Epistemology: A priori or A posteriori?

Epistemology is basically the study of knowledge. Webster defines it as: “The theory of knowledge, esp. with regard to its methods, validity, and scope.” The next step it to define what knowledge is. Again, I will offer Webster’s definition: “Information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.”

We already have a problem.

The very language used to describe the word ‘knowledge’ forces it into the container of A posteriori knowledge, which is anything learned after birth, i.e. from experience. What are we to do with a baby’s instincts, reflexes, ability to swim, to cry, to recognize the mother’s voice, the intuitive understanding of gravity and interpretation of light, or the baby’s presupposition to understanding, mimicking, and producing language?

Our culture’s definition of knowledge answers the question “Is there any knowledge before the fact aka a priori?” The answer is no.

Behold the bondage of language.


Absolute Knowledge is a whimsical and unobtainable notion. All knowledge depends on the existence of conscious minds. Objective information is information that is true outside or apart from human bias. This is obtainable in some sense, but not in an absolute sense. Thus, knowledge is the collection of statements the group with the most power believes to be true. If the group with the most power believes the rock is blue, and the individual believes it is black, well, we know how the individual will be dealt with.

Now, this definition of knowledge allows for some ugly conclusions. History has been a great teacher in this regard. What did Copernicus’s truth mean to the Catholic Church? What did Goebbel’s truth mean to the rest of the world? What did Iraq’s truth mean to the Bush Administration? What has the truth of a weaker minority ever meant when opposed by a powerful majority?

Truth and knowledge is a byproduct of power.

So the question that follows is what is the best system to implement which allows for the least biased truth to reign free? Our society’s answer began with myths, then religions, and now is called science.  Science is the best system we have produced thus far in our quest to attain knowledge.


As mythology and religion were exalted in their day, so too is science now. Science has its temples, its monuments, its high priests, its bibles, and its worshipers. Behold the colleges, the theoretical theorists whose work can be understood by none but themselves, the miles long particle smashers, the textbooks, and the mass of students and pseudofollowers. Science also has its charlatans. Beware of bad science. Science is a system created by humans. It is not absolute, but it is the best we have. Science's followers and leaders currently are the powerful majority, thus the gatekeepers and distributors of truth for our age.

The Individual
A choice can be made by the individual. S/he can choose their own "truth." Many of us do this without awareness. Most of our truths will adhere with physical laws, but the metaphysical universe is your play ground. You can create your own God. Do you want ghosts? Do you want mechanized elves? Its your chose to make. Create a system that brings you and those around you the greatest happiness. However, beware; the group will react if your beliefs are too different. Choose how far you care to deviate from the heard.