A Priori Entitlement

Christopher Peacocke

in The Realm of Reason

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780199270729
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600944 | DOI:
A Priori Entitlement

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States and defends the third principle of rationalism, The Generalised Rationalist Thesis, which holds that all instances of the entitlement relation, both absolute and relative, are fundamentally a priori. Even if a thinker's entitlement to a transition is provided by certain experiences of hers, her entitlement to make that transition from those experiences cannot itself be provided by certain experiences of hers. The author defends the third principle by appeal to two considerations: first, if the epistemological significance of experience was itself not knowable a priori, then making any particular transition on the basis of that experience could not be rational, and so a thinker could not be entitled to make that transition. Thus, if we are to be entitled to make any transition on the basis of experience, the principle that entitles us to make that transition must be knowable a priori, whether or not we happen to know it. The second consideration in defence of the third principle rests on a general conception of what it is for a proposition or transition to be a priori. According to this conception, a proposition or transition is a priori just in case its truth or truth‐conduciveness can be explained from the nature of its content, or of the states that it involves. According to this conception, the third principle is a corollary of the first two principles, and so our defence of those two principles should serve to defend the third principle as well.

Keywords: a priori; content; entitlement; experience; rationalism; transition; truth

Chapter.  20716 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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