My paper ‘A Priori and A Posteriori: A Bootstrapping Relationship’, which was recently accepted for publication at the journal Metaphysica is now available as an Online Early article at www.springerlink.com. This paper is a follow-up to my 2008 piece, ‘A New Definition of A Priori Knowledge: In Search of a Modal Basis’, published in the same journal. In the new paper I expand on my novel definition of aprioricity and examine the relationship of a priori and a posteriori knowledge in particular, suggesting that they best understood as acting in a so called ‘bootstrapping relationship’. The paper may appear to be on epistemology rather than metaphysics, but my interpretation of aprioricity is metaphysical: I take it to be a special case of modal epistemology. I explain this in more detail in my 2008 paper.
I’ll note in addition that my experiences with Metaphysica have been extremely good, and I hope that the journal receives more attention. The current piece went from submission to Online Early in less than three months! In some journals it takes longer than that to even acknowledge submission… The paper will appear in print in the next issue of the journal later this year: Vol. 12, No. 2.
I’ve had another paper accepted for publication recently, but I’ll do a separate post about that once it has passed the proof stage.
Finally, here is the abstract of the new paper:
The distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge has been the subject of an enormous amount of discussion, but the literature is biased against recognizing the intimate relationship between these forms of knowledge. For instance, it seems to be almost impossible to find a sample of pure a priori or a posteriori knowledge. In this paper, it will be suggested that distinguishing between a priori and a posteriori is more problematic than is often suggested, and that a priori and a posteriori resources are in fact used in parallel. We will define this relationship between a priori and a posteriori knowledge as the bootstrapping relationship. As we will see, this relationship gives us reasons to seek for an altogether novel definition of a priori and a posteriori knowledge. Specifically, we will have to analyse the relationship between a priori knowledge and a priori reasoning, and it will be suggested that the latter serves as a more promising starting point for the analysis of aprioricity. We will also analyse a number of examples from the natural sciences and consider the role of a priori reasoning in these examples. The focus of this paper is the analysis of the concepts of a priori and a posteriori knowledge rather than the epistemic domain of a posteriori and a priori justification.