The A Priori

Christopher Peacocke

in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199234769
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:


 The A Priori

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The existence and nature of the a priori are defining issues for philosophy. A philosopher's attitude to the a priori is a touchstone for his whole approach to the subject. Sometimes, as in Kant's critical philosophy, or in Quine's epistemology, a major new position emerges from reflection on questions that explicitly involve the notions of the a priori or the empirical. But even when no explicit use is made of the notion of the a priori in the questions addressed, a philosopher's methodology, the range of considerations to which the philosopher is open, his conception of the goals of the subject, his idea of what is involved in justification — all of these cannot fail to involve commitments about the nature and the existence of the a priori. So understanding the a priori is of interest in itself.

Keywords: critical philosophy; Kant; Quine's epistemology; philosopher's methodology; a priori

Article.  12328 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Epistemology ; Philosophy of Language

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