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Are There Synthetic A-Priori Propositions From a logical point of view the propositions that express human knowledge can be divided according to two distinctions First is the distinction between propositions that are a priori in the sense that they are knowable prior to experience and those that are a posteriori in the sense that they are knowable only after experience Second is the distinction between propositions that are analytic that is those in which the predicate is included in the subject and those that are synthetic that is those in which the predicate is not included in the subject Putting the terms of these two distinctions together gives us a fourfold classification of propositions Analytic a-priori propositions include such statements as All bachelors are unmarried and All squares have four sides Analytic a-posteriori propositions do not exist according to Kant because if the predicate is conceptually included in the subject the need for experience is irrelevant and unnecessary Also the negation of an analytic proposition is a contradiction but because any experience is contingent its opposite is logically possible and hence not contradictory Synthetic a-priori propositions include such statements as Every event has a cause and 7 5 12 Although it is not part of the concept of an event that it be a cause it is universally true and necessary that every event has a cause And because 12 is a different concept from seven five and plus it does not include any of them singly or jointly as a part of it Finally synthetic a-posteriori propositions include such statements as The cat is on the mat and It is raining They are straightforwardly and uncontroversially empirical propositions that are not necessary and are discoverable through observation perceptions by the senses Kants view that human experience is bounded by space and time and that it is intelligible only as a system of completely determined causal relations existing between events in the
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