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Truth and the Absence of Fact$
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Hartry Field

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242894

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199242895.001.0001

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Apriority as an Evaluative Notion

Apriority as an Evaluative Notion

Chapter:
(p.361) 13 Apriority as an Evaluative Notion
Source:
Truth and the Absence of Fact
Author(s):

Hartry Field (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199242895.003.0013

We want our methods of reasoning to be conducive to the truth; if we have reason to think that some of our methods are not, we revise them in favour of methods we think will be more so. This chapter presents a puzzle about the application of this to our most basic methods, and argues that the proper resolution would be that we could not ever have reason to think that they are not conducive to the truth; we could have reason to think that they have not been conducive to the truth in the past, but the methods in question would be sufficiently ‘self‐correcting’ that this discovery will qualitatively alter their future applications, and once this is seen, there would be no temptation to think they will not be conducive to the truth in the future. These most basic methods are thus a priori, in a strong sense that includes empirical indefeasibility. This point and a number of others are used to argue against standard ‘naturalist’ approaches to epistemology. But, rather than favouring ‘non‐naturalism’, the chapter argues for a view on which epistemological claims are not fully factual.

Keywords:   a priori, indefeasibility, naturalism, naturalist epistemology, normative discourse, objectivity, relativism, rules, scepticism, self‐correcting methods

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