• Banno
    4.2k
    The usual explication of these two and the distinction between them is that the a priori statement is universally and necessarily so.tim wood

    And a posteriori statements, of course, require access to some experience - they could be so or not so, depending on the verdict of that experience.tim wood

    That water is H₂O is something we discovered - it is a posteriori, and synthetic.

    Kripke shows that, that water is H₂O is true in all possible situations; that is, if we discover or stipulate a substance that is phenomenologically the same as water, but with some alternate chemical structure, it is not water.

    Since it water is H₂O is true in all possible situations, it is necessary.

    So, that water is H₂O is a necessary, a posteriori fact. Necessary but synthetic.

    Hence, not all necessary facts are synthetic.
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    Hence, not all necessary facts are synthetic.Banno

    First, who said they were? Did you forget analytic a priori statements?

    Second, to go from statements or propositions to "facts" is a step I'm not prepared to take. (E.g., 2+2=4: fact? or true?)

    Third, in my opinion you have to be more than a little careful in matching Kant against certain modern discoveries. For example, in as much as the decomposition of water into H2O is itself never perceived, you can wonder how that knowledge fits into Kant's theory of knowledge - if it does, how it does. But then one can ask, what, exactly, were the perceptions that led to the conclusions? I am pretty sure that however arcane or obscure the discoveries of science, they exist in part at some level that qualifies them, with their attendant reasoning, as being subject to Kantian limitations on knowledge. This is akin to preserving Newtonian physics within the areas where it is both good, and works, while acknowledging at the same time that the subject just is philosophy and not science.

    To say, for example, as some people have, that quantum physics renders Kant meaningless, is to fail to understand Kant.

    That water is H₂O is something we discovered - it is a posteriori, and synthetic.Banno
    "It" is not something we discovered. "It" is not a posteriori. Nor synthetic. As to the discovery itself, that is not water.

    personal note: I'm under the impression that you are a professional philosopher and thus am astonished you don't have understandings of Kant that are very clear indeed..
  • Banno
    4.2k
    First, who said they were? Did you forget analytic a priori statements?tim wood

    OK - is, that H₂O is water, a priori? I wouldn't have thought so. Analytic, necessary - but a posteriori.
  • Banno
    4.2k
    I'm under the impression that you are a professional philosopher and thus am astonished you don't have understandings of Kant that are very clear indeed..tim wood

    Happy for you to correct me.
  • Banno
    4.2k
    "It" is not something we discovered. "It" is not a posteriori. Nor synthetic. As to the discovery itself, that is not water.tim wood

    Not too sure what you are saying. That water is H₂O is surely not a priori?
  • Mww
    87
    have to be more than a little careful in matching Kant against certain modern discoveries.tim wood

    Wouldn’t Herr Kant freak if he was around about the time they broke water down into its constituent parts? (Vion, 1869) Actually, no, probably not. Being an astrophysicist and a professor of math and physical science, he’d hardy be amazed. Hell, he probably could have done it himself.

    Kripke or no, modern science or no, because water is a real object “All water is H2O” is an empirical judgement, hence synthetic, and from the proposition, the predicates of hydrogen and of oxygen absolutely cannot be derived from merely the subject “water”, hence, still synthetic.

    “....But now I extend my knowledge, and looking back on experience from which I had derived this conception of body (water), I find weight (H2O) at all times connected with the above characteristics, and therefore I synthetically add to my conceptions this as a predicate, and say, "All bodies (water) are (is) heavy (H20)”. Thus it is experience upon which rests the possibility of the synthesis of the predicate of weight (H20) with the conception of body (water), because both conceptions, although the one is not contained in the other, still belong to one another, only contingently**, however, as parts of a whole, namely, of experience, which is itself a synthesis of intuitions....”
    **contingently, re: heavy water. The concept of water in and of itself is not altered by the additional mass of a neutron in the nucleus of one atom.

    Parentheses are mine, obviously, because I didn’t want to delete or subvert what ws actually said in the quote, but to show the particulars are pretty much identical.
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    Not too sure what you are saying. That water is H₂O is surely not a priori?Banno
    OK - is, that H₂O is water, a priori? I wouldn't have thought so. Analytic, necessary - but a posteriori.Banno

    Reverting to the definitions of my youth, that the a priori are necessarily and universally so, then it follows that water, being just H2O, is so a priori.

