a priori Discourses


Reasoned thought as the source of truth

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … scope of possible interpretation
  • Knowing is … considered thought and action
  • Learner is … a thinker
  • Learning is … reasoning
  • Teaching is … challenging (to think)




The phrase a priori is Latin for “from the earlier” (and it is typically contrasted with a posteriori, Latin for “from the later”). The term is used both to refer to truth claims that are reached by reasoned thought (e.g.., via deduction, tautologies, mathematics) and to categorize discourses that privilege argument over demonstration.


The phrase a priori is certainly useful for purposes of description and categorization of those discourses that assume separations of reasoned conclusion and observed evidence. As we aim to illustrate through this site, however, issues arise when it is coupled with a posteriori to generate a continuum that is imagined to span all claims to truth and all discourses on knowledge and learning.

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “a priori Discourses” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.

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