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I am only familiar with 'a priori', such as 'a priori conditions'. Now a friend uses the word as follows:

"the supremacy of nature and the priori and inevitability of death and of history."

I do not know if maybe they mean 'priority', or maybe they mean something esoteric and beyond me.

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The sentence doesn't quite make sense to me, priori or not. Could you give a complete sentence or more context? –  simchona Aug 18 '11 at 2:23
    
"...glorifying the strength of woman, the supremacy of nature and the priori and inevitability of death and of history." It is quite possible it does -not- make sense! –  Bobbi Bennett Aug 18 '11 at 2:28
    
I'd be interested to see what someone else says. I never took Latin, so I have no idea how priori should be used. My initial reaction, though, is that its wrong. –  simchona Aug 18 '11 at 2:29
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I think it's just a mistake. I wouldn't worry unduly about it. –  Neil Coffey Aug 18 '11 at 2:35
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As far as I know, in English "priori" is used only in the combination "a priori" from Latin. So I agree that in this quote it is an error. –  GEdgar Aug 18 '11 at 2:36

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I believe using 'priori' by itself is incorrect. It should be 'a priori' (meaning prior to). Similarly, using 'posteriori' by itself is incorrect. It should be 'a posteriori' (meaning posterior to).

Here's an excerpt from the wiki link that describes them:

The terms "a priori" and "a posteriori" are used in philosophy to distinguish two different types of knowledge, justification, or argument: 'a priori knowledge' is known independently of experience (conceptual knowledge), and 'a posteriori knowledge' is proven through experience. Thus, they are primarily used as adjectives to modify the noun "knowledge", or taken to be compound nouns that refer to types of knowledge (for example, "a priori knowledge"). However, "a priori" is sometimes used as an adjective to modify other nouns, such as "truth". Additionally, philosophers often modify this use. For example, "apriority" and "aprioricity" are sometimes used as nouns to refer (approximately) to the quality of being a priori."

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Thanks. The author explains she intended priori as in Kant's priori instinct (sic). So she should use 'a priori'. –  Bobbi Bennett Aug 18 '11 at 13:07

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