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New Essays on the A Priori

Oxford University Press (2000)

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  1. Intuitions for Inferences.Sinan Dogramaci - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):371-399.
    In this paper, I explore a question about deductive reasoning: why am I in a position to immediately infer some deductive consequences of what I know, but not others? I show why the question cannot be answered in the most natural ways of answering it, in particular in Descartes’s way of answering it. I then go on to introduce a new approach to answering the question, an approach inspired by Hume’s view of inductive reasoning.
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  • Epistemically Self-Defeating Arguments and Skepticism About Intuition.Paul Silva - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (3):579-589.
    An argument is epistemically self-defeating when either the truth of an argument’s conclusion or belief in an argument’s conclusion defeats one’s justification to believe at least one of that argument’s premises. Some extant defenses of the evidentiary value of intuition have invoked considerations of epistemic self-defeat in their defense. I argue that there is one kind of argument against intuition, an unreliability argument, which, even if epistemically self-defeating, can still imply that we are not justified in thinking intuition has evidentiary (...)
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  • Grounding Concepts: The Problem of Composition.Gábor Forrai - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (4):721-731.
    In a recent book C.S. Jenkins proposes a theory of arithmetical knowledge which reconciles realism about arithmetic with the a priori character of our knowledge of it. Her basic idea is that arithmetical concepts are grounded in experience and it is through experience that they are connected to reality. I argue that the account fails because Jenkins’s central concept, the concept for grounding, is inadequate. Grounding as she defines it does not suffice for realism, and by revising the definition we (...)
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  • Logical Knowledge and Ordinary Reasoning.Corine Besson - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (1):59-82.
    This paper argues that the prominent accounts of logical knowledge have the consequence that they conflict with ordinary reasoning. On these accounts knowing a logical principle, for instance, is having a disposition to infer according to it. These accounts in particular conflict with so-called ‘reasoned change in view’, where someone does not infer according to a logical principle but revise their views instead. The paper also outlines a propositional account of logical knowledge which does not conflict with ordinary reasoning.
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  • A Priori Knowledge: Debates and Developments.C. S. Jenkins - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (3):436–450.
    forthcoming in Philosophy Compass. This is a paper which aims both to survey the field and do some work at its cutting edge.
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  • Analytic Philosophy and History: A Mismatch?Hans-Johann Glock - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):867-897.
    In recent years, even some of its own practitioners have accused analytic philosophy of lacking historical awareness. My aim is to show that analytic philosophy and history are not such a mismatch after all. Against the objection that analytic philosophers have unduly ignored the past I argue that for the most part they only resist strong versions of historicism, and for good reasons. The history of philosophy is not the whole of philosophy, as extreme historicists maintain, nor is it indispensable (...)
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  • Can Concepts Ground Apriori Knowledge? Peacocke’s Referential Turn and its Challenges.Nenad Miščević - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (3):233-256.
    The paper is a critical examination of Peacocke’s pioneering work on concepts as grounding the possibility of a priori knowledge. It focuses upon his more recent turn to reference and referential domain, and the two enlargements of the purely conceptual bases for apriority, namely appeal to conceptions and to direct referential sensitivity. I argue that the two are needed, but they produce more problem for the strategy as a whole than they solve. I conclude by suggesting that they point to (...)
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  • Thought-Experiment Intuitions and Truth in Fiction.Jonathan Ichikawa & Benjamin Jarvis - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (2):221 - 246.
    What sorts of things are the intuitions generated via thought experiment? Timothy Williamson has responded to naturalistic skeptics by arguing that thought-experiment intuitions are judgments of ordinary counterfactuals. On this view, the intuition is naturalistically innocuous, but it has a contingent content and could be known at best a posteriori. We suggest an alternative to Williamson's account, according to which we apprehend thought-experiment intuitions through our grasp on truth in fiction. On our view, intuitions like the Gettier intuition are necessarily (...)
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  • A Priori and A Posteriori: A Bootstrapping Relationship.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (2):151-164.
    The distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge has been the subject of an enormous amount of discussion, but the literature is biased against recognizing the intimate relationship between these forms of knowledge. For instance, it seems to be almost impossible to find a sample of pure a priori or a posteriori knowledge. In this paper, it will be suggested that distinguishing between a priori and a posteriori is more problematic than is often suggested, and that a priori and (...)
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  • Concept Cartesianism, Concept Pragmatism, and Frege Cases.Bradley Rives - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (2):211-238.
