About this topic
Summary Traditionally, apriority and necessity were thought to be aligned: if a proposition is knowable a priori, it must also be necessary. This Cartesian dogma (also Leibniz, Kant) was questioned by Kripke, who proposed various contingent a priori truths, such as the famous case of the one-meter stick in Paris. The issue continues to be debated.
Key works The classic source is Kripke 1980, where the case for the contingent a priori is presented. Some influential contributions to the literature are Barnes 2007, Kitcher 1980, and Turri 2011.
Introductions Casullo 2012
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  1. Logically Necessary A Posteriori Propositions.Virgil C. Aldrich - 1969 - Analysis 29 (4):140 - 142.
  2. Analytic "a posteriori" propositions.Virgil C. Aldrich - 1968 - Erkenntnis 28 (6):200.
  3. Believing Necessary Propositions.Alice Ambrose - 1974 - Mind 83 (330):286-290.
  4. Toward a Logic of A Priori Knowledge.C. Anthony Anderson - 1993 - Philosophical Topics 21 (2):1-20.
  5. Apriority and Necessity in Kripke'naming and Necessity'.E. Andreansky - 1996 - Filozofia 51 (5):319-330.
  6. Hawthorne on the Deeply Contingent A Priori1.Yuval Avnur - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1):174-183.
  7. Necessity and Rational Insight.Jason Baehr - 2003 - Journal of Philosophical Research 28:361-370.
  8. On Considering a Possible World as Actual.Thomas Baldwin - 2001 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 75 (1):157–174.
    [Robert Stalnaker] Saul Kripke made a convincing case that there are necessary truths that are knowable only a posteriori as well as contingent truths that are knowable a priori. A number of philosophers have used a two-dimensional model semantic apparatus to represent and clarify the phenomena that Kripke pointed to. According to this analysis, statements have truth-conditions in two different ways depending on whether one considers a possible world 'as actual' or 'as counterfactual' in determining the truth-value of the statement (...)
  9. One Dogma of Millianism.Derek Ball & Bryan Pickel - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):70-92.
    Millians about proper names typically claim that it is knowable apriori that Hesperus is Phosphorus. We argue that they should claim instead that it is knowable only aposteriori that Hesperus is Hesperus, since the Kripke-Putnam epistemic arguments against descriptivism are special cases of Quinean arguments that nothing is knowable apriori, and Millians have no resources to resist the more general Quinean arguments.
  10. One Dogma of Millianism.Derek Ball & Bryan Pickel - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):70-92.
    Millians about proper names typically claim that it is knowable apriori that Hesperus is Phosphorus. We argue that they should claim instead that it is knowable only aposteriori that Hesperus is Hesperus, since the Kripke-Putnam epistemic arguments against descriptivism are special cases of Quinean arguments that nothing is knowable apriori, and Millians have no resources to resist the more general Quinean arguments.
  11. Necessity and Apriority.Gordon Prescott Barnes - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (3):495-523.
    The classical view of the relationship between necessity and apriority, defended by Leibniz and Kant, is that all necessary truths are known a priori. The classical view is now almost universally rejected, ever since Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam discovered that there are necessary truths that are known only a posteriori. However, in recent years a new debate has emerged over the epistemology of these necessary a posteriori truths. According to one view – call it the neo-classical view – knowledge (...)
  12. What Does Kripke Mean by "a Priori"?Pierre Baumann - 2011 - Diametros 28:1-7.
    This paper argues that Kripke's claim that there are contingent a priori truths would be vitiated by a seemingly unorthodox understanding of the term "a priori".
  13. Modal Epistemology and the Rationalist Renaissance.George Bealer - 2002 - In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 71-125.
    The paper begins with a clarification of the notions of intuition (and, in particular, modal intuition), modal error, conceivability, metaphysical possibility, and epistemic possibility. It is argued that two-dimensionalism is the wrong framework for modal epistemology and that a certain nonreductionist approach to the theory of concepts and propositions is required instead. Finally, there is an examination of moderate rationalism’s impact on modal arguments in the philosophy of mind -- for example, Yablo’s disembodiment argument and Chalmers’s zombie argument. A less (...)
