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Kant is a great and famous philosopher gave some arguments and contributions towards the knowledge of synthetic priori. He differentiated between a priori and a posteori whereby he gave the following distinctions between the two words. According to him, a priori knowledge does not have any dependence on sensual perception. Therefore a priori experience is very independent of experience. It does not depend on either experiential or non-experiential evidence and does not rest on any rational insights or intuitions at all (Giacomo, 2012).
Kant’s idea is that in some situations it can be reasonably default for a person to accept a preposition or even the same person can decide to accept certain presuppositions not depending on any evidence. Therefore a priori knowledge is just a certain special kind of knowledge which is solely based on a certain justification which is priori. One can be in a position to identify a priori because it expresses a statement which can be derived only by reason. For example, it is known that every triangle is made up by 180 degrees. This knowledge can be derived without any empirical experience. In conclusion, priori therefore is spelled out by three circumstances which argue that; priori is not derived from sense of any experience, it cannot go against any sense of experience and lastly priori can never be refuted by any sense of experience.
On the other hand, posteori knowledge is always derived from sense of experience whereby it comes from outside mind through sensory experience. If you want to know whether something is posteriori, you have to experience it by all your senses which is a very crucial and an important aspect of life. In short it is therefore something which exists and is usually found in reality. Posteriori is something which if it is true, it is a must for one to have knowledge about it since it expresses a fact which is empirical and which is only unknowable by reason.
Kant also distinguished between analytic and synthetic judgements. He describes analytic judgement as ‘elucidatory’ which when interpreted explains that all that which is implicit is at the end made to be explicit. Analytic judgement never add anything to the subject’s concept but what it does is that it dissect the concept and breaks it up into concepts which had previously been thought to be in it (Christine, 2012). There is a certain principle known as principle of contradiction which is usually applied in order to determine the truth of analytical judgements. In order to illustrate this statement well let us use an example of a square. The judgement that a square has five sides is contradicting itself because the concept that a square has got four sides is already in the mind since we know how a square looks like. Sometimes analytic judgements are of little or no use in the field of metaphysics. Analytical truths are those truths with logic contrary to synthetic truths which are usually based on facts.
A judgement is said to be synthetic if it has more than an elucidation of what is already believed through one of its many concepts. It shows what is already thought when talking and more so when thinking of a body. Because the predicate of a judgement which is synthetic is not thought throughout its subject, something else say Z must therefore be responsible for what unites the subject or the predicate. The Z in ordinary cases will be the experience but in some cases it will happen to be something which is very independent of the experience. Synthetic judgement do not have positive criterion although to the principle of contradiction they are still subject. Synthetic judgement may therefore either be empirical or a priori. Kant tend to believe that the concept of synthetic judgement was an insight which was original; which is usually validated independently of the experience which tries to give an explanation of a modest metaphysics and mathematics (Allen, 2004). Synthetic a priori judgements are very crucial because what they can do is to ensure the provision of new information that is genuine and true. He said that synthetic a priori judgements are not only possible but also provide basis for important portions of human knowledge at personal level. For example when we analyze the statement, ‘I don’t exist’ we find that it is false. It is not analytic. There is nothing in logic that shows that I must exist. My existence is therefore a synthetic truth. I don’t need to consult the senses to test this statement since my ability to sense anything at all is enough negate this statement. Since the statement is known and can be tested, it is there for a priori.
It is therefore very important for our learning things about the world so as to be able to reason against everything that is illogical and also in order to be able to forgo baseless superstitions.
Giacomo, V (2012): Synthetic a priori and mathematical account in Kant’s Philosophy. LED Edizioni Universitarie.
Christine, K (2012): Kant: Ground Work of the Metaphysics of Morals. (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy.) Cambridge University Press Publishers.
Allen, W (2004): Kant (Blackwell Great Minds.) Wiley Blackwell Publishers.