Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Existence, Fundamentality, and the Scope of Ontology

Issue: Issue 01 • Author/s: Uriah Kriegel
Topics: Ontology

A traditional conception of ontology takes existence to be its proprietary subject matter—ontology is the study of what exists (§ 1). Recently, Jonathan Schaffer has argued that ontology is better thought of rather as the study of what is basic or fundamental in reality (§ 2). My goal here is twofold. First, I want to argue that while Schaffer’s characterization is quite plausible for some ontological questions, for others it is not (§ 3). More importantly, I want to offer a unified characterization of ontology that covers both existence and…

Two Concepts of Constitutive Rules [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 07 • Author/s: Jaap Hage
Topics: Ontology, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

In this article, it is argued that rules have two main functions, the practice-defining function and the constraining (fact-to-fact) function. These two functions are compatible. In their function as constraints, some rules are also indirectly regulative. In both of their functions, rules differ from the summaries (rules of thumb) that Rawls discussed and opposed to the constitutive (fact-to-fact) rules which make that some decisions are the right ones. In his work, first on the philosophy of language and later on social ontology, Searle focused on one kind of constitutive rules:…

Metaphysics at the Table: Introduction [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 10 • Author/s: Andrea Borghini, Donatella Donati, Nicola Piras
Topics: Introduction, Metaphysics, Ontology

Can Unmodified Food Be Culinary Art? [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 10 • Author/s: Sara Bernstein
Topics: Aesthetics, Metaphysics, Ontology

You are sitting in a fancy restaurant. After an extensively prepared, multi-course meal, out comes the dessert course: an unmodified but perfectly juicy, fresh peach. Many restaurants serve such unmodified or barely-modified foods, intending them to count as culinary art. This paper takes up the question of whether such unmodified foods, served in the relevant institutional settings, do count as culinary art. Drawing on debates about the metaphysics of art, I compare and contrast the case of unmodified food to Duchamp’s “Fountain” (1917), pointing out relevant similarities and differences between…

Unjust Food Systems and Applied Mereology [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 10 • Author/s: Shane Epting
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology

Conventional food systems are highly complex entities with numerous components that span the globe. Having an overabundance of parts creates ‘globalized opacity’, a condition wherein the sheer number of parts makes it incredibly challenging to see how these parts fit together. In turn, people cannot see how these systems help create and perpetuate social injustices in select instances. With this notion in mind, it should be no surprise that numerous issues require mitigation. Gaining a clear view of the nature of such problems could improve how food-justice researchers understand the…

Local Food as Social Change: Food Sovereignty as a Radical New Ontology [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 10 • Author/s: Samantha Noll
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology

Local food projects are steadily becoming a part of contemporary food systems and take on many forms. They are typically analyzed using an ethical, or socio-political, lens. Food focused initiatives can be understood as strategies to achieve ethical change in food systems and, as such, ethics play a guiding role. But local food is also a social movement and, thus social and political theories provide unique insights during analysis. This paper begins with the position that ontology should play a more prominent part in the analysis of local food movements,…

Towards a Particularistic Metaphysics of Recipes [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 10 • Author/s: Giulio Sciacca
Topics: Metaphysics, Ontology

In this paper, I attempt to offer a new metaphysical account of recipes and to make sense of their relations with the authenticity of dishes. In doing so, I first show the untenability of any Platonistic characterisation of recipes, according to which recipes are universals instantiated by dishes. I do this by showing that recipes play a critical explanatory role for the sharing of culinary properties between dishes. That is, there are certain grounding relations between recipes and dishes that would not hold if recipes were Platonic universals. Then, by…

Food, Food Substitutes and Food Supplements [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 10 • Author/s: Helena Siipi
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology

Distinguishing between food, food substitutes and supplements is common in everyday life and academic work. The aim of this paper is to analyze this distinction. The question is approached from the point of view of functions. The hypothesis reads as follows: “Food has several nutritional, culinary, social, cultural, aesthetic and other functions. These functions are necessary and sufficient for something to be food. Food substitutes and supplements, serve some, but not many, functions of food. Thus, food substitutes and supplements are not food”. The contemplations of the paper speak against…

Hume’s Law, Moore’s Open Question and Aquinas’ Human Intellect

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Augusto Trujillo Werner
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Ontology, Theoretical philosophy

This article concerns Aquinas’ practical doctrine on two philosophical difficulties underlying much contemporary ethical debate. One is Hume’s Is-ought thesis and the other is its radical consequence, Moore’s Open-question argument. These ethical paradoxes appear to have their roots in epistemological scepticism and in a deficient anthropology. A possible response to them can be found in that a) Aquinas defends the substantial unity and rationality of the human being; b) Thomistic natural law is a natural consequence of the rational being; c) Thomistic human intellect is essentially theoretical and practical at…

Presentism and Causal Processes

Issue: Issue 07 • Author/s: Ernesto Graziani
Topics: Epistemology, Ontology, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

Presentism is the view that only present temporal entities (tenselessly) exist. A widely-discussed problem for presentism concerns causation and, more specifically, the supposed cross-temporally relational character of it. I think that the best reply to this problem can already be found in the literature on temporal ontology: it consists, roughly, in showing that (at least) some of the main approaches to causation can be rephrased so as to avoid commitment to any cross-temporal relation, including the causal relation itself. The main purpose of this paper is to extend this reply…
1 2