a priori

A priori literally means "from before." If you know how many red, white, and blue gum balls are in the gum ball machine, this a priori knowledge can help you predict the color of the next ones to be dispensed.

In Latin a priori means “what comes first.” A priori understandings are the assumptions that come before the rest of the assessment, argument, or analysis. If you are making an argument that pre-school children who are read to at home by family members come to school better prepared to learn, the a priori understanding is that children learn by hearing before they are able to read.

Definitions of a priori

adj involving deductive reasoning from a general principle to a necessary effect; not supported by fact

“an a priori judgment”
analytic, analytical
of a proposition that is necessarily true independent of fact or experience
involving inferences from general principles
a posteriori
involving reasoning from facts or particulars to general principles or from effects to causes
synthetic, synthetical
of a proposition whose truth value is determined by observation or facts
of reasoning; proceeding from particular facts to a general conclusion
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adj based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment

theoretic, theoretical
concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations

adv derived by logic, without observed facts

a posteriori
derived from observed facts

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