At one time, many philosophers held that faultless "laws of thought" were somehow inherent, a priori, in the very nature of mind. This belief was twice shaken in the past century; first when Russell and his successors showed how the logic men employ can be defective, and later when Freud and Piaget started to reveal the tortuous ways in which our minds actually develop.
The prerequisite of contrapuntal art, more conspicuous in the work of Bach than in that of any other composer, is an ability to conceive a priori of melodic identities which when transposed, inverted, made retrograde, or transformed rhythmically will yet exhibit, in conjunction with the original subject matter, some entirely new but completely harmonious profile.Glenn Gould
"Rules of simultaneous ensemble constraint can't be assumed a priori to be the kinds of rules or rest on the same foundations as rules for constraint on succession. They may well be similar, but they may well not be similar also. It seems to me that ensemble constraints must first be understood in their own terms, within musical cultures individually and comparitively, looking to what appear to be basic principles in each in light of the others, I would call such a study "comparative counterpoint."harold powers
We have a priori reasons for believing that in every sentence there is some one order of words more effective than any other; and that this order is the one which presents the elements of the proposition in the succession in which they may be most readily put together.Herbert Spencer
[A]s a graduate student at Columbia University, I remember the a priori derision of my distinguished stratigraphy professor toward a visiting Australian drifter [a supporter of the theory of continental drift]. […] Today […] my own students would dismiss with even more derision anyone who denied the evident truth of continental drift a prophetic madman is at least amusing; a superannuated fuddy-duddy is merely pitiful.stephen jay gould
Both a priori reasoning and experience teach us that as as these funds grow larger the geometrical rate of growth by compound interest ultimately defeats itself.benjamin graham
Notwithstanding their attacks on the basic conception of rationalism, on synthetic a priori judgments, that is, material propositions that cannot be contradicted by any experience, the empiricist posits the forms of being as constant.max horkheimer
I have never had the least sympathy with the a priori reasons against orthodoxy, and I have by nature and disposition the greatest possible antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school. Nevertheless I know that I am, in spite of myself, exactly what the Christian would call, and, so far as I can see, is justified in calling, atheist and infidel.thomas henry huxley
Wherever Mathematics is mixed up with anything, which is outside its field, you will find attempts to demonstrate these merely conventional propositions a priori, and it will be your task to find out the false deduction in each case.carl gustav jacob jacobi
Nothing can better express the feelings of the scientist towards the great unity of the laws of nature than in Immanuel Kant's words: "Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing awe: the stars above me and the moral law within me."... Would he, who did not yet know of the evolution of the world of organisms, be shocked that we consider the moral law within us not as something given, a priori, but as something which has arisen by natural evolution, just like the laws of the heavens?Konrad Lorenz
Whether arrived at through reason or revelation… natural law is the highest law known to man. It is anchored in the very existential nature of man and is therefore a priori just.ilana mercer
I believe that there is a necessary connection in both directions between the physical and the mental, but that it cannot be discovered a priori. Opinion is strongly divided on the credibility of some kind of functionalist reductionism, and I won't go through my reasons for being on the antireductionist side of that debate. Despite significant attempts by a number of philosophers to describe the functional manifestations of conscious mental states, I continue to believe that no purely functionalist characterization of a system entails simply in virtue of our mental concepts that the system is conscious.thomas nagel
To me a Tory is a person who believes that authority is vested in institutions that's a carefully honed definition. We have made the law, not for extraneous reasons, not because it conforms with a priori specifications; it has been made by a particular institution in a particular way and can be changed by that institution in a particular way. A Tory therefore reposes the ultimate authority in institutions he is an example of collective man.enoch powell
Tormented by conflicting feelings, I appealed to reason ; and it is reason which, amid so many dogmatic contradictions, now forces the hypothesis upon me. A priori dogmatism, applying itself to God, has proved fruitless: who knows whither the hypothesis, in its turn, will lead us? I will explain therefore how, studying in the silence of my heart, and far from every human consideration, the mystery of social revolutions, God, the great unknown, has become for me an hypothesis, I mean a necessary dialectical tool.Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
The true function of logic ... as applied to matters of experience ... is analytic rather than constructive; taken a priori, it shows the possibility of hitherto unsuspected alternatives more often than the impossibility of alternatives which seemed prima facie possible. Thus, while it liberates imagination as to what the world may be, it refuses to legislate as to what the world is .bertrand russell
In the early 1920s, the Communists believed, a priori , that Germany and other European countries were ripe for internal revolution, and indeed Germany was not far from going Communist in these years. But later on, these hopes died, and Stalin, particularly after the ouster of the fanatic Trotsky, who always wanted immediate revolutions everywhere, settled down to calm concentration on “socialism in one country.”
