A Priori Justification and Experience

Dissertation, Florida State University (2009)

Authors
Jamie Watson
Young Harris College
Abstract
This dissertation is about a priori justification and its relationship to experiential evidence. I begin with the assumption that a priori justification is justification that is independent of experience. It has been argued that putative examples of a priori justification are implausible because they are not, in any significant sense, independent of experience. My two central claims are that (a) a subject is plausibly justified a priori in believing a proposition only if the belief is not revisable on empirical grounds, which I will call the empirical unrevisability thesis; and (b) moderate rationalists can resist four empirical challenges considered by many to be decisive against the empirical unrevisability thesis. I begin by developing an account of experiential evidence that is neutral between rationalists and empiricists in order to make clear the distinction between a priori and a posteriori justification. I then argue that a moderate rationalist account of a priori justification is plausible only if the beliefs justified a priori are empirically unrevisable in a qualified sense. I then argue that four classical objections that putative cases of a priori justification are not independent of experience fail, namely, that they are revisable by some instances of contrary testimony, by mistakes in long proofs and memory, that a paradigm example of a priori knowledge was overturned by new evidence in physics, and that psychological data undermines the reliability of sources of a priori justification. I conclude that there is only one potentially threatening case, derived from neurological malfunction, and I leave the solution to this case to future research.
Keywords a priori  justification  experience  epistemology  moderate rationalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,109
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

An Analysis of the a Priori and a Posteriori.Jeremy Fantl - 2003 - Acta Analytica 18 (1-2):43-69.
Apriority, Reason, and Induction in Hume.Houston Smit - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (3):313-343.
A Priori Knowledge, Experience and Defeasibility.Hamid Vahid - 1999 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 7 (2):173 – 188.
Self-Evidence.Carl Ginet - 2010 - Logos and Episteme 1 (2):325-352.
A Priori and a Posteriori.Jason S. Baehr - 2003 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Experientially Defeasible a Priori Justification.Joshua Thurow - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (225):596–602.
Naturalism, Fallibilism, and the a Priori.Lisa Warenski - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):403-426.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-06-29

Total views
5 ( #965,512 of 2,237,115 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #1,004,527 of 2,237,115 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature