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Encyclopedia > A priori (law)
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adj. based on deduction or hypothesis, rather than on hard facts or knowledge. Also called a priori assumptions.

It is important to understand that the strength of a conclusion is a function both of the quality of the evidence provided in its support, and the a priori probability of the claim being supported. There can never be a single standard of "acceptable evidence" that will suffice to render every claim equally plausible. Suppose, for example, that a reasonably reliable source tells us (a) that President Clinton has vetoed legislation that places restrictions on trade with China and (b) that Newt Gingrich has switched to the Democratic party. Most people would be much more confident of the truth of the first report than of the second, even though the source is identical. The difference lies in the a priori plausibility of the claims.



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