The negations of post-structuralism and of certain varieties of deconstruction are precisely as dogmatic, as political as were the positivist equations of archival historicism. The "emptiness of meaning" postulate is no less a priori, no less a case of despotic reductionism than were, say, the axioms of economic and psycho-sociological causality in regard to the generation of meaning in literature and the arts in turn-of-the-century pragmatism and scientism.
Whether arrived at through reason or revelation… natural law is the highest law known to man. It is anchored in the very existential nature of man and is therefore a priori just.
I hope I may claim in the present work to have made it probable that the laws of arithmetic are analytic judgments and consequently a priori. Arithmetic thus becomes simply a development of logic, and every proposition of arithmetic a law of logic, albeit a derivative one. To apply arithmetic in the physical sciences is to bring logic to bear on observed facts; calculation becomes deduction.
Teleology,... as science, belongs to no Doctrine, but only to Criticism; and to the criticism of a special cognitive faculty, viz. Judgement. But so far as it contains principles a priori , it can and must furnish the method by which nature must be judged according to the principle of final causes.Immanuel Kant
If time is treated in modern physics as a dimension on a par with the dimensions of space, why should we a priori exclude the possibility that we are pulled as well as pushed along its axis? The future has, after all, as much or as little reality as the past, and there is nothing logically inconceivable in introducing, as a working hypothesis, an element of finality, supplementary to the element of causality, into our equations. It betrays a great lack of imagination to believe that the concept of "purpose" must necessarily be associated with some anthropomorphic deity.Arthur Koestler
Only a few years ago one could observe, at least among German psychologists, a quite pessimistic mood. After the initial successes of experimental psychology in its early stages, it seemed to become clearer and clearer that it would remain impossible for experimental method to press on beyond the psychology of perception and memory to such vital problems as those with which psychoanalysis was concerned. Weighty 'philosophical' and 'methodological' considerations seemed to make such an undertaking a priori impossible.
There is no pure visualization in the sense of a priori philosophies; every visualization is determined by previous sense perceptions, and any separation into perceptual space and space of visualization is not permissible, since the specifically visual elements of the imagination are derived from perceptual space. What led to the mistaken conception of pure visualization was rather an improper interpretation of the normative function... an essential element of all visual representations. Indeed, all arguments which have been introduced for the distinction of perceptual space and space of visualization are base on this normative component of the imagination.
Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience. In this respect our task must be to account for such experience in a manner independent of individual subjective judgement and therefor objective in the sense that it can be unambiguously communicated in ordinary human language.
In short, there are no empirical grounds for assuming that women have an à priori preference for contraception over abortion.
If we wish to express our ideas in terms of the concepts synthetic and analytic, we would have to point out that these concepts are applicable only to sentences that can be either true of false, and not to definitions. The mathematical axioms are therefore neither synthetic nor analytic, but definitions. ...Hence the question of whether axioms are a priori becomes pointless since they are arbitrary.
No one would dream of surrendering any practical security , for the advantages of which he is actually in possession, in deference of the a priori jurisprudence of a whole Academy of philosophers .
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