Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


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…

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…

Prescribing Race: No Blank Scripts for Using Race and Ethnicity in Health

Issue: • Author/s: Phila Msimang
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Race, Theoretical philosophy

Recent research shows that the inappropriate use of race and ethnicity in healthcare leads to poor patient outcomes. Contemporaneous work shows that accounting for inequalities caused by discrimination often requires the use of race and ethnicity as variables that are mediated in their effects by discrimination along those dimensions of identity and/or classification. This suggests that the appropriateness of using racial and ethnic group descriptors depends on context. This paper explores some contexts in which the use of racial and ethnic group descriptors may be appropriate, and the limitations thereof.…

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,…

Race in Medicine: Moving Beyond the United States

Issue: • Author/s: Azita Chellappoo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Race, Philosophy of science

Debates over the use of racial categories in medicine have, thus far, been largely focused on cases and considerations occurring in the United States. However, race is used in medical settings in many places outside the US. I argue that the US focus leads to important limitations in our ability to understand and intervene on issues of race in medicine in other areas of the world. I draw on work from metaphysics of race debates to indicate why transnational continuities and discontinuities in race present a problem for US focused…

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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