Chapter

Necessity, Certainty, and the a Priori

Albert Casullo

in Essays on a Priori Knowledge and Justification

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199777860
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933525 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199777860.003.0002
Necessity, Certainty, and the a Priori

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Empiricist theories of knowledge are attractive, for they offer the prospect of a unitary theory of knowledge based on relatively well understood physiological and cognitive processes. Mathematical knowledge, however, has been a traditional stumbling block for such theories. There are three primary features of mathematical knowledge that have led epistemologists to the conclusion that it cannot be accommodated within an empiricist framework: (1) mathematical propositions appear to be immune from empirical disconfirmation; (2) mathematical propositions appear to be known with certainty; and (3) mathematical propositions are necessary. The primary purpose of this paper is to examine whether any of these alleged features of mathematical propositions establishes that knowledge of such propositions cannot be a posteriori

Keywords: mathematical; knowledge; a priori; empiricism; disconfirmation; certainty; necessity

Chapter.  9768 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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