    The discovery that water is H2O is a different topic. All discoveries are empirical, aren't they? But the thing, fact, truth, discovered, as a thing, fact, truth.... I suspect you can complete, already have completed, this line of thought.

    "Gold is a yelllow metal"; that is, gold has the property that we call being a yellow metal, not because anyone observed it or discovered it, but because that is what gold is.

    Your assignment, should you care to accept it, and indeed everyone's who has an opinion about Kant's noumena, is to read the two prefaces and introductions to CPR, and as far into the book itself as you can easily get. As philosophers and wanna-be philosophers, I guarantee you will love it (and in the case of the old, wish you had done it decades earlier!). You will also have a different view of those tepid souls, intellectual milksops, who decreed that Kant was too formidable, too difficult, too arduous for mere mortals to read. (Not to speak of those who pontificate on it that have read none of it.)
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    Kripke or no, modern science or no, because water is a real object “All water is H2O” is an empirical judgement, hence synthetic, and from the proposition, the predicates of hydrogen and of oxygen absolutely cannot be derived from merely the subject “water”, hence, still synthetic.Mww

    Abuse of "empirical." Empirical means, to be sure, (from online): "based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.' As with many definitions, this one contains - causes - a problem. It implies that what is verified by observation/experience, is with respect to the quality of the verification, the same as what is "verified" by logic.

    The empirical "judgement" that water is h2o, were that final, would imply there is water that is not h20, or that water might not be water.

    As to how you might want to label the processes of the discovery that water is h2o, that's a different topic.
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    Wouldn’t Herr Kant freakMww
    I suppose Kant to be among the smartest people who ever lived. I believe he is credited with first supposing the existence of galaxies, almost two hundred years before confirmation. And different from Aristotle and prior to Descartes and following, because Kant was one of not very many minds aware, inevitably painfully, even tragically aware - as Newton was, although without Newton's ego and psychological problems - of the extent of the possibilities of what could be known, and even possibly suspecting how near, although for him unreachable, much of that knowledge was.
  • Mww
    87


    Supposed the nebula theory for galaxy creation, actually. Along with tidal forces making the moon’s orbit decrease, the prediction that stars were uncountable, the abolishment of Newtonian absolute time, the requirement for a constant velocity related to the motion of matter. Course, it was all metaphysical theory with no math or experiment, and Newton ruled the scientific roost, so.......

    Then along comes GR, and the synthetic a priori judgement of all geometric properties goes right square.....well, you know the rest of the story.
  • Banno
    4.2k

    Ah. You see, Tim, at my school we were taught that a priori and a posteriori were about how we found things out.

    a priori stuff was found out by considering only the concepts involved. It was what comes before.

    a posteriori stuff was found out by looking around. It was what comes after.

    Now, on that way of thinking, that water is H₂O is an empirical discovery, and hence a posteriori. And yet necessarily true.
  • Mww
    87
    implies that what is verified by observation/experience, is with respect to the quality of the verification, the same as what is "verified" by logic.tim wood

    Not sure I understand this properly, but assuming the quality of the verification to mean the strength or weakness of its agreement, then it seems to me there’s no conflict. Observation is supposed to qualify a logical proposition.

    The empirical "judgement" that water is h2o, were that final, would imply there is water that is not h20, or that water might not be water.tim wood

    It isn’t final, it’s contingent, as are all judgements based on experience. And it does imply it is possible there is water that isn’t H20, re: heavy water. As long as we conceive water as the chemical bond between hydrogen and oxygen, we can allow certain different combinations of them without contradicting the physical substance called “water”. Can’t we?
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    Then along comes GR, and the synthetic a priori judgement of all geometric properties goes right square.....Mww
    I assume that your sentence, if completed, would say that Kant's insights are rendered moot if not wrong, historical curiosities. If so, then in this we differ. And if we do, please make your case. To do it, you have to move Kant not only from territory he never attempted to occupy, but also from that region of epistemology he did claim, and in my opinion conclusively and permanently, even if not for all time comprehensively, in manner very like Newtonian physics and Galilean relativity.
  • Banno
    4.2k
    In other words, synthetic a priori metaphysical concepts are the pre-conditions of all experience. Hence, Kant distinguishes between the world as experience it (the world as it is experienced given the application of said concepts) and the world as it is independent of our experience.philosophy

    Gold is a yellow metal.

