Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


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…

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

Essence, Necessity, and Non-Generative Metaphysical Explanation [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Michael Wallner
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

Finean essentialists take metaphysical necessity to be metaphysically explained by essence. But whence the explanatory power of essence? A recent wave of criticism against the Finean account has put pressure on essentialists to answer this question. Wallner and Vaidya (2020) have responded by offering an axiomatic account of the explanatory power of essence. This paper discusses their account in light of some recent criticism by Bovey (2022). Building on work by Glazier (2017), Bovey succeeds in showing that Wallner and Vaidya’s account is in need of modification and clarification. In…

Relativized Essentialism about Modalities [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Salim Hirèche
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

On what I call absolutist essentialism about modality (AE), the metaphysical necessities are the propositions that are true in virtue of the essence (i.e. Aristotelian, absolute essence) of some entities. Other kinds of necessity can then be defined by restriction—e.g. the conceptual necessities are the propositions that are true in virtue of the essence of conceptual entities specifically. As an account of metaphysical modality and some other kinds (e.g. logical, conceptual), AE may have important virtues. However, when it comes to accounting for further important kinds, like natural or normative…

Dispositional Arrays: Why So Scared of Possible Worlds? [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Lorenzo Azzano
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

Some philosophers believe that powers are more acceptable, naturalistic, non-ad hoc and actualist-friendly candidates to replace possible worlds (PWs) in a dispositionalist analysis of modality. However, such a swift opposition between powers and PWs is both unwarranted and problematic. Furthermore, there is at least one power-based ontology of PWs, which in turn offers a power-based applied PW-semantics for dispositionalists. On this account, first briefly suggested in Vetter 2015, a PW is taken to be a dispositional array, viz., a power for the entire universe to be so-and-so. I discuss several…

Potentiality and Would-Counterfactuals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Giulia Casini
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

In her book Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality (2015), Barbara Vetter introduces a new ontological and semantical framework for modal discourse, based on potentiality. Within this framework, Vetter attempts to formulate an embryonic semantical account for counterfactual conditionals. The aim of this paper is to discuss this tentative account of counterfactuals. Being an account at such an early stage, there are many elements and issues that could be discussed, but this work will focus only on one aspect of it. The aspect in question is the treatment of would-counterfactuals, which…

Max Black and Backwards Causation

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Brian Garrett
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology

In this discussion I point out that Max Black offers not one but two arguments against the (logical/metaphysical) possibility of backwards causation. Although both arguments fail in their intended aim, they show something of importance, viz., that defenders of backwards causation should understand Black’s Houdini example (and others like it) in terms of the ‘multiple causes’ model.

A Skeptical Approach to the Audibility of Semantic Properties

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Elvira Di Bona
Topics: Aesthetics, Cognitive science, Epistemology, Ontology, Philosophy of language

The issue of whether we can auditorily perceive meanings (or semantic properties) expressed in a language we understand has been approached through arguments based either on theoretical reasoning or the discussion of psychological effects. I am skeptical about the use of either type of argument. In this paper, I will first explain the limitations of the standard theoretical argument: the phenomenal contrast method. As for psychological phenomena, I will discuss semantic satiation and the Stroop effect. I will summarize why semantic satiation has already been dismissed and, based on said…

Reconsidering an Ontology of Properties for Quantum Theories [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 16 • Author/s: Emanuele Rossanese
Topics: Epistemology, Logic, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of science

Da Costa, Lombardi and Lastiri (2013) have proposed an ontology of properties for non-relativistic quantum mechanics within the structure of the modal-Hamiltonian interpretation of the theory. Recently, this proposal has been developed in order to discuss the nature of entanglement and indistinguishability in such an ontology (Fortin and Lombardi 2022) and to explain how particles emerge from an ontology of properties (Lombardi and Dieks 2016). Oldofredi (2021) has also proposed an ontology of properties for Relational Quantum Mechanics. The aim of my paper is then to discuss an ontology of…
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