Empirical Concepts and A Priori Truth

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):289-315 (2005)
Merely conceptual knowledge, not based on specific sensitivity to the referential domain, is not seriously a priori. It is argued here that it is either weakly and superficially a priori, or downright a posteriori. This is done starting from the fact that many of our definitions (or concepts) are recognizably empirically established, and pointing out that recognizably empirical grounding yields superficial apriority. Further, some (first-order) concept analyzing propositions are empirically false about their referents and thus empirically refutable. Therefore, our empirical definitions (or concepts) are fallible and empirically revisable: they can turn out to be incorrect about the intended satisfiers of the concept defined, and their concept analyzing propositions to be false. Now, empirical revisability is incompatible with strong apriority (and entails at best a weak apriority or aposteriority). The result is quite shocking: analyticity does not entail apriority
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DOI croatjphil20055228
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