first principle

noun
any axiom, law, or abstraction assumed and regarded as representing the highest possible degree of generalization.
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World English Dictionary
first principle
 
n
1.  one of the fundamental assumptions on which a particular theory or procedure is thought to be based
2.  an axiom of a mathematical or scientific theory

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
The first principle is that groups should be composed of people with knowledge
  relevant to a topic.
The key to getting something out of those types of cognitive activities sort of
  relates to the first principle of seeking novelty.
It's the first principle in running a police organization.
The weak and the botched must perish: that is the first principle of our
  humanity.
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