Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Non-Doxastic Conspiracy Theories

Issue: • Author/s: Anna Ichino, Juha Räikkä

Our Admiration for Exemplars and the Impartial Spectator Perspective: Moral Exemplarism and Adam Smith’s ‘Theory of Moral Sentiments’

Issue: • Author/s: Karsten R. Stueber
Topics: Ethics, Metaethics, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action, Philosophy of mind

This essay will discuss the philosophical viability of Linda Zagzebski’s refreshingly radical theory of moral exemplarism that attempts to elucidate the nature of human morality through an analysis of the structure of our admiration for morally exemplary individuals. After raising some systematic worries about exemplarism, I will turn to Adam Smith and his Theory of Moral Sentiments. There are indeed strands in Smith’s thoughts that contain an exemplarist flavor. Nevertheless, from the Smithian perspective that I favor, our moral concepts emerge from the everyday practice of holding each other morally…

Prescribing Race: No Blank Scripts for Using Race and Ethnicity in Health

Issue: • Author/s: Phila Msimang
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Race, Theoretical philosophy

Recent research shows that the inappropriate use of race and ethnicity in healthcare leads to poor patient outcomes. Contemporaneous work shows that accounting for inequalities caused by discrimination often requires the use of race and ethnicity as variables that are mediated in their effects by discrimination along those dimensions of identity and/or classification. This suggests that the appropriateness of using racial and ethnic group descriptors depends on context. This paper explores some contexts in which the use of racial and ethnic group descriptors may be appropriate, and the limitations thereof.…

Questioning, Rather Than Solving, the Problem of Higher-Level Causation

Issue: • Author/s: Erica Onnis
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Theoretical philosophy

In Metaphysical Emergence, Jessica Wilson recognises the problem of higher-level causation as “the most pressing challenge to taking the appearances of emergent structure as genuine” (2021: 39). Then, Wilson states that there are “two and only two strategies of response to this problem” (2021: 40) that lead to Strong and Weak emergence. In this paper, I suggest that there might be an alternative strategy—not opposite, but different in kind—to approach this difficulty. As noticed by Wilson, the problem of higher-level causation was formulated and made central by Jaegwon Kim. However,…

Race in Medicine: Moving Beyond the United States

Issue: • Author/s: Azita Chellappoo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Race, Philosophy of science

Debates over the use of racial categories in medicine have, thus far, been largely focused on cases and considerations occurring in the United States. However, race is used in medical settings in many places outside the US. I argue that the US focus leads to important limitations in our ability to understand and intervene on issues of race in medicine in other areas of the world. I draw on work from metaphysics of race debates to indicate why transnational continuities and discontinuities in race present a problem for US focused…

Social Groups and the Problem of Persistence through Change

Issue: • Author/s: Giulia Lasagni
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Theoretical philosophy

The persistence of social groups through change is a matter of debate in social ontology. While mereological approaches contend that social groups persist if formed by the same members, other accounts leaning towards structuralism find that what ensures the persistence of social groups is instead continuity of structure. The aim of this paper is to challenge the idea that a structuralist account is bound to hold that continuity of structure is necessary and sufficient condition for persistence. First, I consider membership changes. I argue that for structure-based metaphysics, not all…

Spinoza on Freedom, Feeling Free, and Acting for the Good

Issue: • Author/s: Leonardo Moauro
Topics: Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action, Theoretical philosophy

In the Ethics, Spinoza famously rejects freedom of the will. He also offers an error theory for why many believe, falsely, that the will is free. Standard accounts of his arguments for these claims focus on their efficacy against incompatibilist views of free will. For Spinoza, the will cannot be free since it is determined by an infinite chain of external causes. And the pervasive belief in free will arises from a structural limitation of our self-knowledge: because we are aware of our actions but unaware of their causes, we…

Taking Phenomenology at Face Value: The Priority of State Consciousness in Light of the For-me-ness of Experience

Issue: • Author/s: Alberto Barbieri
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind

An important distinction lies between consciousness attributed to creatures, or subjects, (creature consciousness) and consciousness attributed to mental states (state consciousness). Most contemporary theories of consciousness aim at explaining what makes a mental state conscious, paying scant attention to the problem of creature consciousness. This attitude relies on a deeper, and generally overlooked, assumption that once an explanation of state consciousness is provided, one has also explained all the relevant features of creature consciousness. I call this the priority of state consciousness thesis (PSC). In this paper, I want to…

The AI Ethics Principle of Autonomy in Health Recommender Systems

Issue: • Author/s: Simona Tiribelli
Topics: Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Medicine, Theoretical philosophy

The application of health recommender systems (HRSs) in the mobile-health (m-health) industry, especially for healthy active aging, has grown exponentially over the past decade. However, no research has been conducted on the ethical implications of HRSs and the ethical principles for their design. This paper aims to fill this gap and claims that an ethically informed re-definition of the AI ethics principle of autonomy is needed to design HRSs that adequately operationalize (that is, respect and promote) individuals’ autonomy over ageing. To achieve this goal, after having clarified the state-of-the-art on…

The Feelings of Presence, Reality, and Virtuality

Issue: • Author/s: Jérôme Dokic
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

This essay focuses on the feeling of presence, its relation to the feeling of reality, and the implication and alterations of both types of feelings in virtual reality environments. The feeling of presence is a pervasive aspect of our ordinary experience of the world, although it does not always accompany what otherwise seem like genuine perceptual experiences. It involves the feeling that objects are available to bodily action, but also the experience of being spatially connected to them and the experience of self-identification with a living body. It is often…
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