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Paper   IPM / M / 189
School of Mathematics
  Title:   A priori knowledge, experience and defeasibility
  Author(s):  H. Vahid
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Int. J. Philos. Stud.
  No.:  2
  Vol.:  7
  Year:  1999
  Pages:   173-188
  Supported by:  IPM
Some recent discussions of a priori knowledge, taking their departure from Kant's characterization of such knowledge as being absolutely independent of experience, have concluded that while one might delineate a concept of a priori knowledge, it fails to have any application as any purported case of such knowledge can be undermined by suitably recalcitrant experiences. In response, certain defenders of apriority have claimed that a priori justification only requires that a belief be positively dependent on no experience. In this paper, I begin by showing how the exchange of arguments between the disputants comes down, in the end, to no more than a display of conflicting intuitions. I shall then provide a diagnosis explaining how our explication of a priori justification depends on our standards for applying the term 'a priori' with this, in turn, reflecting our prior intentions as to whether we are willing to allow the existence of such warrants. I shall further argue that the claim that such knowledge can be affected by subversive experience is not entirely compatible with the spirit of apriority. Finally I conclude by making some methodological remarks about the prospects of a positive characterization of a priori knowledge by comparing it to the concept of knowledge.

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