Flipping through the pages of a new book I have just bought, I breathe in the new knowledge I am about to take in. But truly, is it knowledge or is it just what I already know and thus an exercise in revision?
Does life teach me or does life remind me?
Do I learn new things in life, or do I learn to apply my knowledge?
If life teaches us, can we remember that day when we were taught, for example, what red or redness means? Do we remember that day when we asked that profound question of what a chair is? Or what a table is, what the sky is, what clouds are?
Are these basic daily encounters, taught and learned in life or are they simply innate knowledge which we simply learn to recall and put into practice? Have we ever discovered what our legs are, or have we simply learned how to use them?
Am I learning the knowledge or am I being reminded what I already know? Am I learning concepts or am I learning how to put them into practice?
Therefore, is it knowledge a priori or is it knowledge a posteriori? Is it only one or the other or are we a product, a mixture, of both? Do I learn or do I practice knowledge?
When defining the terms used, a priori and a posteriori, one must note that these terms are founded on that level where a proposition is known. For a proposition to be known as a priori, it has to be independent of any experience or learning apart from the language used to express it. A proposition defined as a posteriori is learned on the basis of experience. Thus, the knowledge itself of how to define a proposition is indeed a posteriori.
The point which I would like to convey through these words is that not everything is obvious and not everything is to be taken for granted. Accepting knowledge just as we accept food on a plate may be dangerously deteriorating our society’s morals. There is no obvious and clear connection between impressions. What you might understand through a short article or a TV show is not the same as if you clearly understood something after conducting your own research. Refusing dogmas is not a selfish act, but is a result of intellectual pride that leads to a great sense of inquiry, thus producing a critique of the reasoning behind any ready-made solution presented as a fact.
Being analytic is crucial for the freedom of thought and of speech. One must not look into a word’s meaning in isolation but within a context. Thus, research does indeed give a context to what we are told so as to form our own knowledge and ideas. Discernment is a process which does not only give meaning but also a sense of belonging to our existence.