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style="text-align: center;">A posteriori/a priori

Any necessary truth, whether a priori
or a posteriori, could not
have turned out otherwise.
Saul Kripke (1940–) US philosopher –
in Naming and Necessity (1980)


A posteriori/a priori

A posteriori – Knowledge generated from facts based on societal and personal experience. Here, knowledge follows facts. On the Other hand, a priori is something where knowledge is generated mostly from intuition and predictions first and facts follow.

The a posteriori proposition is simple to understand; viz., "charcoal is black", "the girl is beautiful", "the room temperature was 34 Deg C last night" etc are knowledge and a posteriori statements based on facts. A priori statements are tricky as true values representing knowledge are based on reason and logic rather than facts; for example, "(a+b)^2 = a^2+b^2+2ab" has nothing to do with facts. The knowledge here is based on reasoning only. At times such knowledge which are a priori are also based on beliefs rather than reason. For example the statement that "ghosts can fly"; "God is omnipresent" etc are a priori knowledge.

Key figures

Descartes -‘I think, therefore I am’
Wittgenstein - Foundations of logic.
Immanuel Kant - Although knowledge is derived from experience, it’s possible to have knowledge of objects prior to experience, that is most closely associated with these terms.

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