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On the Obvious

Robin Jeshion
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 60, No. 2 (Mar., 2000), pp. 333-355
DOI: 10.2307/2653489
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2653489
Page Count: 23
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On the Obvious
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Abstract

Infallibilism about a priori justification is the thesis that for an agent A to be a priori justified in believing p, that which justifies A's belief that p must guarantee the truth of p. No analogous thesis is thought to obtain for empirically justified beliefs. The aim of this article is to argue that infallibilism about the a priori is an untenable philosophical position and to provide theoretical understanding why we not only can be, but rather must be, a priori justified in believing some false propositions. The argument develops notions of obviousness and conceptual understanding as a means of affording insight into the conditions for having a priori justification and, consequently, into why infallibilism cannot stand.

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