Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


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…

The Transplant Intuition as an Argument for the Biological Approach

Issue: • Author/s: Alfonso Muñoz-Corcuera
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of mind

One of the primary objections to the biological approach revolves around what is known as the transplant intuition. That is, the allegedly widely shared intuition that if we had our cerebrum transplanted into a different body, we would be transferred to that body along with our cerebrum. Drawing upon our understanding of brain death, this paper argues that either (1) the transplant intuition should be rejected, and the biological approach has the advantage of being consistent with that rejection; or (2) the psychological approach, the biological approach’s main rival, cannot…

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,…
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