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Varieties of Analyticity and a notion of Retrospective A Priori

Limited seats in FKH 220. Registrations will be handled on a first-come-first-served basis

Register to the Face-to-Face Seminar by 11 Nov 2021

Register to the Online Seminar by 11 Nov 2021


Motivated by Debating the A Priori (P. Boghossian & T. Williamson 2020), this talk is an initial attempt to engage some of its main issues from a particular angle, viz., how to justify a notion of retrospective a priori (closely associated with a technical notion of path-dependent necessity). The overarching questions of the book concern the nature of armchair knowledge (which distinctively characterizes philosophy in general), and the relationship between analyticity, apriority, and necessity (which had become especially intriguing after Kripke 1980). I will briefly lay out a few preliminary notions (such as metaphysical vs epistemological conceptions of analyticity introduced by Boghossian 1996) before I get to my own argument for the tenability of retrospective a priori. The argument will draw on Davidson’s idea about converting a causal statement into one of superficial analyticity, as well as Lewis’s well-known counterfactual analysis of causation. The upshot of the talk might hopefully shed some light on the general prospect of doing fruitful armchair philosophy within a broad naturalistic framework and without transgressing into the non-armchair territory of science.

Delivered in English
All are welcome