[hist-analytic] The "Analytic A Posteriori"

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Wed Sep 2 08:55:00 EDT 2009

No Bruce, I'm not "confused." I think you have failed to follow the argument, carefully. I deliberately avoided need to talk of rigid designators, whence the Barcan formula. My point concerned the statement 'Nec(a=b)' and its epistemic status regardless of whether the identity sign is flanked by rigid designators. Even if the designators are not rigid 'Nec(a=b)' follows from first order logic by substitution of predicates. Rigidity is not a requirment. 

Again, I may know 'a=b' by experience, but I do NOT know 'Nec(a=b)' by experience. So how DO I know? You said it yourself "then the only way 'N(a=b)' can be known is by inference from 'a=b'." Note: "by inference." Bruce, inference is not experience! 'N(a=b)' is not an empirical statement; 'a=b' IS an empirical statement. 'Tom is tall' is an empirical statement; 'Tom is tall or Tom is not Tall' is not an emprical statement, even though I may infer it from 'Tom is tall'. 

There is a tendency to say "well I know p, say, by experience; logic adds nothing, so 'Np" must be known by experience." But that is precisely what I am challenging I don't believe it. Give me an argument and I'd be very happy to see it before I commit to print; but repeating the ideas I'm challlenging is not an argument. 

Knowing that p is necessary is not to *know* merely that p. Two very different things. But I'm open to considering any argument that knowledge by inference is knowledge by experience. 




----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bruce Aune" <aune at philos.umass.edu> 
To: Baynesr at comcast.net 
Cc: "hist-analytic" <hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk> 
Sent: Wednesday, September 2, 2009 8:06:01 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: Re: The "Analytic A Posteriori" 

Your seem a little confused on this, Steve.  If 'a' and 'b' are   
different terms understood rigidly--that is, if, unlike a typical use   
of 'the inventor of bifocals', they refer to the same individuals in   
all contexts of reference--then then only way 'N(a = b)' can be known   
to be true is by inference from 'a = b', which, in the case of things   
in the physical world, is an empirical statement.  'N(a = b)'  is   
therefore a clear case of something that, if known at all, is known a   
posteriori.  The other cases you mention are knowable a priori even   
though they could equally be known by inference from an empirical   

I won't be replying to Danny Frederick's latest comments on my chapter   
in the near future.  At the moment I am busy doing some work on my   
house, and I don't have time to get involved with another encounter   
with Danny.  I count six messages from Danny, at least four  of which   
were concerned with one issue that should not have provoked a response   
at all.  I mean the issue about my claim that two things have the same   
specific (non generic color) just when their specific colors [their   
actual colors] are indiscernible.  Danny couldn't seem to grasp what I   
was saying, because he continued to offer irrelevant "counterexamples"   
in which objects of the same specific colors are made to look   
different because of being seen in different circumstances.  If you   
got some paint chips at a paint store to ascertain the color of your   
kitchen wall, you would not learn that the wall does not have the   
color of one chip if the colors of the two things looked different   
when viewed under different light, nor would you learn that a chip and   
the wall were of the same color if, viewed in poor light, the colors   
of the two things looked the same.  This "issue" didn't require   
discussion at all, I would say.  Danny's latest comments cover a   
number of different points, some of which I have already responded   
to.  The prospect of dealing with them all is not encouraging. 

Best to all, Bruce 
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