Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Fiction and Imagination: Introduction [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Carola Barbero, Matteo Plebani, Alberto Voltolini
Topics: Aesthetics, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind

Simulation Modelling in Fiction [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: Conrad Aquilina
Topics: Aesthetics, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of science

This essay assesses the claim that model structures have features in common with narratology and fiction-making. It proposes that simulation—a form of modelling—is amenable to literary narratives which are hypermimetic, in the sense that their cognitive or material reception by the reader demands a phenomenology attained through the heightening of a mimetic secondary reality. Simulation models construct frames of reference for target systems through self-validating mechanisms, and the same is true of narratology. I specifically argue that the modelling of a world out of text, one which is written and…

Unlocking Limits [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 11 • Author/s: James Nguyen, Roman Frigg
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

In a series of recent papers we have developed what we call the DEKI account of scientific representation, according to which models represent their targets via keys. These keys provide a systematic way to move from model-features to features to be imputed to their targets. We show how keys allow for accurate representation in the presence of idealisation, and further illustrate how investigating them provides novel ways to approach certain currently debated questions in the philosophy of science. To add specificity, we offer a detailed analysis of a kind of…

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…

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…

The Source of Modality: Introduction [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Giacomo Giannini, Joaquim Giannotti
Topics: Epistemology, Introduction, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Theoretical philosophy

Modal Normativism and De Re Modality [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Tom Donaldson, Jennifer Wang
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

In the middle of the last century, it was common to explain the notion of necessity in linguistic terms. A necessary truth, it was said, is a sentence whose truth is guaranteed by linguistic rules. Quine famously argued that, on this view, de re modal claims do not make sense. “Porcupettes are porcupines” is necessarily true, but it would be a mistake to say of a particular porcupette that it is necessarily a porcupine, or that it is possibly purple. Linguistic theories of necessity fell out of favour with the…

Necessity First [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Alastair Wilson
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

My topic in this paper is the relationships of metaphysical priority which might hold between the different alethic modal statuses—necessity, contingency, possibility and impossibility. In particular, I am interested in exploring the view that the necessity of necessities is ungrounded while the contingency of contingencies is grounded—a scenario I call ‘necessity first’. I will explicate and scrutinize the contrast between necessity first and its ‘contingency first’ contrary, and then compare both views with ‘multimodal’ and ‘amodal’ alternatives, drawing on David Lewis’s modal realism and Barbara Vetter’s potentialism as example cases.…
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