Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


A Note on the Grandfather Paradox

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

In this note, I am critical of some aspects of David Lewis’s resolution of the Grandfather Paradox. In particular, I argue that Lewis gives the wrong explanation of Tim’s inability to kill Grandfather, and that the correct explanation makes essential reference to the self-undermining character of Tim’s grampicide.

Between the Proximal and the Distal: An Interpretation of Quine’s Semantics

Issue: • Author/s: Marta Maria Vilardo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

The debate on internalism/externalism both in semantics and in epistemology concerns the core relations between the mind and the world. I will use this dichotomy to assess whether and how optimal coordination can be worked out between the different parts of Quine’s philosophy: semantics and epistemology in his earlier development. Since Quine has emphasized that his examination of translation is epistemological and since his epistemological project is an internalist one, it should be logical to assume that his semantics proceeded in the same way. But in Word and Object it…

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

Issue: • Author/s: Fabio Bacchini, Nicola Piras
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Questioning, Rather Than Solving, the Problem of Higher-Level Causation

Issue: • Author/s: Erica Onnis
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Theoretical philosophy

In Metaphysical Emergence, Jessica Wilson recognises the problem of higher-level causation as “the most pressing challenge to taking the appearances of emergent structure as genuine” (2021: 39). Then, Wilson states that there are “two and only two strategies of response to this problem” (2021: 40) that lead to Strong and Weak emergence. In this paper, I suggest that there might be an alternative strategy—not opposite, but different in kind—to approach this difficulty. As noticed by Wilson, the problem of higher-level causation was formulated and made central by Jaegwon Kim. However,…

Social Groups and the Problem of Persistence through Change

Issue: • Author/s: Giulia Lasagni
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Theoretical philosophy

The persistence of social groups through change is a matter of debate in social ontology. While mereological approaches contend that social groups persist if formed by the same members, other accounts leaning towards structuralism find that what ensures the persistence of social groups is instead continuity of structure. The aim of this paper is to challenge the idea that a structuralist account is bound to hold that continuity of structure is necessary and sufficient condition for persistence. First, I consider membership changes. I argue that for structure-based metaphysics, not all…
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