A priori and a posteriori

The term a priori (Latin a / from, from ... ago ' and Latin prior, the front, previous, first [ of two ], the following '; correctly latin actually "a priority ") was in the scholastic philosophy as a translation of Aristotle's distinction between " proteron " and " hysteron " used (condition and conditional ). The term comes from there in the 16th century as Syntagma in the German specialist language.

In modern philosophy, the term epistemic property to judgments: judgments a priori can be made without basis in experience, they are conditions of experience or derived from these. In contrast, judgments are a posteriori. In general, all analytical judgments are considered a priori. Your judgment theoretical meaning of the terms a priori and a posteriori since the mid 17th century, but at least since Immanuel Kant

Derived from the more recent use of a priori knowledge refers to knowledge that is independent of experience (see priorism ). In contrast to this is empirical or experience- dependent knowledge that has been obtained, in particular through its own sensory perception. Therefore, issues that are fixed already with the adoption of certain conditions " a priori " as a priori be called ordinary language and in various technical language contexts.

History of Philosophy

Of modern rationalism

In the traditional theories of knowledge of modern Europe ( rationalism and empiricism ) was generally assumed that at least in the area of mathematics and logic a priori knowledge is possible. A part of the Enlightenment project examined the question of whether it could provide in the field of science and ethics such inescapable laws in order to compete with the validity claim of religious revelation can. Only a priori judgments were able to lay claim to and do not necessarily just happen, because of the present situation to be true.

Rationalists such as René Descartes and Gottfried Leibniz insisted that people without empiricism have epistemic access to such truths ( sensory experience ), while empiricists such as John Locke and David Hume only judgments on the activities of one's mind confers on the status of a priori judgments.

Immanuel Kant

In Kant's philosophy, which is to form a synthesis of rationalism and empiricism, are structural conditions of the experiential world, such as the categories or the structures of space and time, which Kant calls " forms of sensible intuition ," a priori, since they transcendental conditions of experience are at all. He uses the term - initially in the sense of the rationalist tradition - for insights that are not based on concrete empirical experience and therefore may take the form of universal and necessary judgments. But in dismissal from the rationalism he keeps innate concepts of genera, species or individuals impossible. Not the structures of the world itself, but only that of our experience are a priori. The faculty of cognition a priori can not identify any individual objects in the world, but to access the lying in his own conditions of knowledge, the categories of the understanding and the forms of intuition. Since the same structures and cognition must also be used for the knowledge a posteriori, are a priori recognized rules and contexts for these. From Kant's position follows that individual objects are visible only in so far as those given by the a priori knowledge conditions are communicable. As objects regardless of this exchange, the so-called things are designed "in itself", therefore, is not recognizable.

A study that relates to the past in recognizing self terms and conditions of all knowledge, Kant calls transcendental. This methodological approach he referred to as transcendental philosophy. Kant's theory of the a priori is found mainly in his epistemological major work, the Critique of Pure Reason and in the Prolegomena.

Deconstruction and discourse analysis

In the continuation of critiques of classic transcendental philosophy, as developed in Martin Heidegger, theorists have especially of late modern French philosophy as Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, the prerequisite solid, criticized a priori set conditions and instead of quasi- transcendental conditions spoken. According to these approaches are the basic structures of experience, of thought and action not eternal truths, but an expression of the historical and cultural conditions. This has both epistemological and practical consequences, although the current valid basic structures for the people under those conditions are inescapable and so remain for them a priori.

Foucault's discourse analysis, for example, introduces the concept of a historical a priori, which is described as follows:

"I mean to denote a priori, this is not a condition of validity judgments but reality condition for statements. It is [ ... ] therefore [ ... ] the conditions of emergence of statements, the law of their coexistence with others, expose the specific form of their way of being and the principles by which they persist, to transform and disappear. A priori not of truths that are never said or really could be given of the experience; but a history that is given, because it is the really predicted things. "