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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Essentially contested concept

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Peter Ingram – – Philosophia 15 The Ethics and Tactics of Argument.

Sheila Jasanoff – – Science and Engineering Ethics 17 4: Susanne Gibson – – Bioethics 18 3: Whilst Gallie’s expression “essentially contested concepts” precisely denotes those “essentially questionable and corrigible concepts” which “are permanently and essentially subject to revision and question”, [40] close examination of the wide and varied and imprecise applications of Gallie’s term subsequent toby those who have ascribed concepys own literal meaning to Gallie’s term without ever consulting Gallie’s work, have led many philosophers to conclude that “essentially gallif concepts” would have been far better choice for Gallie’s meaning, for at least three reasons:.

The four-paragraph passage is in Section II of the article [1].

Request removal from index. Essentially contested concepts involve widespread agreement on a concept e. In a paper delivered to the Aristotelian Society on 12 March[1] Walter Bryce Gallie — introduced the term gzllie contested concept to facilitate an understanding of the different applications or interpretations of the sorts of abstract, qualitativeand evaluative notions [2] —such as ” art ” and ” social justice “—used in the domains of aestheticspolitical philosophyphilosophy of historyand philosophy of religion.


Yet, to state that a concept is “contestable” is to “attribute some part of any contest to the concept”. Science Logic and Mathematics. And, because each considers that certain principles “[which] must be relied upon to show that a particular division or attribution is unfair” gallje far a more “fundamental” sort of principle than certain other principles, it can be said that members of the group have different conceptions of “fairness”.

Clarke then drew attention to the substantial differences concepfs the expressions “essentially contested” and “essentially contestable”, that were being extensively used within the literature as though they were interchangeable. An Interdisciplinary Journal of PhilosophyVol. Conce;ts what he considers to be the “crucial distinction” between the overall concept of “fairness” and some particular, and specific conception of “fairness”, he asks us to imagine a group whose members share the view that certain acts are unfair.

This page was last edited on 16 Juneat However, the members may still disagree over many of these “controversial cases”; and differences of this sort indicate that members haveor act uponconce;ts different theories of why and how each of the “standard cases” are, in fact, genuine acts of “unfairness”.

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”; essentislly or, as Gray [21] 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”: Find it on Scholar.


The term essentially contested concepts gives a name to a problematic situation that many people recognize: Sign in Create an account. Aprilpp. 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 contestee.

Garver describes their use as follows: 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.

Essentially contested concept – Wikipedia

History of Western Philosophy. The descriptive definition is still a definition, even if one may think it less interesting than Gallie’s definition. Andrew Mason – – Inquiry: John Kekes – – Philosophy and Rhetoric 10 2: Wikipedia articles needing clarification from May On Explaining Political Disagreement: A Reconsideration”, Philosophy and RhetoricVol.

Gallie inthe expression “essentially contested concept” has been treated both as a challenge and as an excuse by social theorists.

David-Hillel Ruben – – Philosophical Papers 39 2: Ehrenberg – – International Journal of Law in Context 7: Ambiguity Contesyed theory Critical thinking Ethics in mathematics Ideograph rhetoric.