One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge which proceeds from observations or experiences to the deduction of probable causes.Compare with a priori
- ‘Historically the a priori / a posteriori distinction has been closely associated with that between the innate and the learned.’
- ‘This volume presents the most up-to-date information available on a posteriori error estimation for finite element approximation in mechanics and mathematics.’
- ‘This paper proposes a novel probabilistic variational method with deterministic annealing for the maximum a posteriori estimation of complex stochastic systems.’
- ‘In the absence of a clear characterization of the a priori / a posteriori distinction, it is by no means obvious what is being asserted or what is being denied.’
- ‘And, as seen earlier in connection with his ‘logic’, his concepts of demonstration and proof straddle the a priori / a posteriori distinction.’
- 1.1 (loosely) of the nature of an afterthought or subsequent rationalization.
- ‘The "author" is an a posteriori rationalization of the text.’
- ‘That's an a posteriori rationalization for "looking nice," if ever there was one, but I'll take the designer at his word.’
- ‘These sentences are called synthetic and they express an a posteriori thought.’
1In a way based on reasoning from known facts or past events rather than by making assumptions or predictions.
- ‘This lays them under a necessity of speaking a posteriori, if I may be allowed the phrase.’
- 1.1sentence adverb (loosely) with hindsight; as an afterthought.
- ‘The first thesis states that value generation is now primarily the result of social cooperation; the second that there is no longer a direct link between production and valorization, and that the latter is only realized a posteriori in the financial economy.’
Early 17th century: Latin, ‘from what comes after’.
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