Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Acquaintance and the Qualitative Character of Conscious Intentional States

Issue: • Author/s: Anna Giustina
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Conscious intentional states are mental states that represent things as being a certain way and do so consciously: they involve a phenomenally conscious representation. For any phenomenally conscious state, there is something it is like for its subject to be in it. The way it is like for a subject to be in a certain phenomenal state is the state’s phenomenal character. According to some authors, phenomenal character has two components: qualitative character (i.e., the “what it is like” component) and subjective character (the “for the subject” component). Elsewhere, I…

Analytic Phenomenology and the Inseparatism Thesis

Issue: • Author/s: Christopher Stratman
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind

A phenomenological turn has occurred in contemporary philosophy of mind. Some philosophers working on the nature of intentionality and consciousness have turned away from views that construe the basic ingredients of intentionality in terms of naturalistic tracking relations that hold between thinkers and external conditions in their environment in favor of what has been called the “Phenomenal Intentionality Theory” (PIT). According to PIT, all “original” intentionality is either identical to or partly grounded in phenomenal consciousness. A central claim for PIT is the inseparatism thesis, which asserts that the phenomenal…

Analytic Phenomenology: A Guided Tour

Issue: • Author/s: Alfredo Tomasetta
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

A turn is taking place in analytic philosophy of mind. This article attempts to flesh out this claim by providing an overview of what may be called ‘analytic phenomenology’. The first section gives some reasons why this overview may be useful. The overview itself takes up the second section, which is divided into five sub-sections that address some of the central themes of analytic phenomenology. The third section draws a ‘family portrait’ of the movement, and assesses its general cultural significance. A brief appendix distinguishes analytic phenomenology from ‘4E-phenomenology’.

Being an Experience as the Mark of the Mental

Issue: • Author/s: Alberto Voltolini
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

In this paper, I want to revive an idea stemming out of the Cartesian-Husserlian phenomenological tradition as regards what makes the case that something—primarily a state, but also an event, or even a property—is mental; namely, the both necessary and sufficient conditions of mentality, i.e., the mark of the mental. According to this idea, the mark of the mental is, primarily for a state, its being an experience, to be meant as the property of having a phenomenal character that makes that state phenomenally aware. I defend this idea while…

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…

Consciousness and Content from the Perspective of the Integrated Information Theory

Issue: • Author/s: Niccolò Bruno Negro
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

This paper contributes to the debate about the nature of mental content from the perspective of the neuroscience of consciousness. In particular, I consider how one of the most influential neuroscientific theories of consciousness, the integrated information theory (IIT), understands the relation between consciousness and content. I conclude that it implies a form of phenomenal intentionality theory (PIT), the view that consciousness explanatorily grounds content, and for this reason proponents of PIT could find in IIT a neuroscientific ally. My main conclusion is that a higher degree of confidence in…

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…

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…
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