Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Conrad Aquilina in Issue 11

Simulation Modelling in Fiction [Special Issue]

Aesthetics, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of science

This essay assesses the claim that model structures have features in common with narratology and fiction-making. It proposes that simulation—a form of modelling—is amenable to literary narratives which are hypermimetic, in the sense that their cognitive or material reception by the reader demands a phenomenology attained through the heightening of a mimetic secondary reality. Simulation models construct frames of reference for target systems through self-validating mechanisms, and the same is…

James Nguyen, Roman Frigg in Issue 11

Unlocking Limits [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

In a series of recent papers we have developed what we call the DEKI account of scientific representation, according to which models represent their targets via keys. These keys provide a systematic way to move from model-features to features to be imputed to their targets. We show how keys allow for accurate representation in the presence of idealisation, and further illustrate how investigating them provides novel ways to approach certain…

Frederick Kroon in Issue 11

Fiction, Models and the Problem of the Gap [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

An increasingly popular view holds that scientific modeling involves something akin to the imaginative construction of a fictional story along with its cast of fictional characters, not just the positing of entities (models) that yield a false but useful representation of their targets. The present paper focuses on the following problem for this view of models. If a model is a fiction how can it possibly be said to represent some…

Fiora Salis in Issue 11

Learning through the Scientific Imagination [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

Theoretical models are widely held as sources of knowledge of reality. Imagination is vital to their development and to the generation of plausible hypotheses about reality. But how can imagination, which is typically held to be completely free, effectively instruct us about reality? In this paper I argue that the key to answering this question is in constrained uses of imagination. More specifically, I identify make-believe as the right notion…

Daniele Molinari in Issue 11

Spoiler Alert! Unveiling the Plot in Thought Experiments and other Fictional Works [Special Issue]

Aesthetics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of science

According to a recent philosophical claim, “works of fiction are thought experiments” (Elgin 2007: 47), though there are relevant differences, as the role of spoilers shows—they can ruin a novel but improve the understanding we can gain through a thought experiment. In the present article I will analyze the role of spoilers and argue for a more differentiated perspective on the relation between literature and thought experiments. I will start…

Louis Rouillé in Issue 11

From Fictional Disagreements to Thought Experiments [Special Issue]

Aesthetics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

In this paper, I present a conceptual connection between fictional disagreements and thought experiments. Fictional disagreements happen when two readers disagree about a fictional detail. The “great beetle debate” is a paradigmatic case. Nabokov once argued that Gregor Samsa, in The Metamorphosis, metamorphosed into a beetle. Yet many critics and readers imagine Gregor to be a big cockroach. Analysing a fictional disagreement is interesting because it exhibits the informational structure…

Felipe Morales Carbonell in Issue 11

Game Counterpossibles [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophical logic

Counterpossibles, counterfactuals conditional with impossible antecedents, are notoriously contested; while the standard view makes them trivially true, some authors argue that they can be non-trivially true. In this paper, I examine the use of counterfactuals in the context of games, and argue that there is a case to be made for their non-triviality in a restricted sense. In particular, I examine the case of retro problems in chess, where it…

Malvina Ongaro in Issue 11

Fiction, Imagination, and Normative Rationality [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Rationality is a cornerstone of economics. The properties defining rationality are embodied by the Rational Agent, whose actions are prescriptive for economic agents. However, the Rational Agent is a fictional character: so why should real agents act like it? The Rational Agent takes its normative force from the arguments in support of the properties it embodies. In this paper, I explore the grounds for the normative force of the Rational…