more from C.I. Lewis

Single Idea 9365

[catalogued under 12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 7. A Priori from Convention]

Full Idea

The a priori contains principles which can be maintained in the face of all experience, representing the initiative of the mind. But they are subject to alteration on pragmatic grounds, if expanding experience shows their intellectual infelicity.

Gist of Idea

We can maintain a priori principles come what may, but we can also change them


C.I. Lewis (A Pragmatic Conception of the A Priori [1923], p.373)

Book Reference

Peirce,James,Dewey etc: 'Pragmatism - The Classic Writings', ed/tr. Thayer,H.S. [Hackett 1982], p.373

A Reaction

[compressed] This simply IS Quine's famous 'web of belief' picture, showing how firmly Quine is in the pragmatist tradition. Lewis treats a priori principles as a pragmatic toolkit, which can be refined to be more effective. Not implausible...