Justified Concepts and the Limits of the Conceptual Approach to the A Priori

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (3):267-274 (2011)
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Abstract

Carrie Jenkins (2005, 2008) has developed a theory of the a priori that she claims solves the problem of how justification regarding our concepts can give us justification regarding the world. She claims that concepts themselves can be justified, and that beliefs formed by examining such concepts can be justified a priori. I object that we can have a priori justified beliefs with unjustified concepts if those beliefs have no existential import. I then argue that only beliefs without existential import can be justified a priori on the widely held conceptual approach. This limits the scope of the a priori and undermines arguments for essentialism.

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Darren Bradley
University of Leeds

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