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. 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.

Current Issue(s)

Images and Kant’s Theory of Perception

Samantha Matherne

My aim in this paper is to offer a systematic analysis of a feature of Kant’s theory of perception that tends to be overlooked, viz., his account of how the imagination forms images in perception. Although Kant emphasizes the centrality of this feature of perception, indeed, calling it a ‘necessary ingredient’ of perception, commentators have instead focused primarily on his account of sensibility and intuitions on the one hand, and understanding and concepts on the other. However, I show that careful attention to what he says about the nature of images, their connection to the imagination, and their role in perception in his Metaphysics Lectures, as well as in the Deduction and Schematism chapters of the first Critique reveals that Kant is working with a richer, more nuanced framework for perception than is often attributed to him. I contend that it is only once we have a revised framework for Kant’s theory of perception in place that we will be able to make further headway in debates, e.g., about whether or not he is a conceptualist about perception.

Substance and the Concept of Personal Identity

Jens Kipper

In this paper, I identify and discuss the following feature of our judgments about hypothetical scenarios concerning the identity of persons: with respect to the vast majority of scenarios, both members of a pair of logically complementary propositions about personal identity are conceivable. I consider a number of explanations of this feature that draw on the metaphysics and the epistemology of personal identity, none of which prove to be satisfactory. I then argue that in order to give an adequate explanation, one needs to recognize an important characteristic of our concept of personal identity: it is such that if there are mental substances (or the like), they constitute personal identity. At the same time, there can still be persons if there are no such substances. Since this finding casts doubts on the way that thought experiments about personal identity are usually set up, I end by outlining its potential consequences for the debate over the identity of persons.

Conceptual History, Conceptual Ethics, and the Aims of Inquiry: A Framework for Thinking about the Relevance of the History/Genealogy of Concepts to Normative Inquiry

David Plunkett

In this paper, I argue that facts about the history or genealogy of concepts (facts about what I call “conceptual history”) can matter for normative inquiry. I argue that normative and evaluative issues about concepts (such as issues about which concepts an agent should use, in a given context) matter for all forms of inquiry (including normative inquiry) and that conceptual history can help us when we engage in thinking about these normative and evaluative issues (which I call issues in “conceptual ethics”). My aim in making this argument is to develop a schematic framework for thinking about the relationship between conceptual history and normative inquiry. The framework puts pressure on those who, often unreflectively or implicitly, dismiss the potential relevance of conceptual history to normative inquiry. At the same time, the framework can be seen as presenting a challenge to those drawn to more radical views about the relationship between conceptual history and normative inquiry. The challenge is this: if one wants a more ambitious model of the relevance of conceptual history to normative inquiry than what I provide in this paper, one needs to explain what justifies such a model.

Weak Discernibility, Again

Thomas Møller-Nielsen

In this paper I argue that the focus of much contemporary discussion concerning the proper role and philosophical significance of weak discernibility in the context of quantum mechanics (and other physical theories) is misplaced. In particular, I claim that metaphysicians’ criticism of weak discernibility on the basis of its alleged inability to ground objects’ numerical distinctness is orthogonal to Saunders’s (2003a) main concern in his original paper, which is to use the notion of weak discernibility as part of a broader “logical aid” for interpreting physical theories. How exactly this “methodological” (as opposed to “metaphysical”) construal of weak discernibility is supposed to work, however, is not immediately transparent. This paper therefore serves both as an attempt to gain a better understanding of Saunders’s interpretational program, and also seeks to encourage a renewed emphasis on the set of issues and questions that such a program—at least on my understanding of it—would appear to raise.

A New Defense of Hedonism about Well-Being

Ben Bramble

According to hedonism about well-being, lives can go well or poorly for us just in virtue of our ability to feel pleasure and pain. Hedonism has had many advocates historically, but has relatively few nowadays. This is mainly due to three highly influential objections to it: The Philosophy of Swine, The Experience Machine, and The Resonance Constraint. In this paper, I attempt to revive hedonism. I begin by giving a precise new definition of it. I then argue that the right motivation for it is the ‘experience requirement’ (i.e., that something can benefit or harm a being only if it affects the phenomenology of her experiences in some way). Next, I argue that hedonists should accept a felt-quality theory of pleasure, rather than an attitude-based theory. Finally, I offer new responses to the three objections. Central to my responses are (i) a distinction between experiencing a pleasure (i.e., having some pleasurable phenomenology) and being aware of that pleasure, and (ii) an emphasis on diversity in one’s pleasures.

Coming Soon

A higher-order solution to the problem of the concept horse

Nicholas Jones

Hume's Correction of the Sentiments. Intersubjectivity Without Objectivity

Max Barkhausen

A New Paradigm for Epistemology: From Reliabilism to Abilism

John Turri

Belief update methods and rules—some comparisons

Leszek Wroński

Structural Reflexivity and the Paradoxes of Self-Reference

Rohan French

Responsibility in Descartes's Theory of Judgment

Marie Jayasekera