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. (shrink)
The paper is a combination of criticism and defense of ethical intuitionism, Meaning by this the view that we have insights about such matters that we can know to be true. Although the thesis is accepted that intuition is an authentic source of ethical knowledge, Many of the claims of intuitionists are subjected to critical scrutiny.