Apriority and Essential Truth

Metaphysica 21 (1):1-8 (2020)
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Abstract

There is a line of thought, neglected in recent philosophy, according to which a priori knowable truths such as those of logic and mathematics have their special epistemic status in virtue of a certain tight connection between their meaning and their truth. Historical associations notwithstanding, this view does not mandate any kind of problematic deflationism about meaning, modality or essence. On the contrary, we should be upfront about it being a highly debatable metaphysical idea, while nonetheless insisting that it be given due consideration. From this standpoint, I suggest that the Finean distinction between essence and modality allows us to refine the view. While liberal about meaning, modality and essence, the view is not without bite: it is reasonable to suppose that it is able to ward off philosophical confusions stemming from the undue assimilation of a priori to empirical knowledge.

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Tristan Grøtvedt Haze
University of Melbourne

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