I am reading an English translation of Critique of Pure Reason by Kant and came across the statement "if we have a proposition which is thought in conjunction with its own necessity, we have an a priori judgement".

What do we mean by "is thought in conjunction with its own necessity", can it be translated to if the statement always true or false irrespective of context?

I am going through various articles about necessity but I am unable to get the essence of what it means. Can someone provide a detailed explanation for someone with little background in philosophy and some examples as well if possible?

  • It means thinking the proposition while judging it as necessarily true. What "necessarily true" means is not the subject of this quote, be it always true irrespective of context or something else, but what Kant meant by necessity is not that. It meant true independently of experience, a priori, but of course it does entail that it will always be true in fact too. However, the converse does not hold.
    – Conifold
    Aug 15 at 3:47
  • "thinking the proposition" what does this mean ? Another thing is if necessity means independent of experience and a priori also means the same then saying if is thought in conjunction with its own necessity then it's a priori would mean if something is independent of experience then it's independent of experience Aug 15 at 4:24
  • Sorry if the comments are too naive, I'm new to philosophy, some reading material on what necessity is would help. Aug 15 at 4:27
  • 1
    Yes, Kant uses universal and necessary as signs of a priori, which stands for independent of experience. He does not focus on defining necessity as such, the meaning is understood colloquially as "could not possibly be otherwise". The differences between necessity, apriority, universality were not thematized until much later.
    – Conifold
    Aug 15 at 4:37

"A proposition which is thought in conjunction with its own necessity" means a proposition for which understanding the meaning of the proposition entails understanding that the proposition is true. So that's how he's defining an a priori judgment: you know the proposition is true just by understanding the meaning of the proposition.

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