    This paper concerns the dialectal role of Frege Cases in the debate between Concept Cartesians and Concept Pragmatists. I take as a starting point Christopher Peacocke’s argument that, unlike Cartesianism, his ‘Fregean’ Pragmatism can account for facts about the rationality and epistemic status of certain judgments. I argue that since this argument presupposes that the rationality of thoughts turn on their content, it is thus question-begging against Cartesians, who claim that issues about rationality turn on the form, not the content, (...)
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  • Intuitions, Meaning, and Normativity: Why Intuition Theory Supports a Non‐Descriptivist Metaethic.Matthew S. Bedke - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (1):144-177.
    Non-descriptivists in metaethics should say more about intuitions. For one popular theory has it that case-based intuitions are in the business of correctly categorizing or classifying merely by bringing to bear a semantic or conceptual competence. If so, then the fact that all normative predicates have case-based intuitions involving them shows that they too are in the business of categorizing or classifying things. This favors a descriptivist position in metaethics—normative predicates have descriptive content—and disfavors a purely non-descriptivist position, like pure (...)
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  • Small Steps and Great Leaps in Thought: The Epistemology of Basic Deductive Rules.Joshua Schechter - 2019 - In Magdalena Balcerak Jackson & Brendan Balcerak Jackson (eds.), Reasoning: New Essays on Theoretical and Practical Thinking. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    We are justified in employing the rule of inference Modus Ponens (or one much like it) as basic in our reasoning. By contrast, we are not justified in employing a rule of inference that permits inferring to some difficult mathematical theorem from the relevant axioms in a single step. Such an inferential step is intuitively “too large” to count as justified. What accounts for this difference? In this paper, I canvass several possible explanations. I argue that the most promising approach (...)
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  • Is Intuition Based On Understanding?[I Thank Jo].Elijah Chudnoff - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):42-67.
    According to the most popular non-skeptical views about intuition, intuitions justify beliefs because they are based on understanding. More precisely: if intuiting that p justifies you in believing that p it does so because your intuition is based on your understanding of the proposition that p. The aim of this paper is to raise some challenges for accounts of intuitive justification along these lines. I pursue this project from a non-skeptical perspective. I argue that there are cases in which intuiting (...)
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  • Naturalism, Fallibilism, and the a Priori.Lisa Warenski - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):403-426.
    This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori ; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the (...)
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  • Logic and Natural Selection.Jaroslav Peregrin - 2010 - Logica Universalis 4 (2):207-223.
    Is logic, feasibly, a product of natural selection? In this paper we treat this question as dependent upon the prior question of where logic is founded. After excluding other possibilities, we conclude that logic resides in our language, in the shape of inferential rules governing the logical vocabulary of the language. This means that knowledge of (the laws of) logic is inseparable from the possession of the logical constants they govern. In this sense, logic may be seen as a product (...)
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  • Ideal Rationality and Logical Omniscience.Declan Smithies - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2769-2793.
    Does rationality require logical omniscience? Our best formal theories of rationality imply that it does, but our ordinary evaluations of rationality seem to suggest otherwise. This paper aims to resolve the tension by arguing that our ordinary evaluations of rationality are not only consistent with the thesis that rationality requires logical omniscience, but also provide a compelling rationale for accepting this thesis in the first place. This paper also defends an account of apriori justification for logical beliefs that is designed (...)
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  • Success by Default?Augustín Rayo - 2003 - Philosophia Mathematica 11 (3):305-322.
    I argue that Neo-Fregean accounts of arithmetical language and arithmetical knowledge tacitly rely on a thesis I call [Success by Default]—the thesis that, in the absence of reasons to the contrary, we are justified in thinking that certain stipulations are successful. Since Neo-Fregeans have yet to supply an adequate defense of [Success by Default], I conclude that there is an important gap in Neo-Fregean accounts of arithmetical language and knowledge. I end the paper by offering a naturalistic remedy.
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  • Weaseling and the Content of Science.David Liggins - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):997-1005.
    I defend Joseph Melia’s nominalist account of mathematics from an objection raised by Mark Colyvan.
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  • Truth in Virtue of Meaning.Arthur Sullivan - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (3):373-397.
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  • On Knowing Our Own Minds.Michael McKinsey - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206):107-116.
