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. Most 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)

Structuralism and Its Ontology

Marc Gasser

A prominent version of mathematical structuralism holds that mathematical objects are at bottom nothing but “positions in structures,” purely relational entities without any sort of nature independent of the structure to which they belong. Such an ontology is often presented as a response to Benacerraf’s “multiple reductions” problem, or motivated on hermeneutic grounds, as a faithful representation of the discourse and practice of mathematics. In this paper I argue that there are serious difficulties with this kind of view: its proponents rely on a distinction between “essential” and “nonessential” features of mathematical objects, and there’s no good way to articulate this distinction which is compatible with basic structuralist commitments. But all is not lost. For I further argue that the insights motivating structuralism (or at least those worth preserving) can be preserved without formulating the view in ontologically committal terms.

Modern Greatness of Soul in Hume and Smith

Andrew J. Corsa

I contend that Adam Smith and David Hume offer re-interpretations of Aristotle’s notion of greatness of soul, focusing on the kind of magnanimity Aristotle attributes to Socrates. Someone with Socratic magnanimity is worthy of honor, responds moderately to fortune, and is virtuous—just and benevolent. Recent theorists err in claiming that magnanimity is less important to Hume’s account of human excellence than benevolence. In fact, benevolence is a necessary ingredient for the best sort of greatness. Smith’s “Letter to Strahan” attributes this greatness to Hume. It encourages us to admire Hume as an exemplar of human excellence, to seek Hume’s virtues for ourselves, and to approve of the “love of literary fame” which Hume calls his “ruling passion.”

Fair Numbers: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About the Underrepresentation of Women in Philosophy

Yann Benétreau-Dupin & Guillaume Beaulac

The low representation of women in philosophy (< 30%) in English-speaking countries has generated much discussion, both in academic circles and the public sphere. It is sometimes suggested (Haslanger 2009) that unconscious biases, acting at every level in the field, may be grounded in gendered schemas of philosophers and in the discipline more widely, and that actions to make philosophy a more welcoming place for women should address such schemas. However, existing data are too limited to fully warrant such an explanation, which therefore will not satisfy those in favor of status quo or those who argue against the need to address gender imbalance. In this paper, we propose measures to improve the profession that ought to be implemented without referring explicitly to this underrepresentation or to the climate for women and other underrepresented groups. Such recommendations are based on empirical research already carried out in other disciplines and do not rest on whether it is possible to identify the cause of this low representation. We argue that we need not wait for new or better data to ensure that fairer practices are enacted for women, other underrepresented groups, and everybody else, if only out of precaution.

Leibniz on the Expression of God

Stewart Duncan

Leibniz frequently uses the notion of expression, but it is not easy to see what expression is. This paper focuses on the case of the expression of God, which is prominent in the Discourse on Metaphysics. Leibniz says there that finite substances express God. That talk of expression seems not to fit with standard understandings of expression as involving isomorphism, or at least a structural similarity of the expressing thing and the expressed one. Beyond that general puzzle, the treatment of expression of God in the Discourse suggests several questions. Which substances did Leibniz believe expressed God? Why did Leibniz believe those substances expressed God? And did he believe that all substances expressed God in the same way and for the same reasons? In answering those questions, this paper distinguishes two views about expression in the Discourse; considers Leibniz’s reasons for holding that substances express their causes, and for thinking that minds have a particular similarity to God; and argues that Leibniz’s views about emanative causation may be helpful for understanding the unity of his apparently distinct views here.