The Uncontrollability of Conceptual Engineering: A New Argument

Conceptual engineering is an approach to philosophy, which, according to one formulation, is founded on the ideas that: any language we care to imagine will be defective; that this defectiveness can be a source of epistemic, moral, and other sorts of harms; and that accordingly we should try to improve language to remove its defects. On of its recent popularizers, Herman Cappelen (whose master argument I have attempted to distill in my first sentence), nevertheless suggests reasons for pessimism about the prospects of conceptual engineering.