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 Issues

Failing to Treat Persons as Individuals

Erin Beeghly

If someone says, “You’ve stereotyped me,” we hear the statement as an accusation. One way to interpret the accusation is as follows: you haven’t seen or treated me as an individual. In this essay, I interpret and evaluate a theory of wrongful stereotyping inspired by this thought, which I call the failure-to-individualize theory of wrongful stereotyping. According to this theory, stereotyping is wrong if and only if it involves failing to treat persons as individuals. I argue that the theory—however one interprets it—is inadequate. Either the theory will not reliably identify all cases of wrongful stereotyping or it will fail to adequately explain why they are wrong. I conclude that it does not follow that we must entirely jettison the objection that stereotyping fails to treat persons as individuals. What follows is only that the objection must play a more circumscribed role in a theory of when and why stereotyping is wrong.

The “Fourth Hypothesis” on the Early Modern Mind-Body Problem

Lloyd Strickland

One of the most pressing philosophical problems in early modern Europe concerned how the soul and body could form a unity, or, as many understood it, how these two substances could work together. It was widely believed that there were three (and only three) hypotheses regarding the union of soul and body: (1) physical influence, (2) occasionalism, and (3) pre-established harmony. However, in 1763, a fourth hypothesis was put forward by the French thinker André-Pierre Le Guay de Prémontval (1716–1764). Prémontval’s hypothesis, given the grand name of “psychocracy” (i.e., the dominion or the rule of the soul), held that there was a real influence between soul and body, but that this was an immaterial kind of influence as opposed to the physical kind that had been entertained heretofore. Prémontval’s hypothesis is the focus of this paper. I shall begin by sketching out the details of Prémontval’s hypothesis (Section 1), then proceed to consider its claims to constitute a true fourth hypothesis distinct from the other three (Section 2), before closing by briefly considering two objections and the responses either that Prémontval himself made or that may be made on his behalf (Section 3).

Dispassion as an Ethical Ideal

Jeremiah Carey

The concept of dispassion has been an important part of many different ethical traditions, and yet it has received very little direct attention from moral philosophers. In this paper, I try to give an account of the ethical ideal of dispassion, with a particular focus on Buddhism, Stoicism, and Eastern Christianity. I try to show that there is a common core shared between these otherwise very different traditions, and that it can be expressed in contemporary and not explicitly theological or religious terms. What emerges is an attractive understanding of the ethical life worthy of more investigation.

Is Value under Hypothesis Value?

Ittay Nissan-Rozen

In the context of two recent yet distinct philosophical debates—over choice under conditions of moral uncertainty and over transformative choices—several philosophers have implicitly adopted a thesis about how to evaluate alternatives of uncertain value. The thesis says that the value a rational agent ought to attach to an alternative under the hypothesis that the value of this alternative is x, ought to be x. I argue that while in some contexts this thesis trivially holds, in the context of the two debates in which the thesis has been adopted, it does not. I also discuss several implications of this failure.

What Is Wrong with Dewey’s Theory of Knowing

Nathalie Bulle

In view of the strong influence of Dewey’s thinking on contemporary educational thought, looking back over his epistemological conceptions is of crucial importance. The heart of Dewey’s theory of knowing rests on a fundamental postulate derived from his naturalistic interpretation of human cognitive development: that of the functional separation, in the understanding of meaning, between observed or experienced phenomena and theoretical constructs. This postulate underpins Dewey’s agreement with operationalism, his critique of the spectator theory of knowledge and his conception of causality as a sequential order. If this postulate is disproven, the principles relating to intellectual training that are derived from Dewey’s theory of knowing collapse.

On Persistence in Aristotle

Scott O’Connor

In the Categories, Aristotle claims that the most distinctive mark of substance is that it persists through change of contraries (4a10–11), a claim he explains elsewhere by appeal to hylomorphism. This explanation has been characterized as an answer to what I call the Conditions Question, a question that asks for the conditions under which a substance before and after a change are identical. The evidence that Aristotle uses hylomorphism to answer this question is inconclusive, I argue. But I argue that Aristotle does use hylomorphism to answer a different question about persistence, a question that asks why substances are not destroyed as they change. I call this the Survival Question, and I argue that Aristotle’s answer to it does not entail an answer to the Conditions Question; Aristotle can consistently explain why substances are not destroyed as they admit contraries without being committed to any view about what, if anything, identity through time for substances consists in.

Coming Soon

Token-Reflexivity and Repetition

Alexandru Radulescu

Toward an Account of Gender Identity

Katharine Jenkins