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Naturalism, Fallibilism, and the A Priori

warenski, lisa (2009) Naturalism, Fallibilism, and the A Priori. Philosophical Studies, 142 (3). pp. 403-426. ISSN 0031-8116

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This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism– if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the naturalist’s commitment to scientific methodology in that it allows for apriori-justified claims to be sensitive to further conceptual developments and the expansion of evidence. The fallibilist apriorist allows that an a priori claim is revisable in only a purely epistemic sense. This modal claim is weaker than what is required for a revisability thesis to establish empiricism, so fallibilist apriorism represents a distinct position.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
warenski, lisaLwarenski@gc.cuny.edu0000-0003-3115-0936
Keywords: naturalism, fallibilism, a priori, epistemic possibility
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Logic
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr. Lisa Warenski
Date Deposited: 28 May 2019 14:44
Last Modified: 28 May 2019 14:44
Item ID: 16051
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophical Studies
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle:
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Logic
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2009
Page Range: pp. 403-426
Volume: 142
Number: 3
ISSN: 0031-8116

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