Ergo is an 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. Ergo is strongly committed to diversity and especially welcomes submissions from members of groups currently underrepresented in philosophy.
Submission and publication are free, and authors retain copyright under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 license. Generous support from the undergraduate departments of philosophy at the University of Toronto's St. George and Mississauga campuses and the University of Toronto's graduate department of philosophy make this arrangement possible.
Papers are published as they are accepted; there is no regular publication schedule.
Many recent discussions of psychopaths have centered on the question of whether they can express ill-will when they act, a capacity which is generally taken to be required for moral blameworthiness. However, the debate over ill-will currently stands at an impasse; the participants are in substantial agreement as to which attitudes psychopaths can express, but disagree as to which attitudes count as ill-will. I argue that this impasse reflects an underlying, implicit disagreement as to which features of actions are wrong-making. By uncovering this implicit disagreement and addressing it head-on, we should be able to break the impasse.
I argue that in order to apply the most common type of criteria for logicality, invariance criteria, to natural language, we need to consider both invariance of content—modeled by functions from contexts into extensions—and invariance of character—modeled, à la Kaplan, by functions from contexts of use into contents. Logical expressions should be invariant in both senses. If we do not require this, then old objections due to Timothy McCarthy and William Hanson, suitably modified, demonstrate that content invariant expressions can display intuitive marks of non-logicality. If we do require this, we neatly avoid these objections while also managing to demonstrate desirable connections of logicality to necessity. The resulting view is more adequate as a demarcation of the logical expressions of natural language.
Are the special sciences autonomous from physics? Those who say they are need to explain how dependent special science properties could feature in irreducible causal explanations, but that’s no easy task. The demands of a broadly physicalist worldview require that such properties are not only dependent on the physical, but also physically realized. Realized properties are derivative, so it’s natural to suppose that they have derivative causal powers. Correspondingly, philosophical orthodoxy has it that if we want special science properties to bestow genuinely new causal powers, we must reject physical realization and embrace a form of emergentism, in which such properties arise from the physical by mysterious brute determination. In this paper, I argue that contrary to this orthodoxy, there are physically realized properties that bestow new causal powers in relation to their realizers. The key to my proposal is to reject causal-functional accounts of realization and embrace a broader account that allows for the realization of shapes and patterns. Unlike functional properties, such properties are defined by qualitative, non-causal specifications, so realizing them does not consist in bestowing causal powers. This, I argue, allows for causal novelty of the strongest kind. I argue that the molecular geometry of H2O—a qualitative, multiply realizable property—plays an irreducible role in explaining its dipole moment, and thereby bestows novel powers. On my proposal, special science properties can have the kind of causal novelty traditionally associated with strong emergence, without any of the mystery.