    This is an anthology of ?fteen papers concerning various philosophical problems related to the topic of self-knowledge. All but one of the papers were previously unpublished, and all but two are descendants of presentations at a conference on self-knowledge held at the University of St Andrews in 1995. The collection.
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  • Boghossian and Casalegno on Understanding and Inference.Timothy Williamson - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (2):237-247.
    In response to Paul Boghossian's objections in ‘Inferentialism and the epistemology of logic’, this paper defends counterexamples offered by Paolo Casalegno and the author to an inferentialist account of what it is to understand a logical constant, on which Boghossian had relied in his explanation of our entitlement to reason according to basic logical principles. The importance for understanding is stressed of non-inferential aspects of the use of logical constants. Boghossian's criteria for individuating concepts are also queried.
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  • Concepts, Experience and Modal Knowledge1.C. S. Jenkins - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):255-279.
    forthcoming in R. Cameron, B. Hale and A. Hoffmann (ed.s), The Logic, Epistemology and Metaphysics of Modality, Oxford University Press. Presents a concept-grounding account of modal knowledge.
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  • An Inquiry Into the Definition of Tarka in Nyāya Tradition and its Connotation of Negative Speculation.Sung Yong Kang - 2010 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 38 (1):1-23.
    The technical term “ tarka ” in the Nyāya tradition is the object of the present investigation. Diverse texts including Buddhist ones exhibit a negative estimation of activities using tarka . In contrast, more often than not, later treatises dealing with logico-epistemic problems, especially certain Naiyāyika works, identify the methodological peculiarity of Nyāya with tarka . Such an ambivalent attitude toward tarka can be understood in a coherent way if the essential features of tarka that gave rise to it can (...)
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  • An Implicit Definition of Existence.José Tomás Alvarado - 2015 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 19 (1):93-119.
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  • Disagreement and the First‐Person Perspective.Gurpreet Rattan - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (1):31-53.
    Recently, philosophers have put forth views in the epistemology of disagreement that emphasize the epistemic relevance of the first-person perspective in disa- greement. In the first part of the paper, I attempt a rational reconstruction of these views. I construe these views as invoking the first-person perspective to explain why it is rational for parties to a disagreement to privilege their own opinions in the absence of independent explanations for doing so—to privilege without independent explanations. I reconstruct three ways privilege (...)
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  • Meaning and Justification: The Case of Modus Ponens.Joshua Schechter & David Enoch - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):687 - 715.
    In virtue of what are we justified in employing the rule of inference Modus Ponens? One tempting approach to answering this question is to claim that we are justified in employing Modus Ponens purely in virtue of facts concerning meaning or concept-possession. In this paper, we argue that such meaning-based accounts cannot be accepted as the fundamental account of our justification.
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  • Animalidade Transcendental: O Problema da Naturalização Do a Priori Em Konrad Lorenz.Lorenzo Baravalle - 2014 - Scientiae Studia 12 (2):285-308.
    Um dos aspectos característicos da fundamentação epistemológica da etologia de Konrad Lorenz é a tentativa de síntese entre a teoria darwiniana e a gnosiologia kantiana. A partir dessa premissa, delinearemos, antes de tudo, uma breve história da tradição transcendentalista, focalizando a atenção em alguns elementos que seus críticos consideraram insustentáveis. Em segundo lugar, analisaremos a tentativa de Lorenz de implantar a estrutura transcendental em suas pesquisas etológicas, com uma consequente naturalização do conceito de "a priori". Em terceiro lugar, veremos como (...)
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  • Mente, mundo e autoconhecimento: uma apresentação do externalismo.Waldomiro José da Silva Filho - 2007 - Trans/Form/Ação 30 (1):151-168.
    Este texto faz considerações introdutórias sobre o argumento externalista no contexto do debate filosófico atual. Não é um resumo, um retrato fiel ou uma história do externalismo, mas uma apresentação a partir de um certo ângulo, traçando um cenário precário onde o problema da subjetividade (e os temas a ela associados, como conhecimento e racionalidade) remete à pergunta sobre qual a relação entre a mente e seus conteúdos e o mundo físico-social-lingüístico circundante.
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  • Naturalized Epistemology, Normativity and the Argument Against the A Priori.Mark McEvoy - 2002 - Essays in Philosophy 3 (2):6.
  • How is Moral Disagreement a Problem for Realism?David Enoch - 2009 - Journal of Ethics 13 (1):15-50.