    That's not an analytic expression. Nor is it a priori. Given a suitable arrangement of lights, one could make gold appear purple.

    But let's consider something easier-the question of the
    yellowness of gold. Could we discover that gold was not in
    fact yellow? Suppose an optical illusion were prevalent, due to
    peculiar properties of the atmosphere in South Africa and
    Russia and certain other areas where gold mines are common.
    Suppose there were an optical illusion which made the substance
    appear to be yellow; but, in fact, once the peculiar
    properties of the atmosphere were removed, we would see
    that it is actually blue. Maybe a demon even corrupted the
    vision of all those entering the gold mines (obviously their
    souls were already corrupt), and thus made them believe that
    this substance was yellow, though it is not. Would there on
    this basis be an announcement in the newspapers : 'It has
    turned out that there is no gold. Gold does not exist. What
    we took to be gold is not in fact gold.' ? Just imagine the world
    financial crisis under these conditions ! Here we have an undreamt
    of source of shakiness in the monetary system.

    It seems to me that there would be no such announcement.
    On the contrary, what would be announced would be that
    though it appeared that gold was yellow, in fact gold has
    turned out not to be yellow, but blue. The reason is, I think,
    that we use 'gold' as a term for a certain kind of thing. Others
    have discovered this kind of thing and we have heard of it.
    We thus as part of a community of speakers have a certain
    connection between ourselves and a certain kind of thing. The
    kind of thing is thought to have certain identifying marks. Some
    of these marks may not really be true of gold. We might discover that we are wrong about them. Further, there might be a substance which has all the identifying marks we commonly
    attributed to gold and used to identify it in the first
    place, but which is not the same kind of thing, which is not
    the same substance. We would say of such a thing that though
    it has all the appearances we initially used to identify gold, it is
    not gold. Such a thing is, for example, as we well know, iron
    pyrites or fool's gold. This is not another kind of gold. It's a
    completely different thing which to the uninitiated person
    looks just like the substance which we discovered and called
    gold. We can say this not because we have changed the meaning
    of the term gold, and thrown in some other criteria which
    distinguished gold from pyrites. It seems to me that that's not
    true. On the contrary, we discovered that certain properties
    were true of gold in addition to the initial identifying marks
    by which we identified it. These properties, then, being
    characteristic of gold and not true of iron pyrites, show that
    the fool's gold is not in fact gold.

    Naming and Necessity, pp. 118-9

    A world independent of our experiences is a world about which we can say nothing. And of that of which we cannot speak, we ought not speak.
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    From Prologomena to Any Future Metaphysics, pdf here:

    http://web.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/phil%20306/kant_materials/prolegomena3.htm

    Just start reading.
  • Mww
    87


    Just staying in my lane, doncha know. Kant said *ALL* mathematical expressions, particularly geometric formulations, are synthetic a priori propositions. He had to, of course, because he was looking for laws based on principles, which cannot have exceptions. Curved space was something he hadn’t envisioned, so he was wrong about *ALL* expressions, for some predicates of Euclidean geometry do not hold under Riemann configurations. For us guys with no use for Riemann configurations, we don’t care that much; I never fly far enough for minimal geodesics to make any difference I would notice, and event horizons are not in my immediate future. Well....unless something bad happens at CERN.

    And that region of epistemology he did claim? He claimed it well and truly.
  • Banno
    4.2k
    Fine.

    Kant said:
    First, as concerns the sources of metaphysical cognition, its very concept implies that they cannot be empirical. Its principles (including not only its maxims but its basic notions) must never be derived from experience. It must not be physical but metaphysical knowledge, viz., knowledge lying beyond experience. It can therefore have for its basis neither external experience, which is the source of physics proper, nor internal, which is the basis of empirical psychology. It is therefore a priori knowledge, coming from pure Understanding and pure reason.
    But Tim said:
    Reverting to the definitions of my youth, that the a priori are necessarily and universally so, then it follows that water, being just H2O, is so a priori.

