Intuition, Thought Experiments, and the A Priori

In Essays on a Priori Knowledge and Justification. Oup Usa. pp. 233-250 (2014)
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My purpose in this paper is to examine the role of intuition in conceptual analysis and to assess whether that role can be parlayed into a plausible defense of a priori knowledge. The focus of my investigation is George Bealer’s attempt to provide such a defense. I argue that Bealer’s account of intuition and its evidential status faces three problems. I go on to examine the two primary arguments that Bealer offers against empiricism: the Starting Points Argument and the Argument from Epistemic Norms. I argue that the Starting Points Argument fails because Bealer fails to show that intuitions are a priori evidence and that the Argument from Epistemic Norms fails because it is open to the Stalemate Problem. I conclude by offering an alternative approach to defending the a priori status of intuitions that avoids the Stalemate Problem. The alternative approach highlights the role of empirical investigation in defending the a priori.

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Albert Casullo
University of Nebraska, Lincoln


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