prolepsis

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Latin prolepsis, from Ancient Greek πρόληψις (prólēpsis, preconception, anticipation), from προλαμβάνω (prolambánō, take beforehand, anticipate).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

prolepsis (countable and uncountable, plural prolepses)

Examples (rhetoric)

Dead man walking. (He's not dead yet.)

Examples (grammar, rhetoric)

That noise, I just heard it again.

  1. (rhetoric) The assignment of something to a period of time that precedes it.
  2. (logic) The anticipation of an objection to an argument.
  3. (grammar, rhetoric) A construction that consists of placing an element in a syntactic unit before that to which it would logically correspond.
  4. (philosophy, epistemology) A so-called "preconception", i.e. a pre-theoretical notion which can lead to true knowledge of the world.
    • 2017, Attila Németh, Epicurus on the Self, page 42:
      Point (1) seems to imply that one may have a false judgement because of a mismatch between different criteria for truth. For example, my sensation is paired with a prolepsis of a horse, therefore I make an assertion that ‘there is a horse’, which upon further inspection may turn out to be a cow.
  5. (botany) Growth in which lateral branches develop from a lateral meristem, after the formation of a bud or following a period of dormancy, when the lateral meristem is split from a terminal meristem.
  6. (authorship) The practice of placing information about the ending of a story near the beginning, as a literary device.

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