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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. added 2020-05-08
    Die Unhintergehbarkeit der Intuition.Thomas Grundmann - manuscript
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  2. added 2020-04-24
    A Priori or A Posteriori?Tuomas E. Tahko - forthcoming - In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. Abingdon, New York: Routledge. pp. 353-363.
    This article discusses the role of a priori and a posteriori knowledge and methods in metaphysics and metametaphysics. Issues discussed include the viability of the distinction, the continuity of a priori and a posteriori methods, connections to modal epistemology, and the role of the distinction for science and naturalistic metaphysics.
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  3. added 2020-02-27
    Review of A Priori Justification.J. Pust - 2005 - Mind 114 (453):124-128.
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  4. added 2019-11-12
    Apriority and Essential Truth.Tristan Grøtvedt Haze - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):1-8.
    There is a line of thought, neglected in recent philosophy, according to which a priori knowable truths such as those of logic and mathematics have their special epistemic status in virtue of a certain tight connection between their meaning and their truth. Historical associations notwithstanding, this view does not mandate any kind of problematic deflationism about meaning, modality or essence. On the contrary, we should be upfront about it being a highly debatable metaphysical idea, while nonetheless insisting that it be (...)
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  5. added 2019-08-27
    Rabern’s Semantics for Metaphysical and Epistemic Modalities and the Nesting Problem.Fabian Heimann - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-11.
    In a recent paper, Brian Rabern suggests a semantics for languages with two kinds of modality, standard Kripkean metaphysical modality as well as epistemic modality. This semantics presents an alternative to two-dimensionalism, which was developed in the last decades. Both Rabern’s semantics and two-dimensionalism are subject to a puzzle that Chalmers and Rabern (2014) call the nesting problem. I will investigate how Rabern’s semantics answers this puzzle.
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  6. added 2019-08-09
    New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality, Special Issue of Synthese.Antonella Mallozzi (ed.) - forthcoming - Springer.
    The fourteen papers in this collection offer a variety of original contributions to the epistemology of modality. In seeking to explain our knowledge of possibility and necessity, they raise some novel questions, develop some unfamiliar theoretical perspectives, and make some intriguing proposals. In the Introduction (penultimate draft available for download), I give some general background about the contemporary literature in the area, by sketching a timeline of the main tendencies of the past twenty-five years or so, up to the present (...)
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  7. added 2019-08-07
    New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality: Introduction.Antonella Mallozzi - 2019 - Synthese:1-19.
    The fourteen papers in this collection offer a variety of original contributions to the epistemology of modality. In seeking to explain how we might account for our knowledge of possibility and necessity, they raise some novel questions, develop some unfamiliar theoretical perspectives, and make some intriguing proposals. Collectively, they advance our understanding of the field. In Part I of this Introduction, I give some general background about the contemporary literature in the area, by sketching a timeline of the main tendencies (...)
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  8. added 2019-06-06
    Actuality: Scott Soames and Keith Hossack: Actuality and Modal Rationalism.Keith Hossack - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt3):433-456.
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  9. added 2019-06-06
    A Posteriori Necessity in Singular Causation and the Humean Argument.M. J. García-Encinas - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (1):41-55.
    The absence of a necessary connection in singular causation is a key step in the Humean argument against any form of necessity in causation. I argue that Hume's defence of this step is unsuccessful, and that the step could be skipped, accepting the possibility of necessary a posteriori truths. Still this does not suffice to guarantee a necessary connection in singular causation. Necessary a posteriori truths should be backed by necessary a priori truths. Thus, a main object of this paper (...)
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    How Are A Priori Truths Possible?1.Christopher Peacocke - 1993 - European Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):175-199.
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  11. added 2019-06-06
    Kripke’s Contingent A Priori.Michael Wreen - 1983 - International Studies in Philosophy 15 (3):55-59.
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  12. added 2019-06-06
    A Priori Truths and Empirical Confirmation.Morris Lazerowitz & Alice Ambrose - 1983 - Critica 15 (44):43-51.
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  13. added 2019-06-06
    Plantinga's Necessary A Posteriori Truths.Gregory W. Fitch - 1978 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):323-327.
    Alvin Plantinga has recently argued that there are certain propositions which are necessary but known only a posteriori. If Plantinga is correct then he has shown that the traditional view that all necessary truths are knowable a priori is false. Plantinga's examples deserve special attention because they differ in important respects from other proposed examples of necessary a posteriori truths. His examples depend on a certain conception of possible worlds and in particular on his conception of the actual world. It (...)
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  14. added 2018-10-10
    Necessity, Identity, and A Priori Access.D. Gene Witmer - 2007 - Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2):241-263.
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  15. added 2018-09-21
    A Perverse Case of the Contingent A Priori: On the Logic of Emasculating Language.Adèle Mercier - 1995 - Philosophical Topics 23 (2):221-259.
  16. added 2018-09-18
    Philosophic Foundations of Education.S. Samuel Shermis - 1967 - New York: American Book Co..
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  17. added 2018-06-29
    On Considering a Possible World as Actual: Robert Stalnaker.Robert Stalnaker - 2001 - Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 75 (1):141-156.
