Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


A Note on the Grandfather Paradox

Issue: • Author/s: Brian Garrett
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology

In this note, I am critical of some aspects of David Lewis’s resolution of the Grandfather Paradox. In particular, I argue that Lewis gives the wrong explanation of Tim’s inability to kill Grandfather, and that the correct explanation makes essential reference to the self-undermining character of Tim’s grampicide.

Action-Perception Matching in Human Cultural Evolution: Updates from the Cognitive Science Debate

Issue: • Author/s: Antonella Tramacere, Fabrizio Mafessoni
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Philosophy of action, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Analyses of action-perception matching mechanisms, such as the Mirror Neuron System (MNS), have been prominent in evolutionary accounts of human cognition. Some scholars have interpreted data on the MNS to suggest that the human capacity to acquire and transmit cultural information is a learned product of cultural evolution (the Culture not Biology Account of cultural learning). Others have interpreted results related to the MNS to suggest that cultural learning in humans result from both cultural and biological evolution (the Culture per biology Account of cultural learning). In this paper, we…

Age and Self-Knowledge

Issue: • Author/s: Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini
Topics: Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action, Philosophy of mind

This paper proposes an analysis of some possible implications of aging focusing the effects that aging may have on one’s self-knowledge. The goal of the paper is in fact to connect research on aging with different accounts of self-knowledge and put forward the following hypothesis: (i) in the late stages of our lives we adopt a different way of looking at ourselves, and (ii) there are three main factors likely causing this change: cognitive problems (episodic memory impairment), motivational factors (coherence-seeking), and loss of a forward-looking way of structuring our…

Agency without Action: On Responsibility for Omissions

Issue: • Author/s: Sofia Bonicalzi, Mario De Caro
Topics: Ethics, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action

In the last few years, there has been a growing philosophical interest in the problem of moral responsibility for omissions. Like actions, however, omissions are not all-of-a-kind. Recently, most of the research effort in this field has been devoted to the so-called unwitting omissions. However, in some cases, people make clear-eyed, or quasi-clear-eyed, decisions about not interfering with a given course of action potentially having unethical consequences (let’s call these decisions witting omissions). In this paper, we abstract away from the epistemic concerns that typically refer to unwitting omissions to…

Between the Proximal and the Distal: An Interpretation of Quine’s Semantics

Issue: • Author/s: Marta Maria Vilardo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

The debate on internalism/externalism both in semantics and in epistemology concerns the core relations between the mind and the world. I will use this dichotomy to assess whether and how optimal coordination can be worked out between the different parts of Quine’s philosophy: semantics and epistemology in his earlier development. Since Quine has emphasized that his examination of translation is epistemological and since his epistemological project is an internalist one, it should be logical to assume that his semantics proceeded in the same way. But in Word and Object it…

Can a City Be Relocated? Exploring the Metaphysics of Context-Dependency

Issue: • Author/s: Fabio Bacchini, Nicola Piras
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics

This paper explores the Persistence Question about cities, that is, what is necessary and sufficient for two cities existing at different times to be numerically identical. We first show that we can possibly put an end to the existence of a city in a number of ways other than by physically destroying it, which reveals the metaphysics of cities to be partly different from that of ordinary objects. Then we focus in particular on the commonly perceived vulnerability of cities to imaginary relocation; and we make the hypothesis that cities…

Charity and Altruism: Rational Requirements for Action

Issue: • Author/s: Caterina Di Maio
Topics: Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action

This paper discusses the possibility of altruism based on the linguistic, and then practical notion of charity, to distinguish it from psychological and ethical selfishness. My starting hypothesis is, as Thomas Nagel argued, that altruism could be interpreted as a rational requirement for action. This hypothesis arises from a specific approach in analytical philosophy to the problem of explaining action, which combines the concepts of charity and altruism in a single interpretative framework about others. My aim is to present a common thread linking the thought of Willard Van Orman…

I Don’t Feel like That! A Phenomenology-Free Approach to Moods

Issue: • Author/s: Daniele Cassaghi
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

People in moods usually claim that they feel in a certain way, and yet they also say that moods are undirected states. If one takes these reports at face value, moods are a counterexample to representationalism, namely the doctrine of a necessary connection between phenomenal character and content. The standard representationalist answer is to deny moods’ undirectedness in order to capture the phenomenal character of moods. I go in the opposite direction: I will deny moods’ phenomenal character and secure moods’ undirectedness instead. I will show that both our folk-psychological…

Is Psychologism Unavoidable in a Phenomenologically Adequate Account of Mental Content?

Issue: • Author/s: Elisabetta Sacchi
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

In my paper I focus on psychologism in the theory of mental content and critically consider a variety of it—“intentional psychologism” (Pitt 2009)—that has recently entered the stage in the philosophy of mind literature. My aim is twofold. First, I want to provide a critical evaluation of this new variety of psychologism, considering in particular whether it is immune from (some of) the most famous classical criticisms. Secondly, I want to provide a diagnosis of what ultimately motivates the current revival of the “psychologistic attitude”. My aim in so doing…

Liberal Naturalism, Human Sciences, and Psychoanalysis

Issue: • Author/s: Ricardo Navia
Topics: Epistemology, Meta-Philosophy, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

In this text I intend to show to what extent a certain epistemological understanding of psychoanalysis (fundamentally Freudian) finds parallels with the so-called liberalization process of epistemological naturalism. My thesis is that the sui generis epistemological modalities created by Freud not only coincide with this process, but to a significant degree were precursors of the methodological and ontological innovations that LN (liberal naturalism) proposes to defend and theorize. I begin by reviewing the process of liberalization of epistemic naturalism, from a predominantly physicalist model to a liberal version that takes…
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