  14. The Philosophical Limits of Scientific Essentialism.George Bealer - 1987 - Philosophical Perspectives 1:289-365.
    Scientific essentialism is the view that some necessities can be known only with the aid of empirical science. The thesis of the paper is that scientific essentialism does not extend to the central questions of philosophy and that these questions can be answered a priori. The argument is that the evidence required for the defense of scientific essentialism is reliable only if the intuitions required by philosophy to answer its central questions is also reliable. Included is an outline of a (...)
  15. On the Abuse of the Necessary a Posteriori.Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary - 2010 - In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge. pp. 159--79.
  16. Necessity.A. Cornelius Benjamin - 1928 - Journal of Philosophy 25 (10):263-270.
  17. Necessary a Posteriori Truth.Cynthia Jayne Bolton - 1992 - Dissertation, Michigan State University
    Traditionally, philosophers have used the analytic/synthetic, a priori/a posteriori, and necessary/contingent distinctions to categorize statements. And traditionally, philosophers have used these distinctions to categorize necessary statements as a priori statements. Yet certain statements seem better categorized as necessary and a posteriori. Examples of such statements include: Heat is the form of energy constituted by the motion of atoms and molecules in solids; Gold is the element with atomic number 79; and Water is H$\sb2$O. For while we believe that these statements (...)
  18. Units of Measurement and Natural Kinds: Some Kripkean Considerations. [REVIEW]J. Brakel - 1990 - Erkenntnis 33 (3):297 - 317.
    Kripke has argued that definitions of units of measurements provide examples of statements that are both contingent and a priori. In this paper I argue that definitions of units of measurement are intended to be stipulations of what Kripke calls theoretical identities: a stipulation that two terms will have the same rigid designation. Hence such a definition is both a priori and necessary. The necessity arises because such definitions appeal to natural kind properties only, which on Kripke's account are necessary.
  19. Kay Herrmann: Apriori Im Wandel. Für Und Wider Eine Kritische Metaphysik der Natur.Andreas Brandt - 2013 - Philosophische Rundschau 60 (3):252-256.
  20. The Necessary a Posteriori: A Response to Tichý. [REVIEW]Curtis Brown - 1984 - Philosophical Studies 45 (3):379 - 397.
    Some of Tichý's conclusions rest on an assumption about substitutivity which Kripke would not accept. If we grant the assumption, then Tichý successfully shows that we can discover true identity statements involving names a priori, but not that we can discover a priori what properties things have essentially. Many of Tichý's arguments require an implausible rejection of the possibility of indirect belief as described in Section III. 25Are there necessary a posteriori propositions? I have argued that we certainly can discover (...)
  21. On A Priori Contingent Truths.W. R. Carter - 1976 - Analysis 36 (2):105 - 106.
  22. Knowledge and Modality.A. Casullo - 2010 - Synthese 172 (3):341 - 359.
    Kripke claims that there are necessary a posteriori truths and contingent a priori truths. These claims challenge the traditional Kantian view that (K) All knowledge of necessary truths is a priori and all a priori knowledge is of necessary truths. Kripke’s claims continue to be resisted, which indicates that the Kantian view remains attractive. My goal is to identify the most plausible principles linking the epistemic and the modal. My strategy for identifying the principles is to investigate two related questions. (...)
  23. Posteriori Distinction1.Albert Casullo - 2013 - In Albert Casullo & Joshua C. Thurow (eds.), The a Priori in Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 249.
  24. Analyticity, Apriority, Modality.Albert Casullo - 2012 - In Manuel García-Carpintero & Max Kölbel (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Continuum International. pp. 228.
  25. Actuality and the a Priori.Albert Casullo - 1988 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 66 (3):390 – 402.
  26. Kripke on the a Priori and the Necessary.Albert Casullo - 1987 - In Paul K. Moser (ed.), Analysis. Oxford University Press. pp. 152 - 159.