    [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 (...)
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  18. added 2018-06-05
    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.
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  19. added 2018-05-11
    Analytic "a posteriori" propositions.Virgil C. Aldrich - 1968 - Analysis 28 (6):200.
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  20. added 2018-02-17
    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.
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  21. added 2018-02-07
    Two Notions of Metaphysical Modality.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese:1-22.
    The paper explores the project of an ambitious modal epistemology that attempts to combine the a priori methods of Chalmers’ 2D semantics with Kripke’s modal metaphysics. I argue that such a project is not viable. The ambitious modal epistemology involves an inconsistent triad composed of (1) Modal Monism, (2) Two-Dimensionalism, and what I call (3) “Metaphysical Kripkeanism”. I present the three theses and show how only two of those can be true at a time. There is a fundamental incompatibility between (...)
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  22. added 2017-10-30
    Aristotelianism, Apriorism, Essentialism.Barry Smith - 1994 - In Peter Boettke (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgard. pp. 33-37.
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  23. added 2017-09-07
    On Gnoseological and Ontological Meaning of Thought Experiment.Igor Nevvazhay - 2016 - Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 49 (3):28-35.
    Author discusses the possibility of thought experiment to produce a priori knowledge. Author analyzes some arguments which come from the critics of a priori. In this paper he examines the ontological and epistemological role of thought experiment in natural science and humanities. Author claims that the concept of 'apriorism' should be considered as a crucial point for classical understanding of cognition, especially within the empiricism and rationalism tradition. However, nowadays 'apriorism' loses its epistemological meaning within some modern epistemological traditions.
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  24. added 2017-09-04
    On a Priori Knowledge of Necessity.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri & Margot Strohminger - manuscript
    The idea that the epistemology of modality is in some sense a priori is a popular one, but it has turned out to be difficult to precisify in a way that does not expose it to decisive counterexamples. The most common precisifications follow Kripke’s suggestion that cases of necessary a posteriori truth that can be known a priori to be necessary if true ‘may give a clue to a general characterization of a posteriori knowledge of necessary truths’. The idea is (...)
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  25. added 2017-08-29
    On What is a Priori About Necessities.Jens Kipper - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):235-243.
    Many have argued that there is something that is a priori about all necessary truths, including a posteriori necessities. According to a particularly popular claim of this kind, one can know a priori whether a sentence is G-necessary, i.e. whether it is either necessarily true or necessarily false. In this paper, I identify the most plausible version of this claim and I argue that it fails. My discussion also reveals, and depends upon, an important feature of putative natural kind terms (...)
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  26. added 2017-07-18
    Reference, Context, and Propositions.Kai-Yee Wong - 1990 - Dissertation, Australian National University
    The main chapters of this thesis develop and defend a version of two-dimensional semantics that provides an account of Kripkean a posteriori necessity.
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  27. added 2017-06-27
    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 (...)
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  28. added 2017-03-29
    Actuality, Tableaux, and Two-Dimensional Modal Logics.Fabio Lampert - 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 (...)
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  29. added 2017-03-22
    A Bridge From Semantic Value to Content.Brian Rabern - 2017 - Philosophical Topics 45 (2):181-207.
    A common view relating compositional semantics and the objects of assertion holds the following: Sentences φ and ψ expresses the same proposition iff φ and ψ have the same modal profile. Following Dummett, Evans, and Lewis, Stanley argues that this view is fundamentally mistaken. According to Dummett, we must distinguish the semantic contribution a sentence makes to more complex expressions in which it occurs from its assertoric content. Stojnić insists that views which distinguish the roles of content and semantic value (...)
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  30. added 2017-03-08
    Actuality and the a Priori.Fabio Lampert - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):809-830.
    We consider a natural-language sentence that cannot be formally represented in a first-order language for epistemic two-dimensional semantics. We also prove this claim in the “Appendix” section. It turns out, however, that the most natural ways to repair the expressive inadequacy of the first-order language render moot the original philosophical motivation of formalizing a priori knowability as necessity along the diagonal.
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  31. added 2017-03-02
    Necessary A Posteriori Identity Truths: Fregeanism Beats Direct Reference Theory.Ari Maunu - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (1):73-80.
    I argue that Fregeanism with respect to proper names—the view that modes of presentation are relevant to the contents of proper names—is able to account for the thesis that there are necessarily true a posteriori identity propositions such as the one expressed in “Hesperus is identical with Phosphorus”, whereas the Direct Reference Theory—according to which the semantic function of certain expressions, e.g., proper names, is only to pick out an object —is able to deal with only their necessary truth. Thus, (...)
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  32. added 2017-02-14
    Contingent Religions, Contingent Truths?Peter Jonkers - 2008 - In Dirk-Martin Grube & Peter Jonkers (eds.), Religions Challenged by Contingency: Theological and Philosophical Approaches to the Problem of Contingency. Brill. pp. 12--161.
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  33. added 2017-02-09
    Tichý on Kripke on A Posteriori Necessities.Michaelis Michael - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 92 (1/2):113 - 126.
