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The A Priori in Philosophy$
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Albert Casullo and Joshua C. Thurow

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695331

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695331.001.0001

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Articulating the A Priori–A Posteriori Distinction 1

Articulating the A Priori–A Posteriori Distinction 1

(p.248) (p.249) 11 Articulating the A Priori–A Posteriori Distinction1
The A Priori in Philosophy

Albert Casullo

Oxford University Press

The distinction between a priori knowledge and a posteriori knowledge has come under attack in the recent literature by Philip Kitcher, John Hawthorne, C. S. Jenkins, and Timothy Williamson. Evaluating the attacks requires answering two questions. First, have they hit their target? Second, are they compelling? My goal is to show that the attacks fail because they miss their target. They miss their target because they fail to correctly articulate the distinction that they attack. I begin by identifying three factors that obscure the concept of a priori knowledge and maintain that the failure to take these factors into account leads to three common errors in attempts to articulate that concept. I go on to argue that the attacks of Kitcher, Hawthorne, Jenkins, and Williamson turn on these errors or variants of them.

Keywords:   a priori, a posteriori, distinction, knowledge, concept

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