Say It In Latin: A Posteriori And A Priori

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The Latin phrase a posteriori refers to the process of inductive reasoning. It means “from what comes after” or a proposition based on experience. A close relative, also used in philosophical arguments, is a priori, which is knowledge based on previous understanding of the concept.  It means literally from what comes before. A priori can be a mathematical equation, or any other agreed upon fact deriving from the agreement.  It would be correct to call the statement “It is cloudy outside.” a posteriori because I looked outside and can see the fact that it is cloudy now. The statement, “Cumulous clouds are the harbinger of rain.” is an assumption based on scientific agreement, and therefore is a priori.  We agree on the definition of cumulous clouds without the need to experience them directly. “That bow is red” is another a priori belief.  We all have agreed on what red is…

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