Philosophical Studies

, Volume 175, Issue 3, pp 809–830 | Cite as

Actuality and the a priori

  • Fabio LampertEmail author


We consider a natural-language sentence that cannot be formally represented in a first-order language for epistemic two-dimensional semantics. We also prove this claim in the “Appendix” section. It turns out, however, that the most natural ways to repair the expressive inadequacy of the first-order language render moot the original philosophical motivation of formalizing a priori knowability as necessity along the diagonal.


Two-dimensional semantics Actuality A priori Expressive power 



I am deeply grateful to I-Sen Chen, Alex Kocurek, Hanti Lin, Harrison Smith-Jaoudi, Shawn Standefer, and Lloyd Humberstone for comments on different versions of this paper. Thanks also to Adam Sennet, Greg Ray, Ted Shear, G. J. Mattey, Rachel Boddy, Tyrus Fisher, Rohan French, and Greg Restall for many helpful conversations and suggestions. This paper has been presented at the Philosophy Department of the University of California, Davis; the Davis Logic, Language, Epistemology, and Mathematics Working Group; and the Logic Seminar at the University of Melbourne, Australia. I want to express my gratitude to the audiences for many insightful questions and suggestions. Finally, I am thankful to Andrew Parisi for encouraging me to write this paper, as well as to an anonymous referee for comments and advice.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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