Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Can a Necessity Be the Source of Necessity? [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: James L.D. Brown
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

This paper asks whether a necessity can be the source of necessity. According to an influential argument due to Simon Blackburn, it cannot. This paper argues that although Blackburn fails to show that a necessity cannot be the source of necessity, extant accounts fail to establish that it is, with particular focus on Bob Hale’s essentialist theory and Christopher Peacocke’s ‘principle-based’ theory of modality. However, the paper makes some positive suggestions for what a satisfactory answer to the challenge must look like.

On Blackburn’s Dilemma and the “Antinaturalistic Core” of Necessity [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: William Bondi Knowles
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

Blackburn’s dilemma (as commonly understood) is that in explaining truths of the form ‘Necessarily-P’ we have to appeal either to a necessary truth, in which case we don’t seem to make the right kind of progress, or to a contingent truth, in which case we seem to undermine the necessity we were meant to be explaining. This paper advances two claims. First, it is argued that the dilemma is wider in scope than usually supposed. The standard assumption (evident also in Blackburn’s original paper (1993)) is that the dilemma applies…

Hale on Logical and Absolute Necessity: What You Put In Is What You Get Out [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Simon Babbs, Joshua Mendelsohn
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

What does it take for a necessity operator to capture an absolute as opposed to merely relative sense of necessity? Bob Hale (2013) delineates and formalizes three conceptions of absolute necessity, which he takes to be co-extensive, and to permit non-logical, absolutely necessary truths. We raise problems with Hale’s three conceptions of absolute necessity, both on their own terms and as regards the compatibility of all the features Hale wants them to possess. We show that Hale’s formulations are less informative than they may seem. They are all in important…

Modal Logicism and De Re Necessity [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Tobias Wilsch
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

This article introduces Logicism about Necessity as a competitor to the currently popular Essentialism. The main point of contention between the two views concerns the ultimate source of metaphysical necessity. Essentialists take essences to ultimately ground metaphysical necessity, Logicists take logic to play that role. I provide some support for the claim that one of these two views is correct, and I use recent material from Fabrice Correia and Alex Skiles to develop a specific version of Logicism in some detail. The main ambition of the article is to present…

Logical Essence [Special Issue]

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

An increasingly popular view at the intersection of logic and metaphysics is that logical necessities have their source in the essences of logical entities: metaphysical necessity has its source in the essences or natures of things, and logical necessity is a restriction of metaphysical necessity. But logical and metaphysical necessity are, nevertheless, importantly distinct: there are metaphysical necessities that are not logical necessities. I raise a serious problem for this essentialist view. It seems as though they must misclassify some merely metaphysical necessities as logical necessities. I argue that the…

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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