Petrus Hispanus Lectures 2018 – Crispin Wright

June 18, 2018 12:00am

18 – 19 June 2018

Crispin Wright

(New York University and University of Stirling)


General Title: The Basic A Priori


A priori knowledge is traditionally characterised as knowledge achieved by means that are not reliant upon empirical evidence. Following Kant, Frege took the idea that there is such knowledge of a large range of important propositions for granted. In particular he assumed that such is the character of our knowledge of basic logic and arithmetic. This view, once orthodoxy, is now widely regarded as problematic. The existence of a priori knowledge, its importance, and even the coherence of the very idea, have all become, in contemporary epistemology, highly debated matters. However it is fair to say that most recent scepticism about the a priori has been driven either by abstract background theoretical commitments — for instance, by a thoroughgoing empiricism, as in Quine, or by epistemological externalism —or by the conviction that the notion of the a priori allows of no stable, interesting characterisation. The lectures, focusing first on the case of elementary arithmetic and then on our judgements about elementary logical validity, will explore a different, relatively neglected type of ground for misgivings about a priori knowledge, paying close attention to the phenomenology of our basic arithmetical and logical convictions. The upshot will be a certain deflationism concerning the status of a priori knowledge, and (perhaps) an insight into the thought about these matters of the later Wittgenstein.


Lecture I

On Arithmetic

18 June 2018


room Anfiteatro III

Faculty of Letters, University of Lisbon


Lecture II

On Logic

19 June 2018


room Anfiteatro III

Faculty of Letters, University of Lisbon