Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Relativism, Faultlessness and Parity: Why We Should be Pluralists about Truth’s Normative Function

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Filippo Ferrari
Topics: Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

Some philosophers, like Mark Richard and Paul Boghossian, have argued against relativism that it cannot account for the possibility of faultless disagreement. However, I will contend that the objections they moved against relativism do not target its ability to account for the possibility of faultless disagreement per se. Rather, they should be taken to challenge its capacity to account for another element of our folk conception of disagreement in certain areas of discourse—what Crispin Wright has dubbed parity. What parity demands is to account for the possibility of coherently appreciating,…

The Contemporary Relevance of Peirce’s Views on the Logic and Metaphysics of Relations

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Claudine Tiercelin
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Metaphysics, Theoretical philosophy

Independently of Frege or Russell, C.S. Peirce made major contributions to the history of the logic and metaphysics of relations. After presenting his metaphysical interpretation of relations and his emphasis on the reality and irreducibility of relations, the paper shows how Peirce’s views are tied to the dispositional realism he defends within a scientific realistic metaphysics, and why they are still relevant for assessing the logical and ontological status of relations, and insightful for the meta-physical agenda to pursue today.

Truth-theoretic Semantics and Its Limits [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Kirk Ludwig
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

This paper takes up some limitations of truth-theoretic semantics connected with the requirement that knowledge of a compositional meaning theory for a language put one in a position to understand any potential utterance in the language. I argue that associating entities, such as properties, relations, and propositions, with natural language expressions is neither necessary nor sufficient to meet this requirement. I develop an account of how a meaning theory may be formulated in terms of a body of knowledge about a recursive truth theory for a language. I consider two…

Davidson: Decision and Interpretation [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Pol-Vincent Harnay, Pétronille Rème
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Decision theory plays a central role in Davidson’s work. Based on the experimentations led in Stanford during the 1950s, it is possible to track down the origins and the foundations of the unified theory of thought, meaning and action. The‘wording effect’ and the omission of meanings undermine decision theory as a whole, hence the need to enlarge the basis of decision theory by integrating an interpretation theory that reflects mental holism more accurately.

Davidson on the Objectivity of Values and Reasons [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Pascal Engel
Topics: Ethics, History of Analytic Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

Although he did not write on ethics, Davidson wrote a few papers on the objectivity of values. His argument rests on his holistic conception of interpretation of desires. I examine whether this argument can be sufficient for his objectivism about values. And supposing that the argument were correct, would it entail a form of realism about normativity and reasons? I argue that it falls short of giving us a genuine form of moral realism. My case will rest on an examination of Davidson’s conception of value in relation to what…

Norm and Failure in Mind and Meaning [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Akeel Bilgrami
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

The paper first gives an argument for the Davidsonian thesis that norms constitute the human mind. Then it shows that that thesis is better formulated by Wittgenstein rather than by Davidson himself. And finally, it uses the Wittgensteinian formulation of the thesis to establish why Davidson was right to further claim that linguistic meaning was not normative despite the human mind being normatively constituted. Through this entire dialectic of the paper, the concept of failure is made central to the argument.

Radical Interpretation and Pragmatic Enrichment [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Peter Pagin
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

I consider a problem from pragmatics for the radical interpretation project, relying on the principle of charity. If a speaker X in a context c manifests the attitude of holding a sentence s true, this might be because of believing, not the content of s in c, but what results from a pragmatic enrichment of that content. In this case,  the connection between the holding-true attitude and the meaning of s might be too loose for charity to confirm the correct interpretation hypothesis. To solve this problem, I apply the…

Demystifying Davidson: Radical Interpretation meets Radical Enactivism [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Daniel D. Hutto, Glenda Satne
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

Davidson’s signature ideas on the holism and autonomy of propositional thought have led some exegetes to hold that he advances a kind of transcendentalism that is discordant with a satisfactory naturalism. On the other hand, Davidson’s work has strong connections with naturalism, as some Quinean strands of his thinking make apparent. Two strands can thus be identified in Davidson’s thought. One emphasizes features of thought that set it apart from the rest of nature. The otherseeks to locate thought within nature. Taken to extremes these different strands in Davidson’s thinking…

Davidson’s Semantic Externalism: From Radical Interpretation to Triangulation [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Claudine Verheggen
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

The received interpretation of Donald Davidson’s philosophy has it that his thoughts underwent a significant change between his early work and his later work, in particular, between his work on radical interpretation and his work on triangulation. It is maintained that the kind of semantic externalism Davidson advocated in his later work is importantly different from that advocated in the early work. Indeed, it is sometimes even maintained that his semantic externalism emerged only, roughly, in his later work. I argue that Davidson’s semantic externalism has always been not only…

Is a Unified Account of Conspiracy Theories Possible? [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Philippe Huneman, Marion Vorms
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Theoretical philosophy

This paper proposes a critical assessment of the concept of “conspiracy theory” as a coherent object of investigation, and evaluates the prospects for an integration of various avenues of research—sociological, epistemological, psychological—that deal with it. Because of the threat posed by conspiracy theories to public health and political stability, academic efforts to understand the sociological and cognitive basis for the adoption of such views, as well as their epistemological flaws, are undoubtedly needed. But the preliminary question of the unity, and of the specificity of the class of things called…
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