Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


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…

Learning through the Scientific Imagination [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Fiora Salis
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

Theoretical models are widely held as sources of knowledge of reality. Imagination is vital to their development and to the generation of plausible hypotheses about reality. But how can imagination, which is typically held to be completely free, effectively instruct us about reality? In this paper I argue that the key to answering this question is in constrained uses of imagination. More specifically, I identify make-believe as the right notion of imagination at work in modelling. I propose the first overarching taxonomy of types of constraints on scientific imagination that…

Spoiler Alert! Unveiling the Plot in Thought Experiments and other Fictional Works [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Daniele Molinari
Topics: Aesthetics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of science

According to a recent philosophical claim, “works of fiction are thought experiments” (Elgin 2007: 47), though there are relevant differences, as the role of spoilers shows—they can ruin a novel but improve the understanding we can gain through a thought experiment. In the present article I will analyze the role of spoilers and argue for a more differentiated perspective on the relation between literature and thought experiments. I will start with a short discussion of different perspectives on thought experiments and argue that the mental-model view and the conception of…

Fiction, Imagination, and Normative Rationality [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Malvina Ongaro
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Rationality is a cornerstone of economics. The properties defining rationality are embodied by the Rational Agent, whose actions are prescriptive for economic agents. However, the Rational Agent is a fictional character: so why should real agents act like it? The Rational Agent takes its normative force from the arguments in support of the properties it embodies. In this paper, I explore the grounds for the normative force of the Rational Agent by looking at one of them. I explain the compelling pull of the famous Dutch Book argument using tools…