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

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Sun Dec 19 08:12:34 EST 2010

```I should point out that I am not overlooking the idea that substitutional quantification may be invoked to establish the identity "crisis." But substitutional quantification will not solve the problem of opacity. Moreover, meeting the criticism this way is admission that a posteriori knowledge of necessities presupposes substitutional quantification; thereby ensuring further diminution of the theory's intuitive appeal.

Regards

Steve Bayne

----- Original Message -----
From: Baynesr at comcast.net
To: "Bruce Aune" <aune at philos.umass.edu>
Cc: "hist-analytic" <hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk>
Sent: Sunday, December 19, 2010 6:51:50 AM
Subject: Re: Correction: Re: A posteriori knowledge of necessary truths

I'll get back, as best I can, other posts. This was the first that popped up; probably because it is most recent.

On the first point, Bruce and I are not in agreement. At least I don't believe we are. When I say "one particular sort" this is what Bruce seems to be referring to when he uses 'some'. My point was to contrast identity statements and all other statements. So, in (5), 'p' stands for any identity statement, where the identity flanks names. In this class of cases a posteriori knowledge entails the necessity of the known on the view under discussion. Now the second point which is more important.

The argument for a posteriori necessary truths in its strongest form goes like this:

I know a=b, aposteriori
'a=b' is true
Since 'a=b' is true it is necessary
Therefore, there is a proposition which I both know a posteriori and necessary;
so there is a posteriori knowledge of a necessary truth. Briefly,

p is necessary
I Know p, aposteriori,
Therefore, There is some p such that p is necessary and I know it a posteriori.

Here the problem is that the quantifier quantifies-in; AND in addition, there is an assumption that what is known and what is necessary are one and the same thing. However, quantifying into the opaque domain involves problems with satisfying identity (individuating) conditions making it very doubtful that what is necessary is *identical* to what is believed. The first conjunct above is a straightforward de dicto necessity; the second is a straightforward de re contingency. The connection between 'p' in those two is suspect.

Regards

Steve

----- 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: Sunday, December 19, 2010 6:12:50 AM
Subject: Re: Correction: Re: A posteriori knowledge of necessary truths

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."

Bruce

45000
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