Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

Can a City Be Relocated? Exploring the Metaphysics of Context-Dependency

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Fabio Bacchini, Nicola Piras
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

This paper explores the Persistence Question about cities, that is, what is necessary and sufficient for two cities existing at different times to be numerically identical. We first show that we can possibly put an end to the existence of a city in a number of ways other than by physically destroying it, which reveals the metaphysics of cities to be partly different from that of ordinary objects. Then we focus in particular on the commonly perceived vulnerability of cities to imaginary relocation; and we make the hypothesis that cities…

What Galileo Said

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: John Biro
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of language

Davidson’s paratactic account of indirect speech has it that a natural-language report of an utterance such as Galileo’s supposed one of ‘The Earth moves’ should be understood as analyzable into two separate, and semantically independent, utterances, the first of which points to the second, with the latter meaning in the reporter’s mouth what Galileo’s meant in his. The account rests on the assumption—shared by most writers on the subject, including critics of the account—that the correct natural-language report of Galileo’s utterance is ‘Galileo said that the Earth moves.’ I show…

Non-Doxastic Conspiracy Theories

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Anna Ichino, Juha Räikkä
Topics: Epistemology, Moral Philosophy

To a large extent, recent debates on conspiracy theories have been based on what we call the “doxastic assumption”. According to that assumption, a person who supports a conspiracy theory believes that the theory is (likely to be) true, or at least equally plausible as the “official explanation”. In this paper we argue that the doxastic assumption does not always hold. There are, indeed, “non-doxastic conspiracy theories”: theories that have many supporters who do not really believe in their truth or likelihood. One implication of this view is that some…

Essence, Necessity, and Non-Generative Metaphysical Explanation [Special Issue]

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

Finean essentialists take metaphysical necessity to be metaphysically explained by essence. But whence the explanatory power of essence? A recent wave of criticism against the Finean account has put pressure on essentialists to answer this question. Wallner and Vaidya (2020) have responded by offering an axiomatic account of the explanatory power of essence. This paper discusses their account in light of some recent criticism by Bovey (2022). Building on work by Glazier (2017), Bovey succeeds in showing that Wallner and Vaidya’s account is in need of modification and clarification. In…

Relativized Essentialism about Modalities [Special Issue]

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

On what I call absolutist essentialism about modality (AE), the metaphysical necessities are the propositions that are true in virtue of the essence (i.e. Aristotelian, absolute essence) of some entities. Other kinds of necessity can then be defined by restriction—e.g. the conceptual necessities are the propositions that are true in virtue of the essence of conceptual entities specifically. As an account of metaphysical modality and some other kinds (e.g. logical, conceptual), AE may have important virtues. However, when it comes to accounting for further important kinds, like natural or normative…

Dispositional Arrays: Why So Scared of Possible Worlds? [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Lorenzo Azzano
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

Some philosophers believe that powers are more acceptable, naturalistic, non-ad hoc and actualist-friendly candidates to replace possible worlds (PWs) in a dispositionalist analysis of modality. However, such a swift opposition between powers and PWs is both unwarranted and problematic. Furthermore, there is at least one power-based ontology of PWs, which in turn offers a power-based applied PW-semantics for dispositionalists. On this account, first briefly suggested in Vetter 2015, a PW is taken to be a dispositional array, viz., a power for the entire universe to be so-and-so. I discuss several…

Potentiality and Would-Counterfactuals [Special Issue]

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

In her book Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality (2015), Barbara Vetter introduces a new ontological and semantical framework for modal discourse, based on potentiality. Within this framework, Vetter attempts to formulate an embryonic semantical account for counterfactual conditionals. The aim of this paper is to discuss this tentative account of counterfactuals. Being an account at such an early stage, there are many elements and issues that could be discussed, but this work will focus only on one aspect of it. The aspect in question is the treatment of would-counterfactuals, which…

Olympians and Vampires: Talent, Practice, and Why Most of Us ‘Don’t Get It’

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Alessandra Buccella
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Sport, Theoretical philosophy

Why do some people become WNBA champions or Olympic gold medalists and others do not? What is ‘special’ about those very few incredibly skilled athletes, and why do they, in particular, get to be special? In this paper, I attempt to make sense of the relationship that there is, in the case of sports champions, between so-called ‘talent’, i.e. natural predisposition for particular physical activities and high-pressure competition, and practice/training. I will articulate what I take to be the ‘mechanism’ that allows certain people to rise to the Olympus of…

Max Black and Backwards Causation

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Brian Garrett
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology

In this discussion I point out that Max Black offers not one but two arguments against the (logical/metaphysical) possibility of backwards causation. Although both arguments fail in their intended aim, they show something of importance, viz., that defenders of backwards causation should understand Black’s Houdini example (and others like it) in terms of the ‘multiple causes’ model.

A Skeptical Approach to the Audibility of Semantic Properties

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Elvira Di Bona
Topics: Aesthetics, Cognitive science, Epistemology, Ontology, Philosophy of language

The issue of whether we can auditorily perceive meanings (or semantic properties) expressed in a language we understand has been approached through arguments based either on theoretical reasoning or the discussion of psychological effects. I am skeptical about the use of either type of argument. In this paper, I will first explain the limitations of the standard theoretical argument: the phenomenal contrast method. As for psychological phenomena, I will discuss semantic satiation and the Stroop effect. I will summarize why semantic satiation has already been dismissed and, based on said…
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