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What are the 4 questions posed by Kant?

  1. What is priori knowledge?
  2. Is there priori knowledge?
  3. What is the relationship between priori and necessary?
  4. Is there a synthetic priori knowledge?

Casuallo say that he is not going to try to answer all 4 questions. He is going to primarily focus on just one of these questions. Which one? (p. 98)

  1. Is there a priori knowledge?

In order to determine whether a priori knowledge exists, we need to know what a priori knowledge is. Why is that?


We cannot say whether it is exists if we do not know what it is.
We have to know what it is we are looking for before we look for it.


The concept of a priori knowledge can be analyzed in three ways. First is a non-epistemic analysis. The second is an impure epistemic analysis. The third is a pure epistemic analysis. What is the difference? (p. 98)


A non-epistemic analysis is an analysis of knowledge in strictly non-epistemic terms.
The analysandum consists of non-epistemic concepts—e.g., necessity or analyticity

An impure analysis is an analysis of knowledge using both epistemic and non-epistemic concepts.

A purely epistemic analysis is an analysis of knowledge using only epistemic concepts.


What is the argument that a non-epistemic analysis cannot be correct? (p.99-101)


Since the concept of a priori justification is epistemic, a satisfactory analysis must identify the salient epistemic feature of such justification.

The a priori has to do primarily with a certain kind of justification. Justification is essentially epistemic. So, no non-epistemic concept can define it. The best a non-epistemic concept can do is tell us about the nature of the claims that are justifiable a priori.


What is Lawrenece BonJour’s (impure) rationalist conception or analysis of the a priori?


Bonjour: A proposition p is justified a priori when and only when the believer is able, either directly or via some series of individually evident steps, to intuitively “see” or apprehend that its truth is an invariant feature of all possible worlds, that there is no possible world in which it is false.

This analysis consists of a single condition with two components:

Intuitive apprehension
Necessary truths


Casullo says that BounJour’s analysis of the a priori faces three objections. What are they?


Objection #1: Conceptual deficiency. There are people who can recognize that a proposition is a priori but lack the concept of necessity.

This shows that grasping that a proposition is necessary is not needed to grasp the a priori.

Objection #2: Some people deny that we can have justification of modal claims, e.g., “2 + 2 = 4 necessarily”. But, it is implausible that such people then cannot have a priori knowledge that 2 + 2 = 4.


Casullo advocates the (N2) analysis of a priori justification (p. 105). What is his argument for (N2)? (p.106)


(N2) is better than (N3) because (N3) has an undefeasiblity by experience condition.
Casuallo has argued that a claim knowable a priori can, in principle, be defeated by experience.

I can learn mathematical truths by reading a textbook. The book says that such and such mathematical formula is a theorem (i.e., a logical truth).

But, I can later learn that that textbook is unreliable. The justification for a claim that the mathematical formula is a theorem is defeatable. But, it is still a priori knowable.


What is Putnam’s conceptual argument for the existence of the a priori? (p.109)


For Putnam, S’s belief that p is a priori iff S’s belief that p cannot be defeated by any evidence.

For Putnam, there are propositions that meet this condition—e.g., MPC: Not every statement is both true and false.

No observation he can imagine making would shake his belief in MPC.


What is one problem Casullo raises for that argument?


It is possible for a claim p to be rationally unrevisable and S is justified in believing that p is rationally unrevisable yet S does not have a priori justification for p.


What is Kant’s Criterial Argument for the a priori? (p. 112)?


(1) Mathematical propositions are necessary.
(2) One cannot know necessary a propositions empirically
(3) One cannot know mathematical propositions empirically.


What is Casullo’s response to that argument?


Look at (2). It is true that one cannot know the modal status of a proposition empirically.

But, it does not follow from that one cannot know the truth-value of a proposition empirically.


According to Casullo, the best way to argue for the existence of the a priori is to enlist empirical support. How does he aim to do this? (p. 132 – 137)


I believe that Casullo’s best way to argue for the existence of the priori enlist empirical support is when he assures that empirical investigation is a second important role in accessing the credentials of cognitive process. Also another way that he shows this is throughout his text he writes about other peoples views along with his views on his negations of why priori will work and not work and his conclusion comes to empirical investigation can be a way to argue for priori’s existence.