For much of the past two millennia philosophers have embraced a priori knowledge and have thought that the a priori plays an important role in philosophy itself. Philosophers from Plato to Descartes, Kant to Kripke, all endorse the a priori and engage in a priori reasoning in their philosophical discussions. Recent work in epistemology and experimental philosophy, however, has raised questions about both the existence of a priori knowledge and the centrality of the a priori for philosophy. This collection of essays aims to advance the discussion of the a priori and its role in philosophy by addressing four issues. The first is whether intuitions provide evidence for philosophical propositions, whether that evidence is a priori, and whether the results of experimental philosophy affect the evidential and a priori status of intuitions. The second is whether there are explanations of the a priori and what range of propositions can be justified and known a priori. The third is whether a priori justified beliefs are needed in order to avoid some skeptical worries. The fourth is whether certain recent challenges to the existence or significance of the a priori are successful.
The contributors include a mix of young and established philosophers, including some of the most prominent voices in philosophy today.
Joshua C. Thurow (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He previously taught at Mount Marty College (South Dakota) and has published essays on the a priori and other issues in epistemology in various journals and edited volumes.
Introduction ; SECTION I: INTUITIONS, EXPERIMENTAL PHILOSOPHY, AND THE A PRIORI ; 1. Philosophical Naturalism and Intuitional Methodology ; 2. Experimental Philosophy and Apriority ; 3. The Implicit Conception and Intuition Theory of the a Priori, with Implications for Experimental Philosophy ; 4. The Prospects for an Experimentalist Rationalism, or Why It's Ok if the A Priori Is Only 99.44 Percent Empirically Pure ; SECTION II: THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF THE A PRIORI ; 5. On the Armchair Justification of Conceptually Grounded Necessary Truths ; 6. Concepts, Teleology, and Rational Revision ; 7. A Priori Testimony Revisited ; 8. Intuitions and Foundations: The Relevance of Moore and Wittgenstein ; SECTION III: SKEPTICISM AND THE A PRIORI ; 9. Skepticism, Reason and Reidianism ; 10. A Priori Bootstrapping ; SECTION IV: CHALLENGES TO THE A PRIORI ; 11. Articulating the A Priori - A Posteriori Distinction ; 12. Naturalistic Challenges to the A Priori ; 13. How Deep is the Distinction between A Priori and A Posteriori Knowledge?
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