    Moral disagreement is widely held to pose a threat for metaethical realism and objectivity. In this paper I attempt to understand how it is that moral disagreement is supposed to present a problem for metaethical realism. I do this by going through several distinct (though often related) arguments from disagreement, carefully distinguishing between them, and critically evaluating their merits. My conclusions are rather skeptical: Some of the arguments I discuss fail rather clearly. Others supply with a challenge to realism, but (...)
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  • Implicit Definition and the Application of Logic.Thomas Kroedel - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (1):131-148.
    The paper argues that the theory of Implicit Definition cannot give an account of knowledge of logical principles. According to this theory, the meanings of certain expressions are determined such that they make certain principles containing them true; this is supposed to explain our knowledge of the principles as derived from our knowledge of what the expressions mean. The paper argues that this explanation succeeds only if Implicit Definition can account for our understanding of the logical constants, and that fully (...)
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  • Rule-Following Without Reasons: Wittgenstein's Quietism and the Constitutive Question.Crispin Wright - 2007 - Ratio 20 (4):481–502.
    This is a short, and therefore necessarily very incomplete discussion of one of the great questions of modern philosophy. I return to a station at which an interpretative train of thought of mine came to a halt in a paper written almost 20 years ago, about Wittgenstein and Chomsky,[1] hoping to advance a little bit further down the track. The rule-following passages in the Investigations and Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics in fact raise a number of distinct issues about (...)
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  • Knowledge of Validity.Sinan Dogramaci - 2010 - Noûs 44 (3):403-432.
    What accounts for how we know that certain rules of reasoning, such as reasoning by Modus Ponens, are valid? If our knowledge of validity must be based on some reasoning, then we seem to be committed to the legitimacy of rule-circular arguments for validity. This paper raises a new difficulty for the rule-circular account of our knowledge of validity. The source of the problem is that, contrary to traditional wisdom, a universal generalization cannot be inferred just on the basis of (...)
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  • Concepts and Perceptual Belief: How (Not) to Defend Recognitional Concepts.Bradley Rives - 2010 - Acta Analytica 25 (4):369-391.
    Recognitional concepts have the following characteristic property: thinkers are disposed to apply them to objects merely on the basis of undergoing certain perceptual experiences. I argue that a prominent strategy for defending the existence of constitutive connections among concepts, which appeals to thinkers’ semantic-cum-conceptual intuitions, cannot be used to defend the existence of recognitional concepts. I then outline and defend an alternative argument for the existence of recognitional concepts, which appeals to certain psychological laws.
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  • Does The Necessity of Mathematical Truths Imply Their Apriority?Mark McEvoy - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):431-445.
    It is sometimes argued that mathematical knowledge must be a priori, since mathematical truths are necessary, and experience tells us only what is true, not what must be true. This argument can be undermined either by showing that experience can yield knowledge of the necessity of some truths, or by arguing that mathematical theorems are contingent. Recent work by Albert Casullo and Timothy Williamson argues (or can be used to argue) the first of these lines; W. V. Quine and Hartry (...)
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  • Statements of Inference and Begging the Question.Matthew McKeon - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6):1919-1943.
    I advance a pragmatic account of begging the question according to which a use of an argument begs the question just in case it is used as a statement of inference and it fails to state an inference the arguer or an addressee can perform given what they explicitly believe. Accordingly, what begs questions are uses of arguments as statements of inference, and the root cause of begging the question is an argument’s failure to state an inference performable by the (...)
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  • Negation, Anti-Realism, and the Denial Defence.Imogen Dickie - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (2):161 - 185.
    Here is one argument against realism. (1) Realists are committed to the classical rules for negation. But (2) legitimate rules of inference must conserve evidence. And (3) the classical rules for negation do not conserve evidence. So (4) realism is wrong. Most realists reject 2. But it has recently been argued that if we allow denied sentences as premisses and conclusions in inferences we will be able to reject 3. And this new argument against 3 generates a new response to (...)
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  • Truth, Revenge, and Internalizability.Kevin Scharp - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S3):597-645.
    Although there has been a recent swell of interest in theories of truth that attempt solutions to the liar paradox and the other paradoxes affecting our concept of truth, many of these theories have been criticized for generating new paradoxes, called revenge paradoxes. The criticism is that the theories of truth in question are inadequate because they only work for languages lacking in the resources to generate revenge paradoxes. Theorists facing these objections offer a range of replies, and the matter (...)
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