Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Decoupling Accuracy from Fitness

Issue: • Author/s: Roberto Horácio de Sá Pereira
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Tyler Burge (2010) provided a scathing critique of all programs for naturalizing concepts of representation, especially teleological naturalizing programs. He intended to demonstrate that “representational content” is a concept that cannot be reduced to more fundamental biological or physical ideas. According to him, since the 1970s, the concept of representational content has been firmly established in cognitive psychology as a mature science and utilized in adequate explanations. Since Dretske’s program is Burge’s primary objective, this paper concentrates on Dretske’s perspective. Following Burge’s criticisms, I concur that Dretske’s naturalizing program trivializes…

Good Reasons for Acting: Towards Human Flourishing

Issue: • Author/s: Giulia Codognato
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Metaethics, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action, Political philosophy

The aim of this paper is to show that if and only if agents are motivated to act by good reasons for acting, they flourish, since, in so doing, they consciously act in accordance with their nature through virtuous actions. I offer an account of what good reasons for acting consist of reconsidering Aquinas’ natural inclinations. Based on a critical analysis of Anjum and Mumford's work on dispositions in analytic metaphysics, I argue, contra Hume’s law, that Aquinas’ natural inclinations show that metaphysics is foundational for ethics. I claim that…

Human Enhancement and Reproductive Ethics on Generation Ships

Issue: • Author/s: Steven Umbrello, Maurizio Balistreri
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Metaethics, Moral Philosophy

The past few years have seen a resurgence in the public interest in space flight and travel. Spurred mainly by the likes of technology billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the topic poses both unique scientific as well as ethical challenges. This paper looks at the concept of generation ships, conceptual behemoth ships whose goal is to bring a group of human settlers to distant exoplanets. These ships are designed to host multiple generations of people who will be born, live, and die on these ships long before they…

Hume on Free Will

Issue: • Author/s: Lorenzo Greco
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Metaphysics, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action, Theoretical philosophy

In this essay, I discuss David Hume’s reasoning on free will as he presents it in A Treatise of Human Nature and An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. I proceed by showing how Hume’s compatibilist solution acquires meaning in the light of his sentimentally based science of human nature, which conceives human beings as reasonable, social, and active creatures. Within Hume’s empiricist, naturalistic, and sceptical approach, we deal only with perceptions and never with things themselves, and human experience is structured in a causal order which allows us to organise both…

Husserl’s Critique of Lotze and Its Relation to McDowell and the “Myth of the Given”

Issue: • Author/s: Daniel Guilhermino
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

The purpose of this paper is twofold: I want to investigate (i) to what extent Husserl’s critique of Lotze can provide a phenomenological contribution to the contemporary analytic debate on the Myth of the Given, and (ii) to what extent this critique can be related to McDowell’s conceptualism. We will see that Husserl’s phenomenological clarification of the acts of knowledge comes close to McDowell’s conceptualism in some respects, but fundamentally moves away from it in some others. Specifically, we will see that McDowell’s conceptualism would fail to follow Husserl’s “master…

I Don’t Feel like That! A Phenomenology-Free Approach to Moods

Issue: • Author/s: Daniele Cassaghi
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

People in moods usually claim that they feel in a certain way, and yet they also say that moods are undirected states. If one takes these reports at face value, moods are a counterexample to representationalism, namely the doctrine of a necessary connection between phenomenal character and content. The standard representationalist answer is to deny moods’ undirectedness in order to capture the phenomenal character of moods. I go in the opposite direction: I will deny moods’ phenomenal character and secure moods’ undirectedness instead. I will show that both our folk-psychological…

Is Intentionality a Relation? A Dialogue

Issue: • Author/s: Angela Mendelovici, David Bourget
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

This dialogue explores the question of whether intentionality––the “ofness”, “aboutness”, or “directedness” of mental states––is a relation. We explore three views: the Naive View, on which intentionality is a relation to ordinary, everyday objects, facts, and other such items; the Abstract Contents View, on which intentionality is a relation to mind-independent abstract entities; and the Aspect View, on which intentionality is a matter of having intentional states with particular (non-relational) aspects that are our contents. We consider the challenges facing these views, which include empirical challenges in accounting for all…

Is Psychologism Unavoidable in a Phenomenologically Adequate Account of Mental Content?

Issue: • Author/s: Elisabetta Sacchi
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

In my paper I focus on psychologism in the theory of mental content and critically consider a variety of it—“intentional psychologism” (Pitt 2009)—that has recently entered the stage in the philosophy of mind literature. My aim is twofold. First, I want to provide a critical evaluation of this new variety of psychologism, considering in particular whether it is immune from (some of) the most famous classical criticisms. Secondly, I want to provide a diagnosis of what ultimately motivates the current revival of the “psychologistic attitude”. My aim in so doing…

It Is Impossible to Be Able to Do the Impossible

Issue: • Author/s: Marco Hausmann
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Philosophical logic, Theoretical philosophy

Jack Spencer has recently argued that somebody might be able to do the impossible.  In response, Anthony Nguyen has argued against Spencer’s arguments. In this paper, I do not argue against Spencer’s arguments. Instead, I argue directly against Spencer’s thesis. In the first part of my paper, I develop an argument that suggests that it is implausible that somebody is able to do the impossible (because somebody who is able to do the impossible would be able to do something that would have incredible consequences). In the second part of…

Liberal Naturalism, Human Sciences, and Psychoanalysis

Issue: • Author/s: Ricardo Navia
Topics: Epistemology, Meta-Philosophy, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

In this text I intend to show to what extent a certain epistemological understanding of psychoanalysis (fundamentally Freudian) finds parallels with the so-called liberalization process of epistemological naturalism. My thesis is that the sui generis epistemological modalities created by Freud not only coincide with this process, but to a significant degree were precursors of the methodological and ontological innovations that LN (liberal naturalism) proposes to defend and theorize. I begin by reviewing the process of liberalization of epistemic naturalism, from a predominantly physicalist model to a liberal version that takes…
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