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

Danny Frederick danny.frederick at tiscali.co.uk
Sun Mar 22 07:41:18 EDT 2009


Hi Steve,

An inter-subjectively testable singular existential is a statement of the
form

(Ex)(Fx & Gx & Ix)

where 'F' and 'G' are observable predicates, and 'I' specifies a particular
region of space-time (and is true of x if and only if x is in that region).
'Observable' is to be taken in an everyday sense and is related to what
people can generally agree upon; thus it is largely pragmatic. All of this
comes from Popper's 'Logic of Scientific Discovery,' particularly Chapter V.
No attempt is made to relate 'observable' to features of sensory experiences
(which are not observable in the required sense, being private).

When you say that awareness entails intuition and intuition puts it in the
Sensibility not the Understanding, you are merely reaffirming the Kantian
proposition that I am denying. I can put the point this way: I am
rehabilitating the notion of intellectual intuition - but only as a fallible
intuition. This seems to me unavoidable. How else are we to know logical
axioms or rules of inference? Surely not by sensory intuition. (And not by
convention, as Quine showed.)

I do not know what the objects of sensory experiences are. And nor does
anyone else. We ordinarily take them to be physical objects in space and
time; but we may be deluded.

I cannot offer a definition of 'sensory.' But I can explain that it covers
our senses of sight, touch, smell, etc. I need not put a limit on it: there
may be sensory experiences that do not belong in the usual categories. Who
knows?

Whether sensation figures in perception seems to me terminological. I would
want to distinguish sensations like pain from perceptions (which have
intentional content).

As I have explained before, I can know that I think, and I can know it
independently of knowing the truth or falsity of any inter-subjectively
testable singular existential. Hence I can know it a priori.

Similarly, I can know that I am trying to do something (or 'willing') , and
I can know it independently of knowing the truth or falsity of any
inter-subjectively testable singular existential. Hence I can know it a
priori.

These two examples of a priori knowledge are contingent. But neither figures
in what we normally regard as knowledge, which is mostly the universal
theories of the sciences or the particular but publicly observable facts of
geography or history. (The facts of history are, of course, no longer
observable; but they once were and lots of the evidence for them still is.)
Thus contingent a priori knowledge is peripheral, but its existence is not
to be denied.

Cheers.

Danny




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