Chapter

Articulating the A Priori–A Posteriori Distinction

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/9780199777860.003.0014
Articulating the A Priori–A Posteriori Distinction

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The distinction between a priori knowledge and a posteriori knowledge has come under attack in the recent literature by Philip Kitcher, John Hawthorne, C. S. Jenkins, and Timothy Williamson. Evaluating the attacks requires answering two questions. First, have they hit their target? Second, are they compelling? My goal is to argue that the attacks fail because they miss their target. Since the attacks are directed at a particular concept or distinction, they must accurately locate the target concept or distinction. Accurately locating the target concept or distinction requires correctly articulating that concept or distinction. The attacks miss their target because they fail to correctly articulate the target concept or distinction. I go on to present a different challenge to the a priori–a posteriori distinction. This challenge is not directed at the coherence or significance of the distinction. Its target is the traditional view that all knowledge (or justified belief) is either a priori or a posteriori.

Keywords: a priori; a posteriori; distinction; knowledge; concept; Kitcher; Hawthorne; Jenkins; Williamson

Chapter.  16642 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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