Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Empirical Success, Closeness to Evidence, and Approximation to the Truth [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Gustavo Cevolani, Luca Tambolo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Realists and antirealists agree that different theories can be more or less empirically successful, even if they disagree on how to interpret this fact. Most of their arguments rely on how the notion of success is understood; still, few definitions of success are available, and their adequacy is doubtful. In this paper, we discuss some of these definitions and introduce a new measure of the success of a theory relative to a body of evidence aimed at overcoming some of their limitations. We moreover discuss how empirical success is connected…

The Representation of Reality in the Intelligent Use of Tools [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Valentina Savojardo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaethics, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Starting from some results of neuroscience, and especially of Embodied Cognition, I’ll discuss the problem of the intelligent use of tools, as a useful perspective under which to investigate the link between common knowledge and scientific knowledge. The philosophical question from which I shall start my reflection is the following: how do we represent reality to ourselves when we intervene on it through the intelligent use of a tool? The answer to this problem will be developed in two fundamental steps. 1. The problem of the intelligent use of tools…

Does Evolution Favor Accurate Perception? [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Adriano Angelucci, Vincenzo Fano, Gabriele Ferretti, Roberto Macrelli, Gino Tarozzi
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

The currently mainstream view is that, in normal conditions, our perceptual representations are largely accurate, as natural selection tends to favor epistemically reliable perceptual systems. This latter assumption has been questioned by Donald Hoffman and his collaborators by drawing on the formal tools of evolutionary game theory. According to their model, an organism whose visual system were tuned to objective reality would be driven to extinction. We argue that their model fails to take environmental modifications into due account, and we show that, once such changes are incorporated into the…

Models and Experts: The Contribution of Expertise to Epidemic and Pandemic Modelling [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Carlo Martini
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

Modelling is a precious source of information in science. With models, we can simplify an otherwise messy reality in order to understand the fundamental driving forces of a system, like an epidemic, and we can try to predict the course of events in complex scenarios where there is a great degree of uncertainty. In short, models can be used to explain and predict phenomena. Yet models interact with expert opinions in two fundamental ways. They are sometimes in competition with expert opinion, and they are sometimes heavily dependent, for their…

Grassroots Modeling during the Covid-19 Pandemic [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Cecilia Nardini, Fridolin Gross
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

One of the many peculiar phenomena that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about is the engagement of non-scientists with specific questions surrounding the interpretation of epidemiological data and models. Many of them have even begun to get involved in the collection, analysis, and presentation of the data themselves. A reason for this might be that the insights that science can provide in a situation of crisis are often inconclusive or preliminary, motivating many people to look for the answers to pressing questions themselves. Moreover, public engagement is facilitated by the…

Science, Scientism, and the Disunity of Science: Popular Science during the COVID-19 Pandemic [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Nicolò Gaj, Giuseppe Lo Dico
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

Unsurprisingly, science has been conferred growing expectations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the issue of dissemination and popularization of scientific outcomes has come to the fore. The article describes the main features of the so-called dominant view in popular science, which is claimed to be implicitly connected to scientism, a stance identifying science as the most (if not the only) reliable source of legitimate knowledge. Scientism’s implicit philosophical roots are argued to lie in naturalism and a trivialized neopositivist concept of science, which underscores the supposed unity…

Keeping Doors Open: Another Reason to Be Skeptical of Fine-Based Vaccine Policies [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Stefano Calboli, Vincenzo Fano
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

An impressive effort by the scientific community has quickly made available SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, indispensable allies in the fight against COVID-19. Nevertheless, in liberal democracies, getting vaccinated is an individual choice and a not-negligible number of persons might turn out to be vaccine refusers. Behavioral and Cognitive (B&C) scientists have cast light on the key behavior drivers of the vaccine choice and suggested choice architectures to boost vaccine uptake. In this paper, we identify a somehow neglected psychological phenomenon, that it is reasonable to believe to hamper the vaccine uptake whereby…

Can a City Be Relocated? Exploring the Metaphysics of Context-Dependency

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Fabio Bacchini, Nicola Piras
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

This paper explores the Persistence Question about cities, that is, what is necessary and sufficient for two cities existing at different times to be numerically identical. We first show that we can possibly put an end to the existence of a city in a number of ways other than by physically destroying it, which reveals the metaphysics of cities to be partly different from that of ordinary objects. Then we focus in particular on the commonly perceived vulnerability of cities to imaginary relocation; and we make the hypothesis that cities…

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…

The Affective and Practical Consequences of Presentism and Eternalism

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Mauro Dorato
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

In the dispute between presentism and eternalism, the affective dimensions of the debate have been somewhat neglected. Contemporary philosophers of time have not tried to relate these ontological positions with two of the most discussed maxims in the history of ethics—“live in the present” vs. “look at your life under the aspect of the eternity” (sub specie aeternitatis)—that since the Hellenistic times have been regarded as strictly connected with them. Consequently, I raise the question of whether the endorsement of one of these two ontological views can make a practical…
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