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usage/definition of "Prior to"

 
 
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 05:06 pm
I know what "prior to" means in most instances; ex: "The robber mugged the man prior to killing him."

But in a formal context I'm lost:
"Liberal theory is logically prior to realism and institutionalism because it defines the conditions under which they hold."
"Demands of individuals are analytically prior to politics."

I notice there is an adverb before the phrase... any clues?
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 05:19 pm
@brokencdplayer,
Those are abstract conceptions. You should get a lady's permission prior to trying to get her brassiere hooks undone.

And a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse.
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jgweed
 
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Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 08:12 am
@brokencdplayer,
"Prior to" has several meanings. It can mean a temporal "before" and it can mean a prior step in thinking about a topic (logically prior).
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jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 08:12 am
@brokencdplayer,
"Prior to" has several meanings. It can mean a temporal "before" and it can mean a prior step in thinking about a topic (logically prior).
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PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 11:52 am
robber / mugged / man
(when?) prior to / killing/ him.
(means "before')


the following are predicates meaning "position"
theory / is \prior

Demands / are \ prior
to / politics."

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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 12:57 pm
@brokencdplayer,

Quote:
Liberal theory is logically prior to realism and institutionalism because it defines the conditions under which they hold."
"Demands of individuals are analytically prior to politics."


I may be wrong, but I consider the grammar of these two sentences to be crap.

And they are illogical too.

Open the window, get the book where you saw them, and throw it out as hard as you can.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 02:57 pm
@McTag,
Will you explain Mac? 4 things. Why each is crap grammar and why they are illogical.

And books should never be thrown out of windows.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 09:57 am
@spendius,

I prepared a thoughtful parsing of these, but went back to check a fact, and I lost my text.

However suffice to say that "prior to" means "before". There's no need to make it more complicated than that. And if you substitute "before" in these sentences, you get a syntactical smorgasbord.
It's jargon, in my humble opinion.
Good ideas can be very plainly put. If it sounds overcomplicated or obscure, the fault is generally not with the reader, it's because the author doesn't know what he's talking about.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 10:04 am
@McTag,
But "prior to" does have shades of irony in some contexts. I still don't see how you arrive at your four separate conclusions. I think it's a style choice. I have no objections. I think I know what the author meant.

How would you phrase them to mean the same?
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