Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


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.

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…

Intentional Relations [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Mark Sainsbury
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophical logic

Thinking about Obama and thinking about Pegasus seem to be the same kind of thing: both are cases of thinking about something. But they also seem to be different kinds of thing, in that one is relational and the other not. This paper aims to show a way out of the impasse by distinguishing varieties of relationality, concluding that what matters is the two-term relational nature of all intentional states, regardless of whether or not the representations they involve have referents.

Radical Interpretation and Pragmatic Enrichment [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Peter Pagin
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

I consider a problem from pragmatics for the radical interpretation project, relying on the principle of charity. If a speaker X in a context c manifests the attitude of holding a sentence s true, this might be because of believing, not the content of s in c, but what results from a pragmatic enrichment of that content. In this case,  the connection between the holding-true attitude and the meaning of s might be too loose for charity to confirm the correct interpretation hypothesis. To solve this problem, I apply the…

Demystifying Davidson: Radical Interpretation meets Radical Enactivism [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Daniel D. Hutto, Glenda Satne
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

Davidson’s signature ideas on the holism and autonomy of propositional thought have led some exegetes to hold that he advances a kind of transcendentalism that is discordant with a satisfactory naturalism. On the other hand, Davidson’s work has strong connections with naturalism, as some Quinean strands of his thinking make apparent. Two strands can thus be identified in Davidson’s thought. One emphasizes features of thought that set it apart from the rest of nature. The otherseeks to locate thought within nature. Taken to extremes these different strands in Davidson’s thinking…

When THUNCing Trumps Thinking: What Distant Alternative Worlds Can Tell Us About the Real World [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Stephan Lewandowsky, Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Scott Brophy
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Political philosophy

By and large, our cognition is a truth-tracking device. There is much evidence that people’s cognition can be optimal in many circumstances. Non-conventional forms of cognition, such as conspiracist ideation and belief in the paranormal, are considered less suited as a reality-tracking device. We suggest that actual conspiracies are preferentially identified by conventional cognition, whereas non-existent conspiracies that are the objects of conspiracy theories fall within the domain of conspiracist cognition. We explore the implications of this suggestion through an analysis of President Donald Trump’s Twitter discourse.

The Study of Conspiracy Theories [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Joseph E. Uscinski
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Political philosophy

The study of conspiracy theories has undergone a drastic transformation in the last decade. While early scholarly treatments relied on historical cases and cultural analyses, more recent works focus on the individuals who subscribe either to specific conspiracy beliefs or to more generalized conspiratorial thinking. This shift in focus presents scholars with an opportunity to learn more about how and why conspiracy theories gain followers. But also, this new focus presents dangers which have yet to be fully considered by the psychologists, social-psychologists, and political scientists spearheading the research. In…

Is a Unified Account of Conspiracy Theories Possible? [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Philippe Huneman, Marion Vorms
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Theoretical philosophy

This paper proposes a critical assessment of the concept of “conspiracy theory” as a coherent object of investigation, and evaluates the prospects for an integration of various avenues of research—sociological, epistemological, psychological—that deal with it. Because of the threat posed by conspiracy theories to public health and political stability, academic efforts to understand the sociological and cognitive basis for the adoption of such views, as well as their epistemological flaws, are undoubtedly needed. But the preliminary question of the unity, and of the specificity of the class of things called…

Joining the Conspiracy [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Lee Basham
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

Accompanying the accusation of malevolent political conspiracy is the accusation of cover-up of these conspiracies by leading institutions of public information; mass media and national law enforcement. A common response to this accusation is that these institutions of public information will reliably reveal such political conspiracies, not cover them up. Unfortunately, the best arguments for this hope are now widely recognized to fail. Further, cover-up does not require descending control of the media by conspirators. The problem is much more complex, one endemic to our information hierarchies. This includes the…
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