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.

Current Issue(s)

The Best Argument for “Ought Implies Can” Is a Better Argument Against “Ought Implies Can”

Brian Talbot

To argue that “ought” implies “can,” one can appeal to general principles or to intuitions about specific cases. One general truism that seems to show that “ought” implies “can” is that obligations must be able to guide action, and putative obligations that are unfulfillable are unable to do so. This paper argues that obligations that are unfulfillable can still guide action, and that moral theories which reject the principle that “ought” implies “can” are actually better able to account for how obligations guide than theories which endorse “ought” implies “can.” The paper also argues that any intuitions about specific cases that seem to provide evidence that “ought” implies “can” do not actually give us this evidence. Rather, these intuitions pose similar problems for theories which accept “ought” implies “can” as they pose for theories which reject the principle. Some theories which reject “ought” implies “can” will fit our intuitions at least as well, if not better, than theories which accept it. So, intuitions do not favor accepting that “ought” implies “can,” and appeal to general principles favors its denial.

Caricatures and Prop Oriented Make-Believe

Elisa Caldarola and Matteo Plebani

A caricature can reveal an aspect of its subject that a more faithful representation would fail to render: by depicting a slow and clumsy person as a monkey one can point out such qualities of the depicted subject, and by depicting a person with quite big ears as a person with enormous ears one can point out that the depicted person has rather big ears. How can a form of representation that is by definition inaccurate be so representationally powerful? Figurative language raises a similar puzzle. Metaphors, taken at face value, are usually false: men are not wolves. The same goes for hyperbolic talk: Putnam did not change his position one billion times in his career. Still, figurative language is expressively powerful: by saying that human beings are wolves or that Putnam changed his position one billion times in his career one conveys, in a very vivid way, some true information about the world (something concerning the facts that human beings are cruel and that Putnam frequently changed opinion). Kendall Walton (1993) provides an elegant explanation of the expressive utility of figurative language by linking metaphor and prop oriented make-believe. We explore the hypothesis that the theory of prop oriented make-believe can also explain the representational efficacy of caricatures.

The Priority Argument and Aristotle’s Political Hylomorphism

Siyi Chen

I wish to demonstrate in this article that Aristotle’s argument for the priority of the city in Politics I 2 is supported by his conception of the ontological priority of form (and actuality) over matter (and potentiality). This interpretation should enable us to see that, just as his hylomorphism is a middle path between Presocratic materialism and Platonic dualism, Aristotle’s political hylomorphism is a middle path between two radical versions of political naturalism by Antiphon and Plato.

Ur-Priors, Conditionalization, and Ur-Prior Conditionalization

Christopher J. G. Meacham

Conditionalization is a widely endorsed rule for updating one’s beliefs. But a sea of complaints have been raised about it, including worries regarding how the rule handles error correction, changing desiderata of theory choice, evidence loss, self-locating beliefs, learning about new theories, and confirmation. In light of such worries, a number of authors have suggested replacing Conditionalization with a different rule—one that appeals to what I’ll call ur-priors. But different authors have understood the rule in different ways, and these different understandings solve different problems. In this paper, I aim to map out the terrain regarding these issues. I survey the different problems that might motivate the adoption of such a rule, flesh out the different understandings of the rule that have been proposed, and assess their pros and cons. I conclude by suggesting that one particular batch of proposals, proposals that appeal to what I’ll call loaded evidential standards, are especially promising.

Coming Soon

Reference Magnetism as a Solution to the Moral Twin Earth Problem

Billy Dunaway and Tristram McPherson

Neo-Stoicism and What It Can Do

Daniel Alexander Drucker

Origins of Life Research does not rest on a Mistake

Brian Knab

Characterizing Invariance

Jack Woods

Epistemic Exploitation

Nora Berenstain

Free Will Skepticism and the Question of Creativity: Creativity, Desert, and Self-Creation

Gregg D. Caruso