KANT'S A PRIORI
According to Kant, what knowledge is analytic a priori?
According to Kant, what knowledge is synthetic a priori?
(1) All bodies are extended.
(2) All bodies have weight.
(3) Gold is a yellow metal.
(4) 7 +5 = 12.
(5) A straight line is the shortest path between two points.
(6) All substance is permanent (compare: Law of Conservation of Matter or Law of Conservation of Energy).
(7) F = ma.
(8) Every effect has a cause.
(9) Every event has a cause.
(10) Principle of Sufficient Reason
(11) Pure mathematics (includes Euclidean geometry)
Pure physics (includes
(13) Law of Excluded Middle
(14) Law of Non-Contradiction
Kant's Formula for the Synthetic A Priori: Propositions that must be confirmed by all possible experience. No experience could disconfirm them.
Recalcitrant data from the history of science:
Replacement of Newtonian physics and Euclidean geometry by Relativity Theory (with a non-Euclidean geometry) and quantum mechanics (with probabilistic rather than strictly causal relations).
QUINE'S ARGUMENTS AGAINST ANALYTICITY
(1) What are the two dogmas?
(2) Why does Quine think that they are at root the same?
(3) Why does Quine think that there are no statements that are confirmed no matter what?
Holistic confirmation and disconfirmation
(1) No unmarried man is married.
(2) No bachelor is married.
Tests: Interchangeability salva veritate.
Correct the text (395):
(3) All and only bachelors are unmarried men
(4) Necessarily all and only bachelors are bachelors.
(5) Necessarily all and only bachelors are unmarried men.
The "closed curve in space"(395): analytic, a priori, necessary, true by definition or in virtue of meaning.
Are there any exceptions? What about the Pope?
Example of "creature with a heart" and "creature with kidneys"
Is "Everything that is green is extended" analytic?
BONJOUR'S DEFENSE OF A PRIORI JUSTIFICATION
I. Two Roles for A Priori Insight
1. Source of premises
2. Validate steps of reasoning.
Examples of propositions justified a priori according to BonJour:
1. All bachelors are unmarried.
2. Nothing can be red and green all over at the same time.
3. Nothing can be red and blue all over at the same time.
4. If A is taller than B and B is taller than C, then A is taller than C. (Transitivity of "taller than")
5. There are no round squares.
6. 2 + 3 = 5 (Compare 2+2 = 4 with 25 – 5 = 33).
7. A cube has 12 edges.
8. Logical example: Inference that David ate the last piece of cake (105).
9. Law of Non-Contradiction
10. Philosophy is a priori (106).
Example of reasoning justified a priori according to BonJour:
Either David ate the last piece of cake or else Jennifer ate it.
Jennifer did not eat the last piece of cake (perhaps because she was at work for the entire time in question).
Conclusion: David ate the last piece of cake.
II. Skepticism about All A Priori Justification = Intellectual Suicide
Why does BonJour believe this?
III. Skepticism about Synthetic A Priori Justification
What is BonJour's Reply?
BonJour's "Companions in Guilt" Defense of Synthetic A Priori Justification
The Inadequacy of Accounts of Analyticity
(a) Conditional Accounts
(i) Kantian and Fregean
(ii) also Kant's alternative formulation
(b) No Epistemological Insight
(ii) Salmon: "empty of factual content"
(iii) true by virtue of meaning
(c) Too Obscure or Too Implausible
(i) true by convention
(ii) implicit definitions
IV. BonJour's Moderate Rationalism
1. Intuitive apprehension of necessary truth (rational insight or rational intuition)
2. Fallibility (apparent rational insight or apparent self-evidence)
3. An Externalist Requirement: the condition of cognitive sanity and putative rational insights.
The Fallibility Problem for Epistemology and for Philosophy Generally
What Do BonJour and Quine Agree On?
(1) No important difference between analytic a priori and synthetic a priori.
(2) If there is a priori justification, it is not infallible.
Is there a priori justification?
V. Issues Raised by BonJour's Account:
1. What is the difference between a putative, an apparent, and a genuine rational insight?
[Why is BonJour an externalist about both apparent and genuine a priori insight?]
2. How can a mistaken rational insight be corrected?
[Are all mistakes internally correctable?]
3. Does reasoning require direct rational insight?
[What is the content of the insight?]
4. Can any substantive position in philosophy be justified purely a priori—that is, by direct rational insight of premises and deductive reasoning from such premises?
[Isn't it relevant whether other people agree or disagree?]
Could human reasoning not be based on a priori insight into valid principles of inference?
I. The evidence that people do not reason in accordance with valid principles:
1. Wason Selection Task: Deductively invalid reasoning.
2. Inconsistencies in probabilistic reasoning.
3. Belief perseverance and debriefing.
Conditional: If there is a vowel on one side, there is an even number on the other.
a b c d
Conditional: If a patron is drinking beer, s/he is 21 of older.
a b c d
"If p then q" is equivalent to "‑(p&-q)"
Test for this: -(Beer & under 21)
In the first example, the test would be:
-(Vowel & odd number). Why don't people see this?
5. Assume that the probability of a woman giving birth to a boy is the same as the probability of a woman giving birth to a girl (1/2 in both cases). In families with two children of which at least one is a girl, what is the probability that the other child is also a girl?
In families with two children, what is the probability that the first child is a girl? a boy?
In families with two children, what is the probability that the second child is a girl? a boy?
GG: prob = 1/4
G These three
GB: prob = 1/4 outcomes are
BG: prob = 1/4
BB: prob = 1/4
More evidence: False Proofs of Fermat's Last Theorem:
“In 1908, the Wolfskehl
Prize of one hundred thousand marks was offered in
II. Who sets the standards for Stich? Experts.
III. How reliable are the experts? The Monty Hall Problem.
IV. Could good reasoning be a combination of useful heuristics that has been selected for by biological and cultural evolution rather than something that requires insight into necessary truths? What is the status of deductive logic on this account?
V. How would BonJour reply?