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

Frege’s Conception of Truth: Two Readings

Junyeol Kim

The object reading of Frege’s conception of truth holds that, for him, truth is an object—the truth-value the True. Greimann rebuts the object reading and suggests an alternative reading. According to his suggested reading, Frege is a proponent of the assertion theory of truth, the main thesis of which is that truth is what is expressed by the form of assertoric sentences, and truth as such is neither an object nor a property. I argue that Frege cannot accept the assertion theory. I also defend the object reading by elaborating it further and replying to Greimann’s criticisms.

Racializing Races: The Racialized Groups of Interactive Constructionism Do Not Undermine Social Theories of Race

Phila Msimang

Adam Hochman has recently argued for comprehensive anti-realism about race against social kind theories of race. He points out that sceptics, often taken as archetypical anti-realists, may admit race in certain circumstances even if they are eliminativists about race. To be comprehensively anti-realist about races, which also means rejecting all ‘race talk’, he suggests that racial formation theory should be abandoned in favour of interactive constructionism. Interactive constructionism argues for the reality of racialized individuals and racialized groups to the exclusion of realism about races. Its supplementation of comprehensive anti-realism is meant to give us the ability to account for all relevant phenomena of interest surrounding the question of race without having to admit that races are real in any sense. I argue that although Hochman’s interactive constructionism succeeds in establishing the existence of racialized individuals and groups, it does not do so to the exclusion of realism about social races. Furthermore, I show that his comprehensive anti-realism, even when it is supplemented with interactive constructionism, is inadequate to deal with all relevant phenomena of interest surrounding the question of race.

Descartes’s Anti-Transparency and the Need for Radical Doubt

Elliot Samuel Paul

Descartes is widely portrayed as the arch proponent of “the epistemological transparency of thought” (or simply, “Transparency”). The most promising version of this view—Transparency-through-Introspection—says that introspecting (i.e., inwardly attending to) a thought guarantees certain knowledge of that thought. But Descartes rejects this view and provides numerous counterexamples to it. I argue that Descartes’s actual theory of self-knowledge is just an application of his general theory of knowledge. According to his general theory, certain knowledge is acquired only through clear and distinct intellection. Thus, in his view, certain knowledge of one’s thoughts is acquired only through clear and distinct intellection of one’s thoughts. Introspection is a form of intellection and it can be clear and distinct. Ordinarily, however, introspection isn’t clear and distinct but is instead confused with dubitable perceptions of bodies. To make introspection clear and distinct, we need to “sharply separate” it from all perceptions of bodies by doubting all perceptions of bodies. Without such radical doubt, introspection remains confused and we lack certain knowledge not just of the specific features of our thoughts, but even of the minimal claim that a thought exists. Far from being the high priest of Transparency, Descartes is radically opposed to it.

Why Do Desires Rationalize Actions?

Alex Gregory

I begin the paper by outlining one classic argument for the guise of the good: that we must think that desires represent their objects favourably in order to explain why they can make actions rational (Quinn 1995; Stampe 1987). But what exactly is the conclusion of this argument? Many have recently formulated the guise of the good as the view that desires are akin to perceptual appearances of the good (Oddie 2005; Stampe 1987; Tenenbaum 2007). But I argue that this view fails to capitalize on the above argument, and that the argument is better understood as favouring a view on which desires are belief-like states. I finish by addressing some countervailing claims made by Avery Archer (2016).

A Formal Apology for Metaphysics

Sam Baron

There is an old meta-philosophical worry: very roughly, metaphysical theories have no observational consequences and so the study of metaphysics has no value. The worry has been around in some form since the rise of logical positivism in the early twentieth century but has seen a bit of a renaissance recently. In this paper, I provide an apology for metaphysics in the face of this kind of concern. The core of the argument is this: pure mathematics detaches from science in much the same manner as metaphysics and yet it is valuable nonetheless. The source of value enjoyed by pure mathematics extends to metaphysics as well. Accordingly, if one denies that metaphysics has value, then one is forced to deny that pure mathematics has value. The argument places an added burden on the sceptic of metaphysics. If one truly believes that metaphysics is worthless (as some philosophers do), then one must give up on pure mathematics as well.

Coming Soon

Obligation, Permission, and Bayesian Orgulity

Michael Nielsen and Rush T. Stewart

Epistemic Oughts in Stit Semantics

John Horty

Wronging Future Children

K. Lindsey Chambers

What Defines a Conceptual Resource?

Paul-Mikhail Catapang Podosky

Bootstrapping, Dogmatism, and the Structure of Epistemic Justification

Shyam Nair

An Argument for Objective Possibilism

Peter A. Graham

The Passions and Disinterest: From Kantian Free Play to Creative Determination by Power, via Schiller and Nietzsche

Eli I. Lichtenstein

Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink: Nudging is Giving Reasons

Neil Levy

Multiculturalism, Autonomy, and Language Preservation

Ethan Nowak

A New Puzzle for Phenomenal Intentionality

Peter Clutton and Alexander Sandgren

Self-Respect and the Disrespect of Others

Christine Bratu

Conceptualising Kant's Mereology

Benjamin Marschall