OUP user menu

IRobert Stalnaker

Robert Stalnaker
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8349.00083 141-156 First published online: 1 July 2001

Abstract

Saul Kripke made a convincing case that there are necessary truths that are knowable only a posteriori as well as contingent truths that are knowable a priori. A number of philosophers have used a two-dimensional model semantic apparatus to represent and clarify the phenomena that Kripke pointed to. According to this analysis, statements have truth-conditions in two different ways depending on whether one considers a possible world ‘as actual’ or ‘as counterfactual’ in determining the truth-value of the statement relative to that possible world. There are no necessary a posteriori or contingent a priori propositions: rather, contingent a priori and necessary a posteriori statements are statements that are necessary when evaluated one way, and contingent when evaluated the other way. This paper distinguishes two ways that the two-dimensional framework can be interpreted, and argues that one of them gives the better account of what it means to ‘consider a world as actual’, but that it provides no support for any notion of purely conceptual a priori truth.

‘Hell is paved with primary intensions’

English proverb

Sign in

Log in through your institution

Sign in as a personal subscriber

Log in through your institution

Purchase a personal subscription