Ergo is a general, open access philosophy journal accepting submissions on all philosophical topics and from all philosophical traditions.

This includes, among other things: history of philosophy, work in both the analytic and continental traditions, as well as formal and empirically informed philosophy.

Submission and publication are free. Authors retain copyright under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 license. Papers are published as they are accepted; there is no regular publication schedule.

Volume I (2014) Current Issue

Introducing Ergo

Franz Huber & Jonathan Weisberg

Ergo was created in response to a need for general philosophy journals that are efficient, open access, inclusive, and transparent.

Calibration and Probabilism

Michael Caie

In this paper, I consider an argument due to Bas van Fraassen that attempts to show that considerations of calibration can justify the claim that a rational agent ought to have probabilistically coherent credences. I develop a case that shows that this argument fails. I argue, further, that if a rational agent ought to have credences that are as close as possible to relative frequencies, then there are situations in which an agent ought to have probabilistically incoherent credences.

Evolutionary and Newtonian Forces

Christopher Hitchcock & Joel D. Velasco

A number of recent papers have criticized what they call the dynamical interpretation of evolutionary theory found in Elliott Sober’s The Nature of Selection. Sober argues that we can think of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces analogous to Newtonian mechanics. These critics argue that there are several important disanalogies between evolutionary and Newtonian forces: Unlike evolutionary forces, Newtonian forces can be considered in isolation, they have source laws, they compose causally in a straightforward way, and they are intermediate causes in causal chains. Here we defend and extend the forces analogy by arguing that each of these criticisms is based on a misunderstanding of Newtonian forces. Our discussion also has the interesting consequence that natural selection turns out to be more similar to forces such as friction and elastic forces rather than the more canonical gravitation.

Leibniz’s Mill Argument Against Mechanical Materialism Revisited

Paul Lodge

Section 17 of Leibniz’s Monadology contains a famous argument in which considerations of what it would be like to enter a machine that was as large as a mill are offered as reasons to reject materialism about the mental. In this paper, I provide a critical discussion of Leibniz’s mill argument, but, unlike most treatments, my discussion will focus on texts other than te Monadology in which considerations of the mill also appear. My aim is to provide a survey of three previous interpretations of the argument and to provide a partial defence one of them, namely the one that Marc Bobro and I offered in another paper. However, I shall also argue that a fourth interpretation is necessary to account for the appearances of Leibniz’s mill in at least some of his writings.

The Problem of ESEE Knowledge

John Turri

Traditionally it has been thought that the moral valence of a proposition is, strictly speaking, irrelevant to whether someone knows that the proposition is true, and thus irrelevant to the truth-value of a knowledge ascription. On this view, it is no easier to know, for example, that a bad thing will happen than that a good thing will happen (other things being equal). But a series of very surprising recent experiments suggest that this is actually not how we view knowledge. On the contrary, people are much more willing to ascribe knowledge of a bad outcome. This is known as the epistemic side-effect effect (ESEE) and is a specific instance of a widely documented phenomenon, the side-effect effect (a.k.a. “the Knobe effect”), which is the most famous finding in experimental philosophy. In this paper, I report a new series of five experiments on ESEE and in the process accomplish three things. First, I confirm earlier findings on the effect. Second, I show that the effect is virtually unlimited. Third, I introduce a new technique for detecting the effect, which potentially enhances its theoretical significance. In particular, my findings make it more likely, though they do not entail, that the effect genuinely reflects the way we think about and ascribe knowledge, rather than being the result of a performance error.