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.

Publication is free, and authors retain copyright under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 license. This arrangement is made possible by generous support from the Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences, the Syracuse University Libraries, the Syracuse University Philosophy Department. Your department can become an Ergo member for a small yearly donation; see here for details.

Papers are published as they are accepted; there is no regular publication schedule.

Current Issues

Letter from the Editors

Ben Bradley, Kevan Edwards, Nicholas Jones, Nin Kirkham, Anne Schwenkenbecher, Alastair Wilson

Leibniz’s Lost Argument Against Causal Interaction

Tobias Flattery

Leibniz accepts causal independence, the claim that no created substance can causally interact with any other. And Leibniz needs causal independence to be true, since his well-known pre-established harmony is premised upon it. So, what is Leibniz’s argument for causal independence? Sometimes he claims that causal interaction between substances is superfluous; sometimes he claims that it would require the transfer of accidents, and that this is impossible. But when Leibniz finds himself under sustained pressure to defend causal independence, those are not the reasons that he marshals in its defense. Instead, deep into his long correspondence with Burchard de Volder, he gives a different sort of argument, one that has gone nearly unnoticed by commentators and has not yet been properly understood. In part, this is because the argument develops slowly over four years of correspondence. It emerges in early 1704, but it is formulated tersely and appears murky unless understood in light of Leibniz and De Volder’s tangled exchanges. There Leibniz argues that, on his distinctive ontology of an infinity of created substances, no two created substances could possibly causally interact, for roughly the same reasons that some Cartesians like De Volder deny interaction between minds and bodies on their substance dualist ontology. In this paper I draw out this lost argument, explain it and the metaphysics on which Leibniz builds it, and untangle Leibniz and De Volder’s exchanges concerning causation from which this argument results.

On Predicting

Fabrizio Cariani

I propose an account of the speech act of prediction that denies that the contents of prediction must be about the future and illuminates the relation between prediction and assertion. My account is a synthesis of two ideas: (i) that what is in the future in prediction is the time of discovery and (ii) that, as Benton and Turri recently argued, prediction is best characterized in terms of its constitutive norms.

Kant on Inner Sensations and the Parity between Inner and Outer Sense

Yibin Liang

Does inner sense, like outer sense, provide inner sensations or, in other words, a sensory manifold of its own? Advocates of the disparity thesis on inner and outer sense claim that it does not. This interpretation, which is dominant in the preexisting literature, leads to several inconsistencies when applied to Kant’s doctrine of inner experience. Yet, while so, the parity thesis, which is the contrasting view, is also unable to provide a convincing interpretation of inner sensations. In this paper, I argue that this deadlock can be traced back to an inadequate understanding of inner sense shared by both sides. Drawing upon an analysis of the notion of obscure representations, I offer an alternative interpretation of inner sense with a special regard to self-affection, apprehension, and attention. From this basis, I will infer that outer sense delivers sensory content that is initially and intrinsically unaccompanied by phenomenal consciousness; inner sense contributes by endowing such content with phenomenal consciousness. Therefore, phenomenal qualities can be regarded as the sensory manifold of inner sense. This alternative interpretation solves the long-standing dispute concerning inner sensations and would further illuminate Kant’s notion of inner experience.

Moral Worth and Consciousness: In Defense of a Value-Secured Reliability Theory

John W. Robison

What minimal role—if any—must consciousness of morally significant information play in an account of moral worth? According to one popular view, a right action is morally worthy only if the agent is conscious (in some sense) of the facts that make it right. I argue against this consciousness condition and close cousins of it. As I show, consciousness of such facts requires much more sophistication than writers typically suggest—this condition would bar from moral worth most ordinary, intuitively morally worthy agents. Moreover, I show that the attraction to this flavor of consciousness condition rests on mistaken assumptions about what is required for a right act to be non-accidentally right and attributable to the agent. Drawing some lessons from the discussion, I defend a Value-Secured Reliability Theory of Moral Worth and show how a minimal yet indispensable role for consciousness falls out from it. On this independently plausible theory, an action can be morally worthy even when the agent is unaware of the right-making features of her action.

Actual Issues for Relevant Logics

Shawn Standefer

In this paper, I motivate the addition of an actuality operator to relevant logics. Straightforward ways of doing this are in tension with standard motivations for relevant logics, but I show how to add the operator in a way that permits one to maintain the intuitions behind relevant logics. I close by exploring some of the philosophical consequences of the addition.

Coming Soon

Motor Imagery and Action Execution

Bence Nanay

Against Romanticism

Sam Shpall