Spring 2018 - PHIL 302 D100

Topics in Epistemology and Metaphysics (3)

New Work on the A Priori

Class Number: 12961

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    WMC 3250, Burnaby

    We 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM
    WMC 3510, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PHIL 201 or 203.



An exploration of philosophical issues concerning, e.g.: causation, time, modality, or the self; the realism/nominalism or realism/idealism debate; relativism; the concept of truth; naturalized epistemology; global epistemological skepticism or perhaps a 'local' form of skepticism such as skepticism about induction or about sensory belief. May be repeated for credit.


Selected Topics: New Work on the A Priori

This Special Topics in Epistemology and Metaphysics course focuses on new recent work on the a priori, while being cognizant of its long history and previous work in its more recent history to which it is reacting.  The compilers of our text, in their Introduction, identify four sets of issues recently taken up and represented in their readings: the would-be evidential role of intuitions in philosophical theorizing -- “…and whether the results of experimental philosophy affect the evidential or a priori status of intuitions.”; the analysis and scope of a priori justification and knowledge;  whether a priori justified beliefs play a crucial role in avoiding certain skeptical worries; and whether some recent challenges to the very existence of the a priori are successful.


To develop an informed, reasoned, and up-to-date critical perspective on the nature of a priori methods, a priori epistemic warrants, and their contributions to philosophy past and present.


  • 2 shorter papers (about 1800 words each) worth 25% each 50%
  • A longer term paper (about 3600 words) 40%
  • 2 short take-home "exegetical" exercises (about 300 words each), drawn from your assigned readings, worth 5% each 10%



The A Priori in Philosophy, Albert Casullo and Joshua C. Thurow (eds.) Oxford University Press (2013) ISBN 978-0-19-969553-1

Earlier background readings on the subject (by e.g., Philip Kitcher, Tyler Burge and Hartry Field), to be provided.

Registrar Notes:

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