Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Whose Existence? A Deflationist Compromise to the Fregean/Neo-Meinongian Divide

Issue: Issue 3 • Author/s: Giuliano Bacigalupo
Topics: Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mathematics

The dispute between the Fregean and the Neo-Meinongian approach to existence has become entrenched: it seems that nothing but intuitions may be relied upon to decide the issue. And since contemporary analytic philosophers clearly are inclined towards the intuitions that support Frege’s approach, it looks as if Fregeanism has won the day. In this paper, however, I try to develop a compromise solution. This compromise consists in abandoning the assumption shared by both Fregeanism and Neo-Meinongianism, namely that the notion of existence adds something to the content of a statement.…

Wittgenstein on Truth

Issue: Issue 3 • Author/s: Paul Horwich
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

The topic is Wittgenstein’s eventual abandonment of his Tractatus idea that a sentence is true if and only if it depicts a possible fact that obtains, and his coming (in the Investigations) to replace this with a deflationary view of truth. Three objection to the initial idea that will be discussed here are: (i) that its theory of ‘depiction’ relies on an unexplicated concept of word-object reference; (ii) that its notion of a possible fact obtaining (or existing, or being actual, or agreeing with reality) is also left mysterious; and…

Russellian Diagonal Arguments and Other Logico-Mathematical Tools in Metaphysics

Issue: Issue 3 • Author/s: Laureano Luna
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

In its most general form, a diagonal argument is an argument intending to show that not all objects of a certain class C are in a certain set S, and does so by constructing a diagonal object, that is to say, an object of the class C so defined as to be other than all the objects in S. We revise three arguments inspired by the Russell paradox (an argument against Computationalism, an argument against Physicalism, and a counterargument to the Platonic One Over Many argument), extract its underlying structure,…

Thinking the Impossible [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 4 • Author/s: Graham Priest
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic

The article looks at the structure of impossible worlds, and their deployment in the analysis of some intentional notions. In particular, it is argued that one can, in fact, conceive anything, whether or not it is impossible. Thus a semantics of conceivability requires impossible worlds.

Counterpossibles in Semantics and Metaphysics [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 4 • Author/s: Timothy Williamson
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophical logic

This paper defends from recent objections and misunderstandings the orthodox view that subjunctive conditionals with impossible antecedents are true. It explains apparent counterexamples as cases where a normally reliable suppositional heuristic for assessing conditionals gives incorrect results, which some theorists take at face value.

Impossible Worlds and the Intensional Sense of ‘And’ [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 4 • Author/s: Luis Estrada-González
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic

In this paper I show that the ‘and’ in an argument like Lewis’ against concrete impossible worlds cannot be simply assumed to be extensional. An allegedly ‘and’-free argument against impossible worlds employing an alternative definition of ‘contradiction’ can be presented, but besides falling prey of the usual objections to the negation involved in it, such ‘and’-free argument is not quite so since it still needs some sort of premise-binding, thus intensional ‘and’ is needed and that suffices to block the argument at a stage prior to the steps about negation.

S4 to 5D [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 4 • Author/s: Takayashi Yagisawa
Topics: Philosophical logic

The modal logical axiom 4 is widely accepted. It is the characteristic axiom of the modal logical system S4, which is subsumed under the most popular modal logical system S5. Axiom 4 is equivalent to ◇◇P → ◇P (“If possibly possibly P, then possibly P”), which requires that the accessibility relation between worlds be transitive. There is a powerful argument (Hugh Chandler 1976, Nathan Salmon 1981, 1989) against axiom 4. It rests on the thought that an ordinary object could have had a slightly different origin from its actual origin but…

World Stories and Maximality [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 4 • Author/s: Vittorio Morato
Topics: Philosophical logic

According to many actualist conceptions of modality, talk about possible worlds should be reduced to talk about world stories. Intuitively, a world story is a complete description of how things could be. In this paper, I will claim that the world story approach not only suffers from the well-known, expressive problem of representing the thesis of the possible existence of non-actual objects, but it has troubles in representing, in an actualistically acceptable way, the apparently more tractable thesis of the possible non-existence of actual objects. To solve this problem, I…

Natural Properties Do Not Support Essentialism in Counterpart Theory: A Reflection on Buras’s Proposal [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 4 • Author/s: Cristina Nencha
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic

David Lewis may be regarded as an antiessentialist. The reason is that he is said to believe that individuals do not have essential properties independent of the ways they are represented. According to him, indeed, the properties that are determined to be essential to individuals are a matter of which similarity relations among individuals are salient, and salience, in turn, is a contextual matter also determined to some extent by the ways individuals are represented. Todd Buras argues that the acknowledgment of natural properties in counterpart theoretic ontology affects Lewis’s…

Propositions as Truthmaker Conditions [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 4 • Author/s: Mark Jago
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

Propositions are often aligned with truth-conditions. The view is mistaken, since propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not. Propositions are hyperintensional: they are sensitive to necessarily equivalent differences. I investigate an alternative view on which propositions are truthmaker conditions, understood as sets of possible truthmakers. This requires making metaphysical sense of merely possible states of affairs. The theory that emerges illuminates the semantic phenomena of samesaying, subject matter, and aboutness.
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