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In epistemology, knowledge that is independent of all particular experiences, as opposed to a posteriori (or empirical) knowledge, which derives from experience. The terms have their origins in the medieval Scholastic debate over Aristotelian concepts (seeScholasticism). Immanuel Kant initiated their current usage, pairing the analytic-synthetic distinction with the a priori–a posteriori distinction to define his theory of knowledge.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on a priori, visit Britannica.com.