A Priori Legal Philosophy

In law, a priori is a type of legal reasoning that is put forward when a set of facts or ideas are taken for granted. While such views manage to avoid a call to the notion of rational insight, they contain at least two serious problems. First, they do not seem to be able to take into account all the claims that are generally considered a priori. There are undoubtedly a number of a priori mathematical and philosophical claims, for example, so that belief in them (or any of the more general statements they might instantiate) is not a necessary condition for rational thought or discourse. Second, these a priori justification reports seem sensitive to a serious form of skepticism, as there is no obvious connection between the need for a belief in rational activity and its probable truth or truth. Therefore, with such a view, it seems possible that a person may be entitled from the outset to believe that the belief in question is true and yet has no reason to support it. Given the epistemically fundamental nature of the beliefs in question, it may be impossible for a person (once a call to a priori insight is excluded) to have (non-artistic) reasons for believing that any of these beliefs are true. Views of this kind therefore seem to have profound skeptical implications. After Kant`s death, a number of philosophers saw themselves in the correction and expansion of his philosophy, leading to the various forms of German idealism. One of these philosophers was Johann Fichte. His student (and critic), Arthur Schopenhauer, accuses him of rejecting the distinction between knowledge a priori and a posteriori: One possible answer to Boghossian is that a complete or deep understanding of normative concepts such as “false” requires the understanding that some paradigmatic cases are false, although a more superficial understanding that can be grasped by a non-substantial representation of the false is not the case. An analogy with causality might help. A superficial understanding of why opium causes sleep is that it has resting powers.

But a deeper and more detailed understanding would involve understanding how the chemicals in opium affect neurons in the brain and how, in turn, they cause sleep. Problems will remain with the “lack of deep understanding” response to Boghossian`s argument: how do you explain the fact that professional moral philosophers sometimes have different intuitions about substantive claims about what`s wrong? One would expect them to have an equally deep understanding of the relevant normative concepts and thus have the same a priori intuitions about the representation of intuitions based on understanding that Boghossian disputes. But sometimes they don`t, as Boghossian notes (in appearance). At the same time, he offers an explanation of why philosophers` intuitions diverge: the theories they advocate can influence the intuitions they have. So it seems that the most feasible reliable reports of a priori justification, such as traditional narratives, will use the notion of rational insight. This is exactly what some reliable views do (e.g. Plantinga 1993), for example by asserting that one a priori has the right to believe a particular claim if that belief was produced by the capacity of reason, the functioning of which implies a rational insight into the truth or necessity of the statement in question. The plausibility of such a reliable representation compared to a traditional representation ultimately depends, of course, on the plausibility of the externalistic commitment that underlies it. Since then, priority, analysis and necessity have been more clearly separated from each other. The American philosopher Saul Kripke (1972), for example, provides strong arguments against this position, arguing that there are necessary retrospective truths.

For example, the claim that water is H2O (if it is true): according to Kripke, this statement is necessarily true because water and H2O are the same, they are identical in all possible worlds, and truths of identity are logically necessary; and a posteriori, because it is known only through empirical research. According to such considerations by Kripke and others (see Hilary Putnam), philosophers tend to distinguish more clearly the concept of apriorization from that of necessity and analyticity. An a priori argument is a type of argument that you can create based on the knowledge you already have. Reports of the latter type are available in different variants. A variety retains the traditional conception of a priori justification, which requires the possession of epistemic motives obtained on the basis of pure thought or reason, but then claims that this justification is limited to trivial or analytical statements and therefore does not require an appeal to rational insight (Ayer 1946). It is assumed that an a priori justification thus understood avoids a call to rational insight. The reasons for this claim are that an explanation can be given about how a person might “see” in a purely rational way, for example, that the concept of predicate of a given statement is included in the concept of subject, without attributing to that person something like an ability to grasp the necessity of reality. A priori justification is supposed to be explained in a metaphysically harmless way. In addition, one may wonder whether the a priori corresponds to the analytical or the a posteriori to the synthetic.

First of all, many philosophers have thought that there are (or at least could be) cases of synthetic justification a priori. Consider, for example, the claim that if something is red everywhere, it is not green everywhere. Belief in this claim is apparently justifiable regardless of experience. If you just think about what it means that something is red everywhere, it immediately becomes clear that a certain object with this quality cannot have the property of being green everywhere at the same time. But it also seems clear that the statement in question is not analytical. Being green everywhere is not part of the definition of being red everywhere, nor is it included in the concept of being red everywhere. If such examples are to be taken literally, it is a mistake to believe that if a statement is a priori, it must also be analytical. The term a priori comes from Latin and is literally translated to mean “of the latter” or “of the earliest”. There are other objections to relying on intuitions in philosophy that do not question its reliability.

They question their relevance. Casullo (2003) suggests treating the term “experience” as a natural term, and Hilary Kornblith and Philip Kitcher suggest treating epistemic terms such as “knowledge” and “justification” in this way as well. Kornblith believes that intuitions can help guide us to the corresponding investigative objects or phenomena, but not much more. For example, we have the intuition that knowledge is not a type of furniture, so we should not begin our empirical study of the essential nature of knowledge with a look at furniture (Kornblith 1998, 2005, 2006). If we consider normative terms like “false” as natural types of terms, and therefore analogous to a natural term like “water,” there would be a reference description associated with “false,” as is the case for “water.” For “water”, this description is something like: the thing, whatever it is, that in the real world has the characteristics of quenching thirst, extinguishing certain fires, falling clouds in the form of rain, filling lakes and rivers, etc. on the planet on which we live. Empirical research is then needed to find out what this reference fixation description actually refers to. From Kornblith`s point of view, there is little room for rational intuitions to discover the essential nature of knowledge or normative types. They play no role in determining the content of a relevant reference description and, at best, tell us where we don`t have to search to find what satisfies a particular description. There are certain types of evidence that can be admitted without having to prove its validity. For example, a witness may have encountered a corpse.

There are a priori assumptions that immediately accompany the fact that the person who was killed is dead. This may not require much additional evidence. As above (see section 3) and below (para. 4.4 and 4.5), “independent of experience” should not be understood as independent of any experience, but as a first approach as “independent of any experience that goes beyond what is necessary to understand the relevant concepts involved in the statement”. It is sometimes said that a priori justification may depend on experience to the extent that it allows the person to acquire the concepts necessary to grasp the meaning of the statement that is the subject of the justification, but experience cannot play a conclusive role in this justification (Williamson 2013:293). Later, we will see that the concept of enabling experience could be better expanded to include experiences required to acquire certain intellectual abilities, such as those required to create certain evidence or to create counter-examples (see sections 4.4 and 4.5 below). Analytical statements are considered true only because of their meaning, while a posteriori propositions are considered true because of their meaning and certain facts about the world. According to the analytical explanation of a priori, all a priori knowledge is analytical; Thus, a priori knowledge does not require a particular skill of pure intuition, since it can be explained simply by the ability to understand the meaning of the sentence in question. In simpler terms, proponents of this explanation have claimed to have reduced a dubious metaphysical capacity of pure reason to a legitimate linguistic notion of analyticity.