An example of the “synthetic a priori”: On how it helps us to widen our philosophical horizons

Wojciech Żełaniec


A putative example (not Kant-style) of the “synthetic a priori” is examined with a view to, not establishing whether or not it truly belongs to that category but to drawing a philosophical lesson from the fact that it, or a similar proposition, is no longer indisputably empirically true. The example is “No surface is at the same time and for the same observer red all over and green.” An example is provided of how philosophy could deal with such recalcitrant evidence as may crop up and contradict such seemingly self-evident “synthetic a priori.”

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The official journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, founded in 1969 as one of the first scholarly journals in the field, Semiotica features articles reporting results of research in all branches of semiotic studies, in-depth reviews of selected current literature in the field, and occasional guest editorials and reports. The journal also publishes occasional Special Issues devoted to topics of particular interest.