Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Existence, Fundamentality, and the Scope of Ontology

Issue: Issue 01 • Author/s: Uriah Kriegel
Topics: Ontology

A traditional conception of ontology takes existence to be its proprietary subject matter—ontology is the study of what exists (§ 1). Recently, Jonathan Schaffer has argued that ontology is better thought of rather as the study of what is basic or fundamental in reality (§ 2). My goal here is twofold. First, I want to argue that while Schaffer’s characterization is quite plausible for some ontological questions, for others it is not (§ 3). More importantly, I want to offer a unified characterization of ontology that covers both existence and…

Searle On Normativity and Institutional Metaphysics [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 07 • Author/s: William Butchard, Robert D'Amico
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language

In Speech Acts Searle argued for a version of philosophical naturalism by, in part, replying to G.E. Moore’s famous claim that naturalism, if it included any evaluative claims, would be clearly fallacious. We make the case that Searle’s reply was not the disaster it is sometimes claimed to have been. In our discussion we pay special attention to Searle’s introduction of such key concepts as brute facts, institutional facts, and constitutive rules. We also make a broader case for the ‘constitutive’ connections as central to Searle’s often misunderstood metaphysical views.…

Necessity First [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Alastair Wilson
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

My topic in this paper is the relationships of metaphysical priority which might hold between the different alethic modal statuses—necessity, contingency, possibility and impossibility. In particular, I am interested in exploring the view that the necessity of necessities is ungrounded while the contingency of contingencies is grounded—a scenario I call ‘necessity first’. I will explicate and scrutinize the contrast between necessity first and its ‘contingency first’ contrary, and then compare both views with ‘multimodal’ and ‘amodal’ alternatives, drawing on David Lewis’s modal realism and Barbara Vetter’s potentialism as example cases.…

Essence, Necessity, and Non-Generative Metaphysical Explanation [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Michael Wallner
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

Finean essentialists take metaphysical necessity to be metaphysically explained by essence. But whence the explanatory power of essence? A recent wave of criticism against the Finean account has put pressure on essentialists to answer this question. Wallner and Vaidya (2020) have responded by offering an axiomatic account of the explanatory power of essence. This paper discusses their account in light of some recent criticism by Bovey (2022). Building on work by Glazier (2017), Bovey succeeds in showing that Wallner and Vaidya’s account is in need of modification and clarification. In…