    The discovery that water is H2O is a different topic. All discoveries are empirical, aren't they? But the thing, fact, truth, discovered, as a thing, fact, truth.... I suspect you can complete, already have completed, this line of thought.
    tim wood

    I find this hard to reconcile.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.4k

    I could be wrong, but looking at this debate, it seems that the basis for your confusions as to each other's arguments and conclusions is not clearly defining the difference between something that is "synthetic a priori" (pace Kant) with something that is necessary (analytic?) a posteriori. I think much of the confusion will dissipate if these two are clearly differentiated.
  • Mww
    87


    “.....For this very reason all analytical judgments are a priori even when the concepts are empirical, as, for example, Gold is a yellow metal....”
    Preamble, Sec2b,

    This I grant willingly; gold is an elemental substance to which the law of contradiction would necessarily hold. Water, a compound substance, on the other hand, doesn’t have to be H2O necessarily.
  • Banno
    4.2k
    Maybe. For my part, roughly...

    Synthetic Vs. analytic: it's synthetic if it brings two distinct ideas together; it's analytic if one idea is contained in the other.

    a priori vs a posteriori: it's a posteriori if you have to look around to find it out. Otherwise it is a priori.

    Necessary Vs. contingent: it's necessary if it is true in all possible worlds; otherwise, it's contingent. This is where I would expect Tim and I to disagree.

    Hence: synthetic a priori: two distinct ideas that are associated without looking around.

    and, necessary a posteriori: found out by looking around, but true in all possible worlds.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.4k
    Necessary Vs. contingent: it's necessary if it is true in all possible worlds; otherwise, it's contingent. This is where I would expect Tim and I to disagree.Banno

    First thing that might cause confusion is the addition of necessary and contingent. Though very related to synthetic and analytic, it is different, and by the time of Kripke there might have been further refinements as to analytic vs. necessary and synthetic vs. contingent. Thus, we might not be speaking in the same languages and creating a sort of category error.

    To move forward we should give examples. Banno said:
    Hence: synthetic a priori: two distinct ideas that are associated without looking around.Banno

    So what would be your ideal example? Kant uses certain scientific truths that can only be gained through our a priori psychological predisposition for space/time/causality (and other categories).
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    I find this hard to reconcile.Banno
    Please allow me to try.

    H2O is water is a proposition. As such, if you know what water is, then, per Kant, the law of non-contradiction applies. Per Banno, above just a few column inches, its analytic - one contained in the other - and again per Banno above, it's a priori: the law of non-contradiction, and you don't have to look around.

    Near the start, "For this very reason all analytic judgments are a priori even when the concepts are empirical, as, for example, "Gold is a yellow metal," for to know this I require no experience beyond my concept of gold as a yellow metal. Prologomena... referenced above.

    So with my concept of water: water is H2O. I posted the call to the pdf because at some point, and pretty early on with many folks, recourse to the thing itself, the text itself, is both a good thing and necessary. It's not about disagreeing with me, or one of us being right, the other wrong. It's about understanding thought that's not easy. For that we now have the text.
  • Banno
    4.2k
    First thing that might cause confusion is the addition of necessary and contingent.schopenhauer1

    And yet,
    (for what is declared to be known a priori is thereby announced as necessary)

    And it is this necessity in which I am interested.

    So, is being a priori the very same thing as being necessary? Or is it rather that all a priori things, amongst others, are necessary?
  • Banno
    4.2k
    So, Tim: if some thing is true a priori, is it also necessary?

    And what do you make of the case, in the Kripke text I quoted above, in which we ponder what it might have been like of gold were not yellow?
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    Water, a compound substance, on the other hand, doesn’t have to be H2O necessarily.Mww

    How not? Water is understood to be that. If you want to redefine "water," I suppose you can.... And "heavy water" is not adjective noun, a different kind of water; rather it is a noun substantive, that is, not water but heavy water, something with a similar name and resemblance. Or, no doubt I resemble you to some extent and in some important ways (I am not an octopus, for example). Well, then, I must be you, at least enough for a share in all your assets, yes! (Your debts, those are all yours.)

