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Essays on a Priori Knowledge and JustificationEssays$
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Albert Casullo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199777860

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199777860.001.0001

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Articulating the A Priori–A Posteriori Distinction

Articulating the A Priori–A Posteriori Distinction

Chapter:
(p.289) 14 Articulating the A Priori–A Posteriori Distinction
Source:
Essays on a Priori Knowledge and Justification
Author(s):

Albert Casullo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199777860.003.0014

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

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