Propositional apriority and the nesting problem

Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1091-1104 (2017)
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Abstract

According to the modal account of propositional apriority, a proposition is a priori if it is possible to know it with a priori justification. Assuming that modal truths are necessarily true and that there are contingent a priori truths, this account has the undesirable consequence that a proposition can be a priori in a world in which it is false. Epistemic two-dimensionalism faces the same problem, since on its standard interpretation, it also entails that a priori propositions are necessarily a priori. In response to this problem, Chalmers and Rabern propose an alternative conception of propositional apriority as well as two-dimensional truth-conditions for apriority statements. Their proposal is also supposed to avoid another problem for the modal account, namely that it entails the existence of false instances of ‘φ iff actually φ’. I discuss Chalmers and Rabern’s account and point out a number of problems with it. I then develop my own account of propositional apriority that solves the problems in question, that can be accepted by friends and foes of two-dimensionalism alike, and that is also neutral with respect to the question of how one construes the objects of propositional apriority.

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Jens Kipper
University of Rochester

Citations of this work

Two-dimensional semantics.Laura Schroeter - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Frege’s Puzzle (2nd edition).Nathan U. Salmon - 1986 - Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing Company.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
The Foundations of Two-Dimensional Semantics.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Josep Macia (eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics: Foundations and Applications. Oxford University Press. pp. 55-140.
The components of content.David Chalmers - 2002 - In David J. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Oxford University Press.
Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics.David J. Chalmers - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 118 (1-2):153-226.

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