Skip to main content


Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)



Williamson (1986) presents a troublesome example of the contingent a priori; troublesome, because it does not involve indexicals, and hence cannot be defused via the usual two-dimensional strategies. Here I explore how the example works, via an examination of crucial belief-forming method M, partly in response to Hawthorne (2002) and the questions there raised for ‘hyperreliable’ belief-forming methods. I suggest that, when used to form a belief, M does its special work through creating a verifying state of affairs which guarantees the truth of the belief thus formed. This creative link can be said to account for the knowledge-conferring status of M. But it also provides us with a way to defuse the purported example of the contingent a priori. The knowledge at issue is only a priori in virtue of this creative link, an importantly different epistemic achievement from standard cases of a priori knowledge. One important moral to be drawn is that the a priori/a posteriori distinction does not appear to be slicing the epistemological beast at its joints.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Philosophy,University of Geneva,2 rue de Candolle,CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland., Email:

Publication date: 2010-06-01

  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more