  27. Kripke on Contingent a Priori Truths.Sitansu S. Chakravarti - 1979 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 20 (4):773-776.
  28. The Tyranny of the Subjunctive.David J. Chalmers - manuscript
    (1a) If Prince Albert Victor killed those people, he is Jack the Ripper (and Jack the Ripper killed those people). (1b) If Prince Albert Victor had killed those people, Jack the Ripper wouldn't have (and Prince Albert wouldn't have been Jack the Ripper).
  29. Actuality and Knowability.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Analysis 71 (3):411-419.
    It is widely believed that for all p, or at least for all entertainable p, it is knowable a priori that (p iff actually p). It is even more widely believed that for all such p, it is knowable that (p iff actually p). There is a simple argument against these claims from four antecedently plausible premises.
  30. The Foundations of Two-Dimensional Semantics.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Josep Macia (eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics: Foundations and Applications. Oxford University Press. pp. 55-140.
    Why is two-dimensional semantics important? One can think of it as the most recent act in a drama involving three of the central concepts of philosophy: meaning, reason, and modality. First, Kant linked reason and modality, by suggesting that what is necessary is knowable a priori, and vice versa. Second, Frege linked reason and meaning, by proposing an aspect of meaning (sense) that is constitutively tied to cognitive signi?cance. Third, Carnap linked meaning and modality, by proposing an aspect of meaning (...)
  31. Two-Dimensional Semantics and the Nesting Problem.David J. Chalmers & Brian Rabern - 2014 - Analysis 74 (2):210-224.
    Graeme Forbes (2011) raises some problems for two-dimensional semantic theories. The problems concern nested environments: linguistic environments where sentences are nested under both modal and epistemic operators. Closely related problems involving nested environments have been raised by Scott Soames (2005) and Josh Dever (2007). Soames goes so far as to say that nested environments pose the “chief technical problem” for strong two-dimensionalism. We call the problem of handling nested environments within two-dimensional semantics “the nesting problem”. We show that the two-dimensional (...)
  32. Contingent Apriori Truths.Hugh Chandler - manuscript
    This paper attempts to show that Scott Soames has not given us an example of a contingent a priori truth. (What it probably shows is how confused I am on this topic.).
  33. Presupposition and the a Priori.Nate Charlow - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):509-526.
    This paper argues for and explores the implications of the following epistemological principle for knowability a priori (with 'Ka' abbreviating 'it is knowable a priori that'). -/- (AK) For all ϕ, ψ such that ϕ semantically presupposes ψ: if Ka(ϕ), Ka(ψ). -/- Well-known arguments for the contingent a priori and a priori knowledge of logical truth founder when the semantic presuppositions of the putative items of knowledge are made explicit. Likewise, certain kinds of analytic truth turn out to carry semantic (...)
  34. Types, Rigidity, and A Posteriori Necessity.Arthur W. Collins - 1988 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 12 (1):195-224.
  35. Contingent andA Priori Structures in Sequential Analysis.Jeff Coulter - 1983 - Human Studies 6 (1):361-376.
  36. Are Basic Moral Facts Both Contingent and a Priori?Jonathan Dancy - unknown
  37. Por Qué la Aposterioridad No (Basta, Según Kripke, Ni) Basta (Why Aposteriority is Not (Enough According to Kripke, nor is) Enough).de Sa Dan López - 2006 - Theoria 21 (3):245-255.
    Es conocido que Kripke argumentó que la ilusión de contingencia en el caso de la conciencia no puede explicarse del modo en que se explica en el resto de casos familiares de enunciados necesarios a posteriori. En un artículo reciente, Pérez Otero (2002) argumenta que hay una explicación alternativa, en términos de mera aposterioridad. Argumento en contra de la corrección exegética y de la verdad de esta tesis.Kripke famously argued that the illusion of contingency cannot be explained away, in the (...)
  38. Productance Physicalism and a Posteriori Necessity.Don Dedrick - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (1):28-29.
