a priori


a pri·o·ri

adjective \ˌä-prē-ˈr-ē, ˌa-; ˌā-(ˌ)prī-ˈr-ˌī, -ˌprē-ˈr-ē\

: relating to what can be known through an understanding of how certain things work rather than by observation

Full Definition of A PRIORI

a :  deductive
b :  relating to or derived by reasoning from self-evident propositions — compare a posteriori
c :  presupposed by experience
a :  being without examination or analysis :  presumptive
b :  formed or conceived beforehand
a priori adverb
apri·or·i·ty \-ˈr-ə-tē\ noun

Examples of A PRIORI

  1. There's no a priori reason to think your expenses will remain the same in a new city.
  2. <an a priori argument for the defendant's innocence>

Origin of A PRIORI

Latin, literally, from the former
First Known Use: 1652

a priori

   (Concise Encyclopedia)

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 (see Scholasticism). Immanuel Kant initiated their current usage, pairing the analytic-synthetic distinction with the a priori–a posteriori distinction to define his theory of knowledge.


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