[hist-analytic] Frrom AUNE: Analytic and A Priori

Danny Frederick danny.frederick at tiscali.co.uk
Sat Mar 21 10:34:40 EDT 2009


Hi Steve,

 

Thanks for putting the word 'radical' in quotation marks.

 

I think I have already answered some of your objections in my last reply to
Bruce, here:

 

http://rbjones.com/pipermail/hist-analytic_rbjones.com/2009q1/000213.html

 

That is: I defined a priori knowledge as what can be known independently of
the truth or falsity of inter-subjectively testable singular existential
statements.

 

But I offered no procedure for deciding whether or not a proposition was
knowable a priori. There is not even a decision procedure for all the
analytic truths of first-order predicate logic, so we should not expect
decisions procedures elsewhere. The fact that there is no general decision
procedure for truth or falsity does not make that distinction 'a mere
formality.'

 

Yes, I recall Hintikka's paper on the cogito. I read it as an undergraduate.
In fact, I think it was that which led me to identify 'I think' as a
contingent a priori truth (whether or not Hintikka does the same I cannot
remember).

 

Obviously, knowing THAT I am thinking involves awareness, but it does not
involve sensory awareness, just as knowing THAT I am willing something
involves awareness but not sensory awareness. Kant confuses the whole issue,
it seems to me, because of his doctrine that time is the form of inner
sense, which seems to make all temporal awareness sensory. I can't remember
what Geach said, but I probably read it (in fact, I might even have it on my
shelf somewhere).

 

I agree that we have sensory experience. But I deny that the basic
statements against which empirical theories are tested are reports of
sensory experiences. Rather they are the reports of inter-subjectively
observable events; reports which are accepted or rejected on the basis of
sensory experiences, but which are in no way justified or entailed by
sensory experiences.

 

Cheers.

 

Danny

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