The contingent a priori and implicit knowledge

By introducing a name ‘one meter’ and stipulating that it refers to the length of stick S, the stipulator appears to be in a position to gain immediate knowledge of a mind- and language-independent fact-the fact that the length of stick S is one meter. It appears that other users of the name can gain this knowledge only through empirical enquiry. I argue that this presents a paradox. After clarifying the nature of the paradox, I offer a solution by arguing that, contrary to appearances, other users of ‘one meter’ implicitly knew that the length of stick S is one meter before learning the name, as did the stipulator prior to introducing the name. There is some distinct knowledge that other users of the name can only gain empirically, but the stipulator cannot gain this knowledge without empirical enquiry either.
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DOI 10.2307/3071063
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