Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

Acquaintance and the Qualitative Character of Conscious Intentional States

Issue: • Author/s: Anna Giustina
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Conscious intentional states are mental states that represent things as being a certain way and do so consciously: they involve a phenomenally conscious representation. For any phenomenally conscious state, there is something it is like for its subject to be in it. The way it is like for a subject to be in a certain phenomenal state is the state’s phenomenal character. According to some authors, phenomenal character has two components: qualitative character (i.e., the “what it is like” component) and subjective character (the “for the subject” component). Elsewhere, I…

Action-Perception Matching in Human Cultural Evolution: Updates from the Cognitive Science Debate

Issue: • Author/s: Antonella Tramacere, Fabrizio Mafessoni
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Philosophy of action, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Analyses of action-perception matching mechanisms, such as the Mirror Neuron System (MNS), have been prominent in evolutionary accounts of human cognition. Some scholars have interpreted data on the MNS to suggest that the human capacity to acquire and transmit cultural information is a learned product of cultural evolution (the Culture not Biology Account of cultural learning). Others have interpreted results related to the MNS to suggest that cultural learning in humans result from both cultural and biological evolution (the Culture per biology Account of cultural learning). In this paper, we…

Analytic Phenomenology: A Guided Tour

Issue: • Author/s: Alfredo Tomasetta
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

A turn is taking place in analytic philosophy of mind. This article attempts to flesh out this claim by providing an overview of what may be called ‘analytic phenomenology’. The first section gives some reasons why this overview may be useful. The overview itself takes up the second section, which is divided into five sub-sections that address some of the central themes of analytic phenomenology. The third section draws a ‘family portrait’ of the movement, and assesses its general cultural significance. A brief appendix distinguishes analytic phenomenology from ‘4E-phenomenology’.

Being an Experience as the Mark of the Mental

Issue: • Author/s: Alberto Voltolini
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

In this paper, I want to revive an idea stemming out of the Cartesian-Husserlian phenomenological tradition as regards what makes the case that something—primarily a state, but also an event, or even a property—is mental; namely, the both necessary and sufficient conditions of mentality, i.e., the mark of the mental. According to this idea, the mark of the mental is, primarily for a state, its being an experience, to be meant as the property of having a phenomenal character that makes that state phenomenally aware. I defend this idea while…

Between the Proximal and the Distal: An Interpretation of Quine’s Semantics

Issue: • Author/s: Marta Maria Vilardo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

The debate on internalism/externalism both in semantics and in epistemology concerns the core relations between the mind and the world. I will use this dichotomy to assess whether and how optimal coordination can be worked out between the different parts of Quine’s philosophy: semantics and epistemology in his earlier development. Since Quine has emphasized that his examination of translation is epistemological and since his epistemological project is an internalist one, it should be logical to assume that his semantics proceeded in the same way. But in Word and Object it…

Consciousness and Content from the Perspective of the Integrated Information Theory

Issue: • Author/s: Niccolò Bruno Negro
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

This paper contributes to the debate about the nature of mental content from the perspective of the neuroscience of consciousness. In particular, I consider how one of the most influential neuroscientific theories of consciousness, the integrated information theory (IIT), understands the relation between consciousness and content. I conclude that it implies a form of phenomenal intentionality theory (PIT), the view that consciousness explanatorily grounds content, and for this reason proponents of PIT could find in IIT a neuroscientific ally. My main conclusion is that a higher degree of confidence in…

Decoupling Accuracy from Fitness

Issue: • Author/s: Roberto Horácio de Sá Pereira
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Tyler Burge (2010) provided a scathing critique of all programs for naturalizing concepts of representation, especially teleological naturalizing programs. He intended to demonstrate that “representational content” is a concept that cannot be reduced to more fundamental biological or physical ideas. According to him, since the 1970s, the concept of representational content has been firmly established in cognitive psychology as a mature science and utilized in adequate explanations. Since Dretske’s program is Burge’s primary objective, this paper concentrates on Dretske’s perspective. Following Burge’s criticisms, I concur that Dretske’s naturalizing program trivializes…

Eliminating Race: A Philosophical Discussion

Issue: • Author/s: Ludovica Lorusso
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Race, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

In this paper I face the issue of eliminativism about race. I suggest that a partial as opposed to a blank eliminativism is the epistemically correct philosophical position, by remarking that there are different concepts of “race” and for each of them different philosophical and scientific considerations apply. I first introduce the eliminativist position and show that different forms of eliminativism exist; I then examine how distinct kinds of eliminativism apply to the concept of “bio-genomic” and “social race”, respectively, across different scientific fields. I conclude that while the concept…

Free Will in Leibniz’s Thought

Issue: • Author/s: Gianfranco Mormino
Topics: Ethics, Metaethics, Moral Philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

Since the beginning of his activity, Leibniz considers the notion of free will as absurd; he holds this notion not only unnecessary to found moral responsibility but also as an impediment to the correct understanding of divine and human retribution. What prevents many readers to accept this view is Leibniz's insistence on contingency as a requisite of free actions: I argue that the possibility of ‘being otherwise’ in a different possible world has nothing to do with freedom, which is a perfection, but rather explains the fact that our actions…

Having Experience and Knowing Experience: A Case for Illusionism about Phenomenal Consciousness

Issue: • Author/s: Daniel Shabasson
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Most philosophers think that phenomenal consciousness is real and that it has two components: an experiential component—a state that is subjectively ‘like something’ for a subject of experience; and a cognitive component—the subject’s awareness of the experiential component and knowledge of what it’s like. Illusionists, by contrast, claim that phenomenal consciousness is an illusion. It does not exist but only seems to exist (Frankish 2016). Although illusionism is highly counterintuitive, I shall claim that it is probably true. For I shall argue that phenomenal realism—the view that phenomenal consciousness is…
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