Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


I Don’t Know What I’m Doing But I Know How To Use Capital Letters! – Claire

Hello!  Welcome to another blog post where I use capital letters to make it look like I know what I’m doing! (which, I think I might…but do I know or Know?  Let’s find out together!)

How to get through midterms 101: High School Musical and suffering together!

P1. If innate knowledge is instinctual
P2. And experiential knowledge is wisdom
Proposition: Then truth [knowledge] is determined by a synthesis of instinct and wisdom.

My first premise, innate knowledge is instinctual, is one that seems rather obvious. We don’t come out of the womb speaking a fluent language and knowing how to calculate the circumference of a circle (could you imagine?), but we do have the basis of what many would consider to be a type of knowledge. Our body knows how to function, how to keep us breathing and we have instinctual reactions; too hot? Cry! Too cold? Cry! Hungry? Cry! Desperate for attention? Cry!

Have to write a midterm? Cry!

Innate knowledge, therefore, seems to come from our body and brain’s instincts. We all have instincts, whether we are aware of them or not. We are also constantly learning whether we acknowledge this or not. To me, learning without comprehending, gaining facts and information, is the difference between knowing and Knowing. What do you mean, Claire? Are you just trying to recycle your metaphysics project? Yes! Yes, I am! (No, I’m not Mr. Jackson, I’m just trying to be funny and failing) After spending so much time thinking about being vs Being, I couldn’t let the idea go. I immediately made a connection between being vs Being and knowing vs Knowing, and it’s not just in the capital letters! Let’s review:

“It is that awareness vs your physicality that is the difference between being (existing) and Being (living).  This concept of being vs Being was brought about by German philosopher Martin Heidegger, who challenged the direction that western metaphysics had been set on.” —Did ‘The Boy Who Lived’ Truly Live, Claire Lundin (me)

Yes, I just quoted myself.  No, I am not ashamed (okay, well I am a little).  This was one of my findings in our metaphysics unit, and as previously mentioned I found a link between what I learned then and what I am now learning about knowledge.  Once again, it is awareness that makes all the difference between knowing (learning) and Knowing (being aware of your learning and comprehending it) OR knowing (instinctual) vs Knowing (wisdom). Innate knowledge tends be kept in an internal place and is not shared with others —it is merely a tool we use to function.

My second premise, experiential knowledge is wisdom, is the opposite of instinct. This kind of knowledge is acquired through time and experience. When we are exposed to things, when repetition takes place, when we use our senses and creativity, when we are engaged and ask questions and allow our minds to be curious, that is when we are Knowing. The definition of wisdom is “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement,” according to Oxford Dictionary. This cannot exist without time and experience, and the capability to understand and comprehend what it is that you are learning. Experiential knowledge can come from both an external and an internal place, however, in my opinion, in order for it to become wisdom you have to take this knowledge and make it external for others to grasp as well.

Now, where did these ideas come from?  After reading up on my good friend Immanuel Kant (I don’t actually know him, obviously, but this dude has helped me out a lot so in my head we are now friends, you see?) I realized we had similar ideas in the sense that we both believe you are born with knowledge, which is to say, knowledge you have before experience (a priori) and you can come to understand knowledge through experience (empirical knowledge).  In this case, a priori knowledge supports the concept of knowing while empirical knowledge supports the idea of Knowing.

Finally, my proposition: Truth [knowledge] is determined by a synthesis of instinct and wisdom. These different forms of knowledge fuse together so we can both function and learn. Similar to not being able to live (Being) without first existing (being), you cannot gain knowledge without first functioning and learning. It is how we choose to use our functioning selves, how we choose to process what we learn that becomes Knowledge.


One Response to I Don’t Know What I’m Doing But I Know How To Use Capital Letters! – Claire

  1. bryanjack says:

    Really well done, Claire! An engaging and entertaining read that clearly lays out your premises and conclusion (also does a nice job of extending your metaphysics learning) in a personable written voice.


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