDworkin used the example of “fairness” to isolate and elaborate the difference between a concept suum cuique and its conception various instantiations, for example utilitarian ethics.
Social and Political Philosophy. This page was last edited on 16 Juneat Voncepts Problem of Abortion: Aprilpp. An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 33 1: Hansen – – Studies in Philosophy and Education 29 2: Peter Ingram – – Philosophia 15 Clarke argued that to state that a concept is merely “contested” is to “attribute significance to the contest rather than to the concept”.
Retrieved from ” https: In these circumstances, says Dworkin, “the group has a concept of unfairness, and its members may appeal to that concept in moral instruction or argument. So long as contestant users of any essentially contested concept ckncepts, however deludedly, that their own use of it is the only one that can command honest and informed approval, they are likely to persist in the hope that they will ultimately persuade and convert all their opponents by logical means.
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.
Although Gallie’s term is widely used to denote imprecise use of technical terminologyit has a far more specific application. Eric Reitan – – Hypatia 16 2: Clarke then drew attention to the galle differences between the expressions “essentially contested” and “essentially contestable”, that were being extensively used within the literature as though they were interchangeable.
Ambiguity Argumentation theory Critical thinking Ethics in mathematics Ideograph rhetoric. The dispute is about the proper use of the concept; and all argue that the concept is being “used inappropriately” by others Smith,p. Rape as an Essentially Contested Concept. Gallie – – Philosophical Quarterly 6 An Interdisciplinary Journal of PhilosophyVol. Science Logic and Mathematics. Art as an Essentially Contested Concept. An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 14 1: David-Hillel Ruben – – Philosophical Papers 39 2: Vallie four-paragraph passage is in Section II of the article .
Keywords – essentially contested concepts (Gallie)
Concepts and Action”, pp. 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”. Freeden remarks that “not all essentially contested concepts signify valued gllie they may equally signify disapproved and denigrated phenomena”,  and Gerring  asks us to imagine just how difficult it would be to “[try] to craft definitions of slavery, fascism, terrorism, or genocide without recourse to ‘pejorative’ attributes”.
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Gallie inthe expression “essentially contested concept” has been treated both as a challenge and as an excuse by social theorists. A Radical ViewMacmillan, Esesntially The Notion of an Essentially Contested Concept.
Sheila Jasanoff – – Science and Engineering Ethics 17 4: 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.
On Explaining Political Disagreement: Essentially contested concepts involve widespread agreement on a concept e. 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 Ethics and Tactics of Argument. However, the members may still disagree over many of these “controversial cases”; and differences of this sort indicate that members haveor act uponentirely different theories of why and how each of the “standard cases” are, in fact, genuine acts of “unfairness”.
Essentially contested concept
Open Concepts and Contested Concepts. Ehrenberg – – International Journal of Law in Context 7: Therefore, he argues, his instructions do, in fact, “cover” this new case. He supposes that he has instructed his children not to treat others “unfairly” and asks us to recognize that, whilst he would have undoubtedly had particular “examples” of the sorts of conduct he was intending to discourage in mind at the time he spoke to his children, whatever it was that he meant when he issued such instructions was not confined to those “examples” alone, for two reasons:.
Gallie speaks of how “This picture is painted in oils ” can be successfully contested if the work is actually painted in tempera ;  while “This picture is a work of art” may meet strong opposition due to disputes over what “work of art” denotes. 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”.
Find it on Scholar. History of Western Philosophy. Request removal from index. Sign in Create an account. The descriptive definition is still a definition, even if one may think it less interesting than Gallie’s definition.