Epistemic Overdetermination and A Priori Justification

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:
Epistemic Overdetermination and A Priori Justification

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Radical empiricism is the view that experience is the only source of knowledge. Hence, radical empiricism deniess the existence of a priori knowledge. Its most famous proponents are John Stuart Mill and W. V. Quine. Although both reject a priori knowledge, they offer different empiricist accounts of the knowledge alleged by their opponents to be a priori. My primary concern in this paper is not with the cogency of their positive accounts. My focus is their arguments against a priori knowledge. My goal is to establish that although they offer very different arguments against the existence of a priori knowledge, each of their arguments suffers from a common defect. They both fail to appreciate the phenomenon of epistemic overdetermination and its role in the theory of knowledge.

Keywords: radical; empiricism; a priori; knowledge; justification; overdetermination; Mill; Quine

Chapter.  7845 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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