Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

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.

Impossible Worlds and the Intensional Sense of ‘And’ [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Luis Estrada-González
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic

In this paper I show that the ‘and’ in an argument like Lewis’ against concrete impossible worlds cannot be simply assumed to be extensional. An allegedly ‘and’-free argument against impossible worlds employing an alternative definition of ‘contradiction’ can be presented, but besides falling prey of the usual objections to the negation involved in it, such ‘and’-free argument is not quite so since it still needs some sort of premise-binding, thus intensional ‘and’ is needed and that suffices to block the argument at a stage prior to the steps about negation.

S4 to 5D [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Takayashi Yagisawa
Topics: Philosophical logic

The modal logical axiom 4 is widely accepted. It is the characteristic axiom of the modal logical system S4, which is subsumed under the most popular modal logical system S5. Axiom 4 is equivalent to ◇◇P → ◇P (“If possibly possibly P, then possibly P”), which requires that the accessibility relation between worlds be transitive. There is a powerful argument (Hugh Chandler 1976, Nathan Salmon 1981, 1989) against axiom 4. It rests on the thought that an ordinary object could have had a slightly different origin from its actual origin but…

World Stories and Maximality [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Vittorio Morato
Topics: Philosophical logic

According to many actualist conceptions of modality, talk about possible worlds should be reduced to talk about world stories. Intuitively, a world story is a complete description of how things could be. In this paper, I will claim that the world story approach not only suffers from the well-known, expressive problem of representing the thesis of the possible existence of non-actual objects, but it has troubles in representing, in an actualistically acceptable way, the apparently more tractable thesis of the possible non-existence of actual objects. To solve this problem, I…

Natural Properties Do Not Support Essentialism in Counterpart Theory: A Reflection on Buras’s Proposal [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Cristina Nencha
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic

David Lewis may be regarded as an antiessentialist. The reason is that he is said to believe that individuals do not have essential properties independent of the ways they are represented. According to him, indeed, the properties that are determined to be essential to individuals are a matter of which similarity relations among individuals are salient, and salience, in turn, is a contextual matter also determined to some extent by the ways individuals are represented. Todd Buras argues that the acknowledgment of natural properties in counterpart theoretic ontology affects Lewis’s…

Propositions as Truthmaker Conditions [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Mark Jago
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

Propositions are often aligned with truth-conditions. The view is mistaken, since propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not. Propositions are hyperintensional: they are sensitive to necessarily equivalent differences. I investigate an alternative view on which propositions are truthmaker conditions, understood as sets of possible truthmakers. This requires making metaphysical sense of merely possible states of affairs. The theory that emerges illuminates the semantic phenomena of samesaying, subject matter, and aboutness.

Husserlian Intentionality and Contingent Universals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Nicola Spinelli
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language

Can one hold both that universals exist in the strongest sense (i.e., neither in language nor in thought, nor in their instances) and that they exist contingently—and still make sense? Edmund Husserl thought so. In this paper I present a version of his view regimented in terms of modal logic cum possible-world semantics. Crucial to the picture is the distinction between two accessibility relations with different structural properties. These relations are cashed out in terms of two Husserlian notions of imagination: world-bound and free. After briefly presenting the Husserlian framework—his…
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