    More to the point, we both recognize that Kant expressed himself with care and precision. It's his ideas as laid out by him we should attend to, not my inadequate re-presentations of them.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.4k
    So, is being a priori the very same thing as being necessary? Or is it rather that all a priori things, amongst others, are necessary?Banno

    I believe he thought a priori truths to be necessary and/or universal. I would assume he is saying they are the same thing. Really the tricky part with Kant is his idea of analytic and synthetic. Analytic seems to be a sub-set of a priori that are tautologies. The meaning is in the subject- you don't have to look any further. Many philosophers think that math is just this.

    However, if a priori means necessary and universal, then there is another sub-set people don't think about- synthetic truths that are always necessary and universal. Thus, many proofs in math are universal and necessary, but are not tautologies, they have to be found out in the world. Where does this ability come from to gain universal truths that are not just odd pairings (pace Hume)? It comes from a priori synthetic categories of our psychology.
  • csalisbury
    1.5k
    That water is H₂O is something we discovered - it is a posteriori, and synthetic.

    Kripke shows that, that water is H₂O is true in all possible situations; that is, if we discover or stipulate a substance that is phenomenologically the same as water, but with some alternate chemical structure, it is not water.

    Since it water is H₂O is true in all possible situations, it is necessary.

    So, that water is H₂O is a necessary, a posteriori fact. Necessary but synthetic.

    Hence, not all necessary facts are synthetic.
    Banno


    I wonder to what extent this bears on Kant. You've had your hands full discussing Kripke with people who want to discuss Kripke, but not on Kripke's terms. In threads specifically discussing Kripke, their's seems like a bad approach. But once you leave Kripke's province....I've seen you say, elsewhere, that you think Kripke is confusing metaphysics and grammar. And so...

    (the above being, largely, a self-serving apology for commenting on Kripke, without really knowing Kripke, just like everyone else, but...)

    We've identified something as water. Then we learned some. And we learned that what we identified as water always has the structure H2O. Now:

    if we discover or stipulate a substance that is phenomenologically the same as water, but with some alternate chemical structure, it is not water. — Banno

    Here's a scenario that it seems like Kripke would admit is possible (seems that way to me anyway, correct me if wrong). Let's say some group of people coined the word 'water' talking about a pond in their town X. Visitors to this town (there's a trade route or something. the water people have silk, say, so people go there a lot, to get silk) ---but visitors to this town pick up this term. "water. That's like the stuff we have at home! We'll call it water too!." Years go by, science grows. Less syphilis, more television. People in town x learn chemistry etc. Water, in their pond, is H20. For whatever reason, though, what's called 'water' everywhere else has a different chemical structure. There is only one place with H20 water as far as we know, and its in the pond of town X. All the other 'water' is something else entirely.

    What are we talking about when we talk about necessary, a-posteriori facts? And what does it have to do with Kant?
  • schopenhauer1
    2.4k
    What are we talking about when we talk about necessary, a-posteriori facts? And what does it have to do with Kant?csalisbury

    Kripke introduces "all possible worlds" to the idea of natural kinds. So, in all possible worlds, the term "water" is always H20. This means that water is necessarily H20.. It didn't have to be H20 before it was named thus, but once someone used it as a name for water, it became a necessary truth "after the fact". It didn't have to be from the outset like a synthetic a priori truth. If it was a synthetic a priori truth, H20 would always have to have been named water, but that would be silly. So at least in the cases of proper names and natural kinds, there may be a kind of truth statement that Kant didn't account for which is necessary a posteriori truths.
  • csalisbury
    1.5k
    It didn't have to be H20 before it was named thus, but once someone used it as a name for water, it became a necessary truth "after the fact".schopenhauer1

    I think I follow so far. That's why, in my example, I talked about a specific village who named the substance in their pond.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.4k

    This wouldn't change much I think. Just like there can be two Johns who are not the same person, so too do you have two waters. It is not the name itself but the idea that it is fixed to a referent in all possible worlds.
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