A priori

[Latin, from an antecedent ]. An a priori argument is when we deduce a fact from something antecedent, as when we infer certain effects from given causes. All mathematical proofs are of the a priori kind, whereas judgments in the law courts are of the a posteriori evidence; we infer the animus from the act. (See A Posteriori.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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