Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

Fiction, Models and the Problem of the Gap [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Frederick Kroon
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

An increasingly popular view holds that scientific modeling involves something akin to the imaginative construction of a fictional story along with its cast of fictional characters, not just the positing of entities (models) that yield a false but useful representation of their targets. The present paper focuses on the following problem for this view of models. If a model is a fiction how can it possibly be said to represent some aspect of the real world? How can the unreal represent the real, and in a way that allows modelers to…

Learning through the Scientific Imagination [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Fiora Salis
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

Theoretical models are widely held as sources of knowledge of reality. Imagination is vital to their development and to the generation of plausible hypotheses about reality. But how can imagination, which is typically held to be completely free, effectively instruct us about reality? In this paper I argue that the key to answering this question is in constrained uses of imagination. More specifically, I identify make-believe as the right notion of imagination at work in modelling. I propose the first overarching taxonomy of types of constraints on scientific imagination that…

Spoiler Alert! Unveiling the Plot in Thought Experiments and other Fictional Works [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Daniele Molinari
Topics: Aesthetics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of science

According to a recent philosophical claim, “works of fiction are thought experiments” (Elgin 2007: 47), though there are relevant differences, as the role of spoilers shows—they can ruin a novel but improve the understanding we can gain through a thought experiment. In the present article I will analyze the role of spoilers and argue for a more differentiated perspective on the relation between literature and thought experiments. I will start with a short discussion of different perspectives on thought experiments and argue that the mental-model view and the conception of…

From Fictional Disagreements to Thought Experiments [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Louis Rouillé
Topics: Aesthetics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

In this paper, I present a conceptual connection between fictional disagreements and thought experiments. Fictional disagreements happen when two readers disagree about a fictional detail. The “great beetle debate” is a paradigmatic case. Nabokov once argued that Gregor Samsa, in The Metamorphosis, metamorphosed into a beetle. Yet many critics and readers imagine Gregor to be a big cockroach. Analysing a fictional disagreement is interesting because it exhibits the informational structure which is common to all fictions. First, it shows the distinction between the fictional foreground (what is expressed by the…

Game Counterpossibles [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Felipe Morales Carbonell
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophical logic

Counterpossibles, counterfactuals conditional with impossible antecedents, are notoriously contested; while the standard view makes them trivially true, some authors argue that they can be non-trivially true. In this paper, I examine the use of counterfactuals in the context of games, and argue that there is a case to be made for their non-triviality in a restricted sense. In particular, I examine the case of retro problems in chess, where it can happen that one is tasked with evaluating counterfactuals about illegal positions. If we understand illegality as a type of…

There Could Be a Light that Never Goes Out: The Metaphysical Possibility of Disembodied Existence

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Michele Paolini Paoletti
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Theoretical philosophy

According to many philosophers, even if it is metaphysically possible that I exist without my present body or without my present brain, it is not metaphysically possible that I exist without any physical support. Thus, it is not metaphysically possible that I exist in some afterlife world, where I do not have any physical support. I shall argue against such a thesis by distinguishing two different notions of physical and by examining two strategies used by those who defend the thesis. No strategy will turn out to be conclusive. Thus,…

Book Reviews

Issue: Issue 09 • Author/s: Elisa Paganini, Alfredo Tomasetta, Massimo Marraffa
Topics: book reviews, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology

Book Reviews

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Peter Øhrstrøm, Giulia Lorenzi, Laura Caponetto, Bianca Cepollaro
Topics: Aesthetics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Moral Philosophy, Ontology, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

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