[hist-analytic] Correction: Re: A posteriori knowledge of necessary truths

Bruce Aune aune at philos.umass.edu
Sun Dec 19 07:12:50 EST 2010

Steve makes an error in his post of Dec 18.  He said " '(5) I know p aposteriori --> Nec p' is exactly what is being claimed by those who argue that there is a posteriori knowledge of necessary truths of one particular sort: identities.  This claim is false: no one (to my knowledge) has ever claimed that every p known a posteriori is necessary. The claim is only that some p is (are) known a posteriori. 

If Steve wants to revise his claim by saying that (for all p) if p is an identity, then if p is known a posteriori, p is necessary, no problem arises, because if p is an identity (of the appropriate kind), the consequent conditional, "if not nec p, then p is not known a posteriori, is true by virtue of having a false antecedent.

Steve also errs in thinking a quantifier is needed to link a certain necessary truth to knowing. (He says "suppose p is a necessary truth." Well, if this p is a necessary truth, it is linked to knowing by saying "p is necessary and someone knows that p."


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