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a priori Line breaks: a pri¦ori
Pronunciation: /ˌeɪ prʌɪˈɔːrʌɪ/
/ˌɑː prɪˈɔːri/

Definition of a priori in English:


Relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge which proceeds from theoretical deduction rather than from observation or experience: a priori assumptions about human nature
More example sentences
  • And, as seen earlier in connection with his ‘logic’, his concepts of demonstration and proof straddle the a priori / a posteriori distinction.
  • Historically the a priori / a posteriori distinction has been closely associated with that between the innate and the learned.
  • This conclusion is not, however, a complete vindication of his early scepticism: for the a priori / empirical distinction, which he sought to bring down as well, is both defensible and worth defending.


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In a way based on theoretical deduction rather than empirical observation: sexuality may be a factor but it cannot be assumed a priori
More example sentences
  • I argue that an ethical critique is implicit in his objections to any attempt to speak a priori about language and thought.
  • This much of the theory's content can be specified, so to speak, a priori, before taking physical contingencies into account.
  • ‘It is difficult to conclude a priori that teeth which spontaneously pit are stronger teeth.’


Late 16th century: Latin, 'from what is before'.



Pronunciation: /eɪˈprʌɪəˌrɪz(ə)m/
Example sentences
  • Philosophers who advocate a naturalistic approach to epistemology sometimes intend only to reject the high apriorism mandated by the idea of epistemology as first philosophy.
  • Some neo-positivists cannot forgive him for his anti-positivism, and some empiricists cannot be patient with his apriorism.
  • Indeed, I spent a considerable amount of time during my post-doc year studying Austrian economics at NYU trying to convince a number of Austrians to abandon their commitment to apriorism.

Words that rhyme with a priori

a fortiori, a posteriori, memento mori, sori, thesauri, tori

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