David J. Stump
Conceptual Change and the Philosophy of Science
Alternative Interpretations of the A Priori
Ever since Kant argued that there was a category of truths, the synthetic a priori, that grounded the possibility of empirical knowledge, philosophers have debated the concept of a priori knowledge in science. Are there kinds of scientific knowledge that are not based in sense experience? What is the status of mathematical claims in science? David J. Stump, professor of philosophy at the University of San Francisco, argues that there is a priori knowledge in science, but that it is a pragmatic and dynamic. In Conceptual Change and the Philosophy of Science: Alternative Interpretations of the A Priori (Routledge, 2015), Stump argues that the a priori is better understood as the ‘constitutive elements’ of science – the truths that must be presupposed for empirical inquiry to take place, but without implying that these truths are universal and fixed as Kant held. Stump provides an accessible critical understanding of post-Kantian conceptions of the a priori and contrasts his view with those of Quine, Friedman and others.