    In Tichy's influential attack, a number of egregious errors are attributed to Kripke's seminal distinction of epistemic and metaphysical dimensions in meaning. I argue that Tichy's work is based on important misunderstandings. In particular Tichy attributes to Kripke the mistaken view that it is propositions, that is sets of worlds, which are the proper object of the appellation "a priori" and "a posteriori". I show that this is a mistaken attribution. Further, I argue that propositions cannot be uniquely associated with (...)
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  34. added 2017-02-08
    On A Priori Contingency.Douglas Odegard - 1976 - Analysis 36 (4):201 - 203.
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  35. added 2017-02-08
    Necessary and Contingent Truths.Peter G. Winch - 1952 - Analysis 13 (3):52 - 60.
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  36. added 2017-01-30
    Contingent andA Priori Structures in Sequential Analysis.Jeff Coulter - 1983 - Human Studies 6 (1):361-376.
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  37. added 2017-01-28
    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 (...)
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  38. added 2017-01-22
    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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  39. added 2017-01-22
    The Contingent A Priori: A Reply.Timothy Williamson - 1988 - Analysis 48 (4):218 - 221.
    In 'Reference and Contingency', Monist 62 pp. 161-89, Gareth Evans tried to explain how a priori knowledge of contingent truths is possible by arguing that indexical features of the truths in question make them contingent only in a superficial sense. In 'The Contingent A Priori: Has it Anything to do with Indexicals?', ANALYSIS 46.3, June 1986, pp. 113-7, I suggested that his explanation is inadequate, since a priori knowledge is also possible of deeply contingent truths with no relevant indexical features. (...)
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  40. added 2017-01-22
    Williamson and the Contingent A Priori.Graham Oppy - 1987 - Analysis 47 (4):188 - 193.
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  41. added 2017-01-22
    Salmon Versus Kripke on the A Priori.Ralph Kennedy - 1987 - Analysis 47 (3):158 - 161.
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  42. added 2017-01-22
    A Priori Knowledge in Perspective: Naming, Necessity and the Analytic a Posteriori.Stephen Palmquist - 1987 - Review of Metaphysics 41 (2):255 - 282.
    This is the second in a two part series of articles that attempt to clarify the nature and enduring relevance of Kant's concept of a priori knowledge. (For Part I, see below.) In this article I focus mainly on Saul Kripke's critique of Kant, in Naming and Necessity. I argue that Kripke draws attention to a genuine defect in Kant's epistemological framework, but that he used definitions of certain key terms that were quite different from Kant's definitions. When Kripke's definitions (...)
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  43. added 2017-01-22
    Kripke’s Contingent A Priori and Necessary A Posteriori.Peter Nicholls & Dan Passell - 1985 - Philosophy Research Archives 11:481-489.
    We think that Kripke’s arguments that there are contingent a priori truths and that there are necessary a posteriori truths about named and essentially described entities fail. They fail for the reasons that there are ambiguities in each of the three eases. In the first ease, what is known apriori is not what is contingent. In the latter two cases, what is necessary or essential is not what is known a posteriori.
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  44. added 2017-01-22
    On A Priori Contingent Truths.W. R. Carter - 1976 - Analysis 36 (2):105 - 106.
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  45. added 2017-01-22
    Logically Necessary A Posteriori Propositions.Virgil C. Aldrich - 1969 - Analysis 29 (4):140 - 142.
  46. added 2017-01-21
    Comments on a Claim That Some Phenomenological Statements May Be a Posteriori.M. M. Van De Pitte - 1984 - Metaphilosophy 15 (3-4):248-255.
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  47. added 2017-01-19
    Kripke & the Existential Complaint.Greg Ray - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 74 (2):121 - 135.
    Famously, Saul Kripke proposes that there are contingent a priori truths, and has offered a number of examples to illustrate his claim. The most well-known example involves the standard meter bar in Paris. Purportedly, a certain agent knows a priori that the bar is one meter long. However, in response to a long-standing objection to such examples - the "existential complaint" - generally only modified examples having a conditional form are now considered candidates for the contingent a priori. Gareth Evans (...)
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  48. added 2017-01-18
    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 (...)
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  49. added 2017-01-17
    The Vicious Triangle of A Priori Truth, Contingent Truth, and Logical Truth.Isidora Stojanovic - 2009 - In Christian Nimtz, Nikola Kompa & Christian Suhm (eds.), A Priori Justification and Its Role in Philosophy. Berlin: Mentis Verlag. pp. 69-82.
    In this paper, I argue against the view there are contingent a priori truths, and against the related view that there are contingent logical truths. I will suggest that in general, predicates ›a priori‹ and ›contingent‹ are implicitly relativized to circumstances, and argue that apriority entails necessity, whenever the two are relativized to the same circumstance. I will then criticize the idea, inspired by David Kaplan's framework, of contingent contents "knowable under a priori characters." I will also argue, against Kaplan, (...)
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  50. added 2017-01-17
    Are Basic Moral Facts Both Contingent and a Priori?Jonathan Dancy - unknown
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