Denial of the Synthetic "A Priori"

Philosophy 35 (134):255 - 264 (1960)
In his essay “Logical Empiricism”, in the anthology Twentieth Century Philosophy, Professor Feigl writes: “All forms of empiricism agree in repudiating the existence of synthetic a priori knowledge.” Schlick makes the same point even more forcibly: “The empiricism which I represent believes itself to be clear on the point that, as a matter of principle, all propositions are either synthetic a posteriori or tautologous; synthetic a priori propositions seem to it to be a logical impossibility.” The denial of synthetic a prioris is a major thesis of the logical empiricist position, being found in the writings of most of the leaders of the movement. The reason for its importance is fairly clear. It provides a formula on which the empiricists can base their critique of traditional philosophy. To use Ayer's phrase, denial of the synthetic a priori results in “the elimination of metaphysics”. The philosophical tradition to which the empiricists are opposed and whose “metaphysics” they wish to eliminate can be called, somewhat loosely, rationalism
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Caroline J. Simon (1988). On Defending a Moral Synthetica Priori. Southern Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):217-233.

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