The Synthetic a Priori in Strawson's Kantianism

Barry Stroud

in Understanding Human Knowledge

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780199252138
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598500 | DOI:
 The Synthetic a Priori in Strawson's Kantianism

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Deals with the project of demonstrating the possibility of conclusions with a distinctive metaphysical status, both in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, which for its success depends on the analytic‐synthetic distinction, and analogously in Strawson's Kantian project that does not appeal to transcendental idealism but which nevertheless exploits the notion of a priori knowledge. Stroud identifies two conditions for the possibility of propositions with a distinctive metaphysical status: first, necessary conditions between the possession of certain concepts or conceptual capacities and others can be discovered; and secondly, certain conceptual capacities can be shown to be required for the possibility of any thought or experience at all. The distinctive status of these propositions, Stroud argues, can be described without any appeal to the analytic‐synthetic distinction and without supposing that if we know them, we know them a priori.

Keywords: a priori knowledge; analytic‐synthetic distinction; Critique of Pure Reason; Kant; Strawson; transcendental idealism

Chapter.  8517 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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