    The problem of nonreflectors perceived as colored is the central problem for Byrne & Hilbert's (B&H's) physicalism. Vision scientists and other interested parties need to consider the motivation for their account of “productance physicalism.” Is B&H's theory motivated by scientific concerns or by philosophical interests intended to preserve a physicalist account of color as a posteriori necessary?
  39. Thought Experiments Without Possible Worlds.Daniel Dohrn - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):363-384.
    The method of thought experiments or possible cases is widespread in philosophy and elsewhere. Thought experiments come with variegated theoretical commitments. These commitments are risky. They may turn out to be false or at least controversial. Other things being equal, it seems preferable to do with minimal commitments. I explore exemplary ways of minimising commitments, focusing on modal ones. There is a near-consensus to treat the scenarios considered in thought experiments as metaphysical possibilities. I challenge this consensus. Paradigmatic thought experiments (...)
  40. Are There a Posteriori Conceptual Necessities?Daniel Dohrn - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):181-197.
    I critically assess Stephen Yablo’s claim that cassinis are ovals is an a posteriori conceptual necessity. One does not know it simply by mastering the relevant concepts but by substantial empirical scrutiny. Yablo represents narrow content by would have turned out -conditionals. An epistemic reading of such conditionals does not bear Yablo’s claim. Two metaphysically laden readings are considered. In one reading, Yablo’s conditionals test under what circumstances concepts remain the same while their extensions diverge. As an alternative, I develop (...)
  41. The Contingent a Priori and Rigid Designators.Keith S. Donnellan - 1977 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2 (1):12-27.
  42. Two Kinds of Possibility.Dorothy Edgington - 2004 - Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 78 (1):1-22.
    I defend a version of Kripke's claim that the metaphysically necessary and the knowable a priori are independent. On my version, there are two independent families of modal notions, metaphysical and epistemic, neither stronger than the other. Metaphysical possibility is constrained by the laws of nature. Logical validity, I suggest, is best understood in terms of epistemic necessity.
  43. Epistemic Two-Dimensionalism and Arguments From Epistemic Misclassification.Edward Elliott, Kelvin McQueen & Clas Weber - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):375-389.
    According to Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics (E2D), expressions have a counterfactual intension and an epistemic intension. Epistemic intensions reflect cognitive significance such that sentences with necessary epistemic intensions are a priori. We defend E2D against an influential line of criticism: arguments from epistemic misclassification. We focus in particular on the arguments of Speaks [2010] and Schroeter [2005]. Such arguments conclude that E2D is mistaken from (i) the claim that E2D is committed to classifying certain sentences as a priori, and (ii) the (...)
  44. Are the Notions 'A Priori Truth' and 'Necessary Truth' Extensionally Equivalent?Edward Erwin - 1974 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):591 - 602.
  45. Reference and Contingency.G. Evans - 1979 - The Monist 62 (2):178--213.
  46. Actuality, Tableaux, and Two-Dimensional Modal Logics.Lampert Fabio - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (3):403-443.
    In this paper we present tableau methods for two-dimensional modal logics. Although models for such logics are well known, proof systems remain rather unexplored as most of their developments have been purely axiomatic. The logics herein considered contain first-order quantifiers with identity, and all the formulas in the language are doubly-indexed in the proof systems, with the upper indices intuitively representing the actual or reference worlds, and the lower indices representing worlds of evaluation—first and second dimensions, respectively. The tableaux modulate (...)
  47. Are There Contingent A Priori Truths?G. W. Fitch - 1977 - Journal of Critical Analysis 6 (4):118-123.
  48. Are There Necessary a Posteriori Truths?G. W. Fitch - 1976 - Philosophical Studies 30 (4):243 - 247.
  49. Plantinga's Necessary a Posteriori Truths.Gregory W. Fitch - 1978 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):323 - 327.
  50. What Is Universally Quantified and Necessary and a Posteriori and It Flies South in the Winter?Jerry Fodor - 2006 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 80 (2):11 - 24.
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