Online: 4. Arthur Pap Vorlesung 2021 | 4th Arthur Pap-Lecture, January 27, 2021 |Cheryl Misak, University of Toronto

Pragmatism and the A Priori: Lewis (C.I.), Ramsey, and Carnap

Cheryl Misak, University of Toronto

Pragmatism and the A Priori: Lewis (C.I.), Ramsey, and Carnap

Cheryl Misak

Zusammen mit Vienna Circle Society/Togehter with Vienna Circle Society

Date: 27. January 2021
Time: 15h00
Plattform: Moodle Collaborate
Access: to appear soon


In 1923 the great American pragmatist and logician, C.I. Lewis, wrote a paper titled “A Pragmatic Conception of the A Priori”, in which he argued that mathematics, logic, scientific theories, and causal connections are part of our fallible web of belief, subject to overthrow by experience. I will trace this idea from Lewis to the work of the great English pragmatist Frank Ramsey in 1929, and then, more surprisingly, to the work from the 1930s of great logical empiricist Rudolf Carnap. (I will also show where Arthur Pap fits in this tradition.) The aim is to remove another brick in the wall that is supposed to stand between pragmatism and the Vienna Circle, and to argue in favour of the pragmatist solution to the empiricist’s problem about legitimate beliefs that go beyond the scope of experience.


Cheryl Misak is University Professor and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. She works on American pragmatism, the history of analytic philosophy, ethics and political philosophy, and the philosophy of medicine.

Her books include Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers, Cambridge Pragmatism, The American Pragmatists, Truth and the End of Inquiry, and Truth, Politics, Morality.

She has had visiting fellowships or positions at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, the Free University in Berlin, Trinity College Cambridge, St. John’s College Cambridge, and New York University.

In 2013 she completed a long run in academic administration at the University of Toronto, culminating as Vice-President and Provost.



Institut Wiener Kreis | Wiener Kreis Gesellschaft
Online Moodle Collaborate