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A Posteriori — A Priori

A Posteriori – A Priori: 1. A posteriori. Either (i) rational human sensible representation (including perception, imagination, memory, and anticipation), belief, judgment, or knowledge, or

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A Posteriori – A Priori: 1. A posteriori. Either (i) rational human sensible representation (including perception, imagination, memory, and anticipation), belief, judgment, or knowledge, or (ii) a justification of rational human belief, judgment, or knowledge, or (iii) a rational human capacity for sensible representation, belief, judgment, or knowledge, insofar as its semantic content, referential veridicality, and truth (as a cognition), its sufficiency (as a justification), or its effective operation (as a capacity), is necessarily dependent on inner or outer sensory experiences and contingent, empirical facts. 2. A priori. Either (i) rational human sensible representation (including perception, imagination, memory, and anticipation), belief, judgment, or knowledge, or (ii) a justification of rational human belief, judgment, or knowledge, or (iii) a rational human capacity for sensible representation, belief, judgment, or knowledge, insofar as its semantic content, referential veridicality, and truth (as a cognition), its sufficiency (as a justification), or its effective operation (as a capacity), is necessarily non-dependent on any inner or outer sensory experiences, or contingent, empirical facts, and is therefore necessarily underdetermined by them, or, as necessarily non-dependent and underdetermined in this way, can exist as a specified faculty inside the rational human animal from birth and therefore temporally prior to those experiences and facts (in which case, it’s also called “innate”), even if, as it so happens, it’s actually associated or presented with some sensory experiences or some contingent, empirical facts, and/or actually has significant sensory experiential content or contingent empirical factual content.

See also the entries for “Analytic-Synthetic” and “Supervenience.” — (Coming Soon)

*Controversy: There are many importantly different definitions of apriority and aposteriority, and of the distinction between them (Hanna, 2015: ch. 7).

Some of these definitions are strictly epistemological; some are semantic or truth-theoretic; some are psychological; some blend one, two, or all of these classifications; and so-on.

The definition in this entry is epistemological, semantic/truth-theoretic, and psychological; and it’s also specifically modal (i.e., it’s framed in terms of necessary non-dependence or underdetermination [= apriority] or necessary determination [= aposteriority] by sensory experience or contingent, empirical facts), with a Kantian inspiration, and does not require that X’s mere actual association or presentation with significant sensory content or contingent, empirical factual content in evidence, truth-conditions, propositional content, triggering conditions, etc., entails X’s aposteriority (Hanna, 2015: section 7.2).

It should also be noted that it’s presupposed by this definition that sensory experiences also necessarily include contingent, empirical facts, hence modal contingency is built into the very items that either necessarily underdetermine or necessarily determine apriority or aposteriority.

REFERENCE

(Hanna, 2015). Hanna, R. Cognition, Content, and the A Priori: A Study in the Philosophy of Mind and Knowledge. THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 5. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.


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