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. 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.

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

Current Issues

Non-Repeatable Hedonism Is False

Travis Timmerman and Felipe Pereira

In a series of recent papers, Ben Bramble defends a version of hedonism which holds that purely repetitious pleasures add no value to one’s life (i.e. Non-Repeatable Hedonism). In this paper, we pose a dilemma for Non-Repeatable Hedonism. We argue that it is either committed both to a deeply implausible asymmetry between how pleasures and pains affect a person’s well-being and to deeply implausible claims about how to maximize well-being, or is committed to the claim that a life of eternal pleasure for a person can be just as good for them as a life of eternal suffering. The only way out of this dilemma is for Bramble to reject the Non-Repetition Requirement. Yet, rejecting this requirement both forces Bramble to reject the wholly unique, core component, of his view and undermines his view’s ability to handle one of the most powerful objections to hedonism, viz., that a life with a larger quantity of so-called “base” (or lower) pleasures is better for a person than a life with a slightly smaller quantity of so-called higher pleasures. We conclude that Non-Repeatable Hedonism is untenable and must be rejected in favor of standard forms of hedonism or some non-hedonic view of well-being.

Depth, Value, and Context

Jumbly Grindrod

In this paper, I will consider the repercussions that epistemic contextualism has on capturing the distinctive value of knowledge. I will argue that the way that contextualist views capture the value of knowledge depends on the depth of the contextualism involved. To do so, I distinguish between superficial and deep contextualism, and I show how the latter is forced to contextualist epistemic value in a way the former is not. However, I then argue that if the superficial contextualist view does not contextualise epistemic value, it would nevertheless fail to properly capture the value of knowledge. If epistemic contextualism is true, then epistemic value should be contextualised.

Anhedonia and the Affectively Scaffolded Mind

Alex James Miller Tate

Anhedonia, roughly defined as the diminishment or absence of the capacity to experience pleasure or joy in the performance of daily activities, is a core symptom of Major Depressive Disorder, as well as other psychiatric illnesses. I argue that the two major psychological theories of anhedonia are committed to the view that anhedonia depends, in the general case, on more than just neurobiological states and processes. This is despite the overwhelming explanatory focus on neurobiological factors in the existing literature, which reflects a general commitment to biomedical materialism, the view that mental illnesses are simply neural dysfunctions (Davis 2016; Zachar 2000). Instead, I argue that anhedonia depends upon the breakdown in the function of what Colombetti and Krueger (2015) term a subject's affective niche. Since affective niches are composed of elements of a person's natural and social environments, including artefacts, activities, and other people, anhedonia likewise turns out to depend on a subject's environment, in a manner that makes it generally inscrutable within the boundaries of skin and skull. I discuss and refute some objections to this view, and conclude by sketching a promising, general strategy one could adopt to refute biomedical materialism for a non-trivial class of other psychiatric symptoms.

Explaining Fictional Characters

Tatjana von Solodkoff

Fictional characters are awkward creatures. They are described as being girls, detectives, and cats; as being famous, based on real people, and well developed, and as being paradigmatic examples of things that don’t exist. It’s not hard to see that there are tensions between these various descriptions—how can something that is a detective not exist?—and there is a range of views designed to make sense of the pre-theoretical data. Fictional realists hold that we should accept that fictional characters are part of ‘the furniture of our world’. Others are fictional anti-realists, who hold instead that our world does not contain any such things. In this article, I deploy an independently motivated metaontology to defend a novel version of fictional anti-realism. On the view I develop and defend, the central task we face is that of explaining facts concerning fictional characters, where the relevant notion of explanation is distinctively metaphysical in character. Fictional anti-realism emerges as the plausible thesis that facts about fictional entities can be completely explained in terms of the existence and features of other things.

Coming Soon

Relaxing about Moral Truths

Christine Tiefensee

The State of the Discipline: New Data on Women Faculty in Philosophy

Sherri Lynn Conklin, Irina Artamonova, and Nicole Hassoun

Consciousness Science Underdetermined: A Short History of Endless Debates

Matthias Michel

Hume’s Deontological Response to Scepticism

Hsueh Qu

Philosophy’s Undergraduate Gender Gaps and Early Interventions

Adam Piovarchy