Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Empirical Success, Closeness to Evidence, and Approximation to the Truth [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Gustavo Cevolani, Luca Tambolo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Realists and antirealists agree that different theories can be more or less empirically successful, even if they disagree on how to interpret this fact. Most of their arguments rely on how the notion of success is understood; still, few definitions of success are available, and their adequacy is doubtful. In this paper, we discuss some of these definitions and introduce a new measure of the success of a theory relative to a body of evidence aimed at overcoming some of their limitations. We moreover discuss how empirical success is connected…

The Representation of Reality in the Intelligent Use of Tools [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Valentina Savojardo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaethics, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Starting from some results of neuroscience, and especially of Embodied Cognition, I’ll discuss the problem of the intelligent use of tools, as a useful perspective under which to investigate the link between common knowledge and scientific knowledge. The philosophical question from which I shall start my reflection is the following: how do we represent reality to ourselves when we intervene on it through the intelligent use of a tool? The answer to this problem will be developed in two fundamental steps. 1. The problem of the intelligent use of tools…

Does Evolution Favor Accurate Perception? [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Adriano Angelucci, Vincenzo Fano, Gabriele Ferretti, Roberto Macrelli, Gino Tarozzi
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

The currently mainstream view is that, in normal conditions, our perceptual representations are largely accurate, as natural selection tends to favor epistemically reliable perceptual systems. This latter assumption has been questioned by Donald Hoffman and his collaborators by drawing on the formal tools of evolutionary game theory. According to their model, an organism whose visual system were tuned to objective reality would be driven to extinction. We argue that their model fails to take environmental modifications into due account, and we show that, once such changes are incorporated into the…

Non-Persistent Truths [Target Article]

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Andrea Bonomi
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

I start from Evans’ criticism of temporalism, based on the claim that it does not “provide for the stable evaluation of utterances”. I try to show that, with suitable qualifications, assuming the possibility of evaluations yielding different truth-values at different times is not an “eccentric” move (as suggested by Evans). I briefly consider Prior’s metaphysical arguments in favour of the asymmetry between past and future and I suggest that, independently of these arguments, there are linguistic reasons in support of such an assumption. In particular, there are some future-oriented statements…

Future Contingents, Open Futurism, and Ontic Indeterminacy [Critical Discussion]

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Giuseppe Spolaore
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

This paper critically discusses Patrick Todd’s book, The Open Future: Why Future Contingents Are All False (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021).

Conscious Experiences as Ultimate Seemings: Renewing the Phenomenal Concept Strategy [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: François Kammerer
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

The Phenomenal Concept Strategy is a popular strategy used to support physicalism in the realm of conscious experience. This Strategy accounts for dualist intuitions but uses the ways in which we think about our experiences to explain these intuitions in a physicalist framework, without any appeal to ontological dualism. In this paper, I will raise two issues related to the currently available versions of the Phenomenal Concept Strategy. First, most of the theories belonging to the Phenomenal Concept Strategy posit that phenomenal concepts are exceptional and sui generis concepts, and…

Williamson on the psychological view [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Serena Maria Nicoli
Topics: Epistemology, Meta-Philosophy, Philosophy of mind

What is the nature of the evidence provided by thinking about hypothetical cases, such as those presented in the thought experiments (TE)? Is it psychological, as those who speak about intuitions seem to think, or not? This problem is closely related to that of the nature of the subject matter of philosophy, that most philosophers tend to conceive as non-psychological. Williamson’s position on the matter (Williamson 2007) consists in rejecting the psychological view on intuitions: if we want this method—the armchair method—to provide us with evidence in favour or contra…

Undermining Defeat and Propositional Justification [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Giacomo Melis
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind

I extend the Higher-Order View of Undermining Defeat (HOVUD) defended in Melis (2014) to account for the defeat of propositional justification. In doing so, I also clarify the important notion of higher-order commitment, and I make some considerations concerning the defeat of externalist epistemic warrants.

Putnam on Methods of Inquiry

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Gary Ebbs
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy

Hilary Putnam’s paradigm-changing clarifications of our methods of inquiry in science and everyday life are central to his philosophy. He takes for granted that the judgments of scientists are for the most part reasonable and not in need of philosophical support, and that no part of our supposed knowledge is unrevisable or guaranteed to be true. He infers from key episodes in the history of science that our language contains terms whose references may remain unchanged despite radical changes in our theories, and that some statements are so basic for…

The Tracking Dogma in the Philosophy of Emotion

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Talia Morag
Topics: Epistemology, Meta-Philosophy

Modern philosophy of emotion has been largely dominated by what I call the Tracking Dogma, according to which emotions aim at tracking “core relational themes,” features of the environment that bear on our well-being (e.g. fear tracks dangers, anger tracks wrongs). The paper inquires into the empirical credentials of Strong and Weak versions of this dogma. I argue that there is currently insufficient scientific evidence in favor of the Tracking Dogma; and I show that there is a considerable weight of common knowledge against it. I conclude that most emotions…
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