Res Philosophica 97 (4):571-591 (2020)

Authors
Landon D. C. Elkind
University of Alberta
Abstract
Some philosophers, like Kripke, Williamson, Hawthorne, and Turri, have offered examples of claims that are allegedly contingent and a priori justifiable. If any of these examples is genuine, this would upend the traditional epistemological classification on which (a) all and only a priori justifiable claims are necessary and (b) all and only a posteriori ones are contingent. I argue here that these examples are not genuine. This conclusion is not new, but the strategy pursued here is to formalize these muchdiscussed examples in symbolic logics. Once formalized, a perspicuous representation of their logical form will bring into sharp relief that these examples are not both contingent and a priori. Two takeaways are (1) that the traditional epistemological classification remains plausible and (2) that one’s proposed examples of contingent a priori claims should be supported by a formalization in one’s preferred background symbolic logic.
Keywords contingent a priori  a priori  modal knowledge  formalization  epistemology
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DOI 10.11612/resphil.1950
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References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1981 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Counterpart Theory and Quantified Modal Logic.David K. Lewis - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (5):113-126.
Reference and Contingency.Gareth Evans - 1979 - The Monist 62 (2):161-189.
The Contingent a Priori and Rigid Designators.Keith S. Donnellan - 1977 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2 (1):12-27.

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