A priori knowledge and the scope of philosophy

Philosophical Studies 81 (2-3):121-142 (1996)
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Abstract

This paper provides a defense of two traditional theses: the Autonomy of Philosophy and the Authority of Philosophy. The first step is a defense of the evidential status of intuitions (intellectual seemings). Rival views (such as radical empiricism), which reject the evidential status of intuitions, are shown to be epistemically self-defeating. It is then argued that the only way to explain the evidential status of intuitions is to invoke modal reliabilism. This theory requires that intuitions have a certain qualified modal tie to the truth. This result is then used as the basis of the defense of the Autonomy and Authority theses. The paper closes with a defense of the two theses against a potential threat from scientific essentialism.

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George Bealer
Yale University

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