Naturalism, fallibilism, and the a priori

Philosophical Studies 142 (3):403-426 (2009)
Abstract
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 naturalist’s commitment to scientific methodology in that it allows for apriori-justified claims to be sensitive to further conceptual developments and the expansion of evidence. The fallibilist apriorist allows that an a priori claim is revisable in only a purely epistemic sense. This modal claim is weaker than what is required for a revisability thesis to establish empiricism, so fallibilist apriorism represents a distinct position.
Keywords a priori  defeasibility  epistemic possibility  naturalism  fallibilism  epistemology of logic  epistemic modals
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-007-9194-9
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References found in this work BETA
Word and Object.W. V. Quine - 1960 - MIT Press.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Belief's Own Ethics.J. Adler - 2002 - MIT Press.
In Defense of Pure Reason.Laurence BonJour - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Hegel's Idealism.Robert Stern - 2008 - In Frederick C. Beiser (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Hegel and Nineteenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 137--74.
Peirce and the A Priori.Aaron Bruce Wilson - 2015 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 51 (2):201-224.

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2009-01-28

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