Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Giovanni Buonocore, Emilia Margoni, Francesca Pero in Issue 17

Conceiving the Inconceivable: An Assessment of Stanford’s New Induction [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Stanford’s unconceived alternative argument is inductively based on the history of science and tells us that when a scientist is choosing a theory T1 at time t1 over a set of less promising alternatives, she is concurrently failing to conceive valid theoretical alternatives to T1, i.e., theories that will be accepted by a scientific community at later times, thus displacing T1. The aim of the present paper is to argue…

Giovanni Galli in Issue 17

Structure Representation of Deep-Learning Models: The Case of AlphaFold [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

The scientific enterprise enriches the debate about models. In particular, in the field of structural biology, a new deep-learning neural network system called AlphaFold has been applied for many purposes. It allows us to predict a protein’s structure with high accuracy. I will present the system in light of the discussion of structure representation and argue for a specific kind of representational relation holding between the predicted model structure and…

Lisa Zorzato in Issue 17

Fiction and Reality: An Uncanny Relationship [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

In this paper, I will deal with the use of fictional models in the context of the realism vs antirealism debate. Specifically, I will argue that the explanatory role of fictional models can be accommodated by scientific realism. I will refer to the work of Alisa Bokulich, who has proposed a modification of realism in order to account for explanations employing fictional models. My own approach will be to offer…

Gustavo Cevolani, Luca Tambolo in Issue 17

Empirical Success, Closeness to Evidence, and Approximation to the Truth [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Realists and antirealists agree that different theories can be more or less empirically successful, even if they disagree on how to interpret this fact. Most of their arguments rely on how the notion of success is understood; still, few definitions of success are available, and their adequacy is doubtful. In this paper, we discuss some of these definitions and introduce a new measure of the success of a theory relative…

Valentina Savojardo in Issue 17

The Representation of Reality in the Intelligent Use of Tools [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaethics, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Starting from some results of neuroscience, and especially of Embodied Cognition, I’ll discuss the problem of the intelligent use of tools, as a useful perspective under which to investigate the link between common knowledge and scientific knowledge. The philosophical question from which I shall start my reflection is the following: how do we represent reality to ourselves when we intervene on it through the intelligent use of a tool? The…

Adriano Angelucci, Vincenzo Fano, Gabriele Ferretti, Roberto Macrelli, Gino Tarozzi in Issue 17

Does Evolution Favor Accurate Perception? [Special Issue]

Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

The currently mainstream view is that, in normal conditions, our perceptual representations are largely accurate, as natural selection tends to favor epistemically reliable perceptual systems. This latter assumption has been questioned by Donald Hoffman and his collaborators by drawing on the formal tools of evolutionary game theory. According to their model, an organism whose visual system were tuned to objective reality would be driven to extinction. We argue that their…

Andrea Bonomi in Issue 17

Non-Persistent Truths [Target Article]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

I start from Evans’ criticism of temporalism, based on the claim that it does not “provide for the stable evaluation of utterances”. I try to show that, with suitable qualifications, assuming the possibility of evaluations yielding different truth-values at different times is not an “eccentric” move (as suggested by Evans). I briefly consider Prior’s metaphysical arguments in favour of the asymmetry between past and future and I suggest that, independently…

Giuseppe Spolaore in Issue 17

Future Contingents, Open Futurism, and Ontic Indeterminacy [Critical Discussion]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

This paper critically discusses Patrick Todd’s book, The Open Future: Why Future Contingents Are All False (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021).

Mauro Dorato in Issue 17

The Affective and Practical Consequences of Presentism and Eternalism

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

In the dispute between presentism and eternalism, the affective dimensions of the debate have been somewhat neglected. Contemporary philosophers of time have not tried to relate these ontological positions with two of the most discussed maxims in the history of ethics—“live in the present” vs. “look at your life under the aspect of the eternity” (sub specie aeternitatis)—that since the Hellenistic times have been regarded as strictly connected with them.…