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Publication Details

The Problem of A Priori in Knowledge

(Original title: Problém a priori v poznaní)
Filozofia, 23 (1968), 5, 492-503.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
The problem of a priori is one of the most important problems in philosophy and concerns almost all basic categories of the theory of knowledge and, partly, also ontology. It is explicitly elaborated mainly in Kant's philosophy but can be found, in different modifications, on each stage of the history of thought since long ago. It has not lost its actualness even today. The attitude towards its solution devides two antagonistic gnoseologies, i. e., rationalism and empiricism. The history of the problem of a priori is concentrated in their controversies. In the present paper, the individual aspects as well as presuppositions of the formulation of the problem are analysed and wider connections concerning world outlook and ontology are pointed out in which rationalism acted, as a rule, as the theory of knowledge of objective idealism. Semantic analysis of the concept of a priori reveals several metaphysical presuppositions, on the basis of which rationalistic conceptions were constructed. The problem of a priori has a different meaning in logic and a different one in the theory of knowledge. The sphere of logical a priori includes all principles of proving, explaining, categories of content as well as the syntactical norms of logical operations, but first of all the elementary knowledge, the so-called axioms. A priori in its gnoseological meaning refers to all the presuppositions, conditions and causes which influence the form and content of knowledge. A priori manifests itself in knowledge both in the form of attitude from which we understand the given phenomenon, and as the anticipation of future reality. Particularly the latter is of basic practical significance, since the success of human activity depends on it. The logical argumentation and purposeful adequate activities which form the essence of „reason“, represent a quality which is ontogenetically and phylogenetically gained, i. e., not innate, in permanent activity, practice as in the objective basis of our existence.
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