[hist-analytic] The "Analytic A Posteriori"

Bruce Aune aune at philos.umass.edu
Thu Sep 3 08:05:42 EDT 2009


Steve,

A posteriori knowledge is not just knowledge by experience in your  
sense; if it were, only observational knowledge and possibly memory  
knowledge would be a posteriori knowledge.  But many things we know  
about the world are known inferentially; and what is thus known has  
always been considered a posteriori knowledge.

When you say "'Nec(a = b)' follows from first order knowledge by  
substitution of predicates, what do you mean.  What predicates are  
substituted?  Are you supposing 'Nec(a = b)' is a logical truth?

I have neve understood your attitude towards rigid designators.  The  
whole idea of such designators was introduced to deflect objections  
that commit a fallacy of equivocation.  Some people objected to the  
theorem on the ground that if a = the F, it may yet be false that N(a  
= the F) because it is possible that (there are possible situations in  
which) someone other than a = the F.  But if "the F" is being used to  
single out a particular person, the fact that someone else might  
satisfy the description "the F" would not show that the person singled  
out might possibly be different from the person a.  Could there be a  
situation in which I am different from myself or anyone is different  
from him- or herself?  NO.  There is nothing problematic, I think,  
about using a definite description to refer to a particular thing as  
opposed to anything that might satisfy that description.

Bruce




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