Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


True but Also Not True

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Stefano Boscolo, Giulia Pravato
Topics: Meta-Philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

We present three ways of expressing a possible interpretative uncertainty of the truth predicate: ambiguity, context-sensitivity and semantic indeterminacy. Next, we examine Kölbel (2008)’s pluralist view that “true” is ambiguous between a substantialist concept and a deflationist concept, and that it is ambiguous as the word “dog” is between “male dog” and “canine”. Our main goal is to show that Kölbel’s thesis does not withstand empirical scrutiny in the sense that “true” fails most of the well-established tests for ambiguity (conjunction-reduction, contradiction, and ellipsis). In addition, we reformulate Kölbel’s thesis…

Literature and Practical Knowledge

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Pascal Engel
Topics: Aesthetics, Meta-Philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

This article defends literary cognitivism, the view that literature can convey genuine propositional knowledge, in the form of propositions which are (i) true (ii) justified and (iii) have aesthetic value because they convey such knowledge. I reply to familiar objections to this view, and reformulate it as the thesis that literary knowledge is a form practical knowledge that is only derivatively propositional. I attempt to apply some ideas to be found in Stanley’s and Williamson’s conception of knowing how. Literary knowledge is a kind of practical knowing how of propositions…

Relativism, Faultlessness and Parity: Why We Should be Pluralists about Truth’s Normative Function

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Filippo Ferrari
Topics: Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

Some philosophers, like Mark Richard and Paul Boghossian, have argued against relativism that it cannot account for the possibility of faultless disagreement. However, I will contend that the objections they moved against relativism do not target its ability to account for the possibility of faultless disagreement per se. Rather, they should be taken to challenge its capacity to account for another element of our folk conception of disagreement in certain areas of discourse—what Crispin Wright has dubbed parity. What parity demands is to account for the possibility of coherently appreciating,…

Wittgenstein on Truth

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Paul Horwich
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

The topic is Wittgenstein’s eventual abandonment of his Tractatus idea that a sentence is true if and only if it depicts a possible fact that obtains, and his coming (in the Investigations) to replace this with a deflationary view of truth. Three objection to the initial idea that will be discussed here are: (i) that its theory of ‘depiction’ relies on an unexplicated concept of word-object reference; (ii) that its notion of a possible fact obtaining (or existing, or being actual, or agreeing with reality) is also left mysterious; and…

Russellian Diagonal Arguments and Other Logico-Mathematical Tools in Metaphysics

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Laureano Luna
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

In its most general form, a diagonal argument is an argument intending to show that not all objects of a certain class C are in a certain set S, and does so by constructing a diagonal object, that is to say, an object of the class C so defined as to be other than all the objects in S. We revise three arguments inspired by the Russell paradox (an argument against Computationalism, an argument against Physicalism, and a counterargument to the Platonic One Over Many argument), extract its underlying structure,…

The Contemporary Relevance of Peirce’s Views on the Logic and Metaphysics of Relations

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Claudine Tiercelin
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Metaphysics, Theoretical philosophy

Independently of Frege or Russell, C.S. Peirce made major contributions to the history of the logic and metaphysics of relations. After presenting his metaphysical interpretation of relations and his emphasis on the reality and irreducibility of relations, the paper shows how Peirce’s views are tied to the dispositional realism he defends within a scientific realistic metaphysics, and why they are still relevant for assessing the logical and ontological status of relations, and insightful for the meta-physical agenda to pursue today.

Externalist Thought Experiments and Directions of Fit

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Casey Woodling
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

The classic thought experiments for Content Externalism have been motivated by consideration of intentional states with a mind-to-world direction of fit. In this paper, I argue that when these experiments are run on intentional states with a world-to-mind direction of fit, the thought experiments actually support Content Internalism. Because of this, I argue that the classic thought experiments alone cannot properly motivate Content Externalism. I do not show that Content Externalism is false in this paper, just that it cannot be motivated by the classic thought experiments alone. I discuss…

Introduction: Thinking the (Im)possible [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Carola Barbero, Andrea Iacona, Alberto Voltolini
Topics: Introduction

The issue of the relationship between our cogitative abilities, in particular the ability of thinking about something that does not exist, and modal characteristics, in particular those featuring unactualized (im)possibilities, i.e., the ways the world might (not) have been, has always been very intricate. In analytic philosophy, reflection on this matter has started by reviving an optimistic thesis traditionally ascribed to Hume, according to which conceivability entails possibility: if something is conceivable, then it is also possible. As Wittgenstein clearly suggests in the incipit of the Tractatus logico-philosophicus, where he…

Thinking the Impossible [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Graham Priest
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic

The article looks at the structure of impossible worlds, and their deployment in the analysis of some intentional notions. In particular, it is argued that one can, in fact, conceive anything, whether or not it is impossible. Thus a semantics of conceivability requires impossible worlds.

Counterpossibles in Semantics and Metaphysics [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Timothy Williamson
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophical logic

This paper defends from recent objections and misunderstandings the orthodox view that subjunctive conditionals with impossible antecedents are true. It explains apparent counterexamples as cases where a normally reliable suppositional heuristic for assessing conditionals gives incorrect results, which some theorists take at face value.
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