Everything we consciously understand really requires quite a bit of a priori knowledge. Complex thoughts and sentiments are integrations of other lower-level, less complex (albeit more significant) knowledge.

What do we find when we keep asking "why?"?

I feel like the Periodic Table of the Elements is down there, what is the actual base

  • Welcome to philosophy.se! To clarify your question: You assume, that if we keep asking why, that we will find some fundamental structure, right? Is it, that you believe, that this foundation will be of a priori knowledge? And that this knowledge is capable of stopping the "why-regress"? But if we assume all that, what exactly is it you want to know? – Einer Nov 5 '14 at 17:31
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    We find that we are the sort of creatures that ask why. – virmaior Nov 7 '14 at 4:16
  • Why find what we >really< >>really<< >>>really<<< want. That is what all why's are about. – Asphir Dom Nov 10 '14 at 18:49

Interpreting your question to be about introspective analysis, this question seems be unanswerable -- the roots of our knowledge are pre-conscious.

Infants have some kinds of knowledge, and yet, as far as we can tell, are not conscious of that knowledge in the manner that a more mature human can access. Similarly, there is no "I" there to ask why during the phases of sleep where we are not conscious. Thus trying to chase down the roots of knowledge lead back to these non-conscious forms of knowledge which are unable to be investigated via (dialectic) introspection.

Maybe meditative techniques provide ways of accessing these pre-conscious forms of knowledge but the resulting insights are inexpressible in language, and psychology/neuroscience provides at least some objective descriptions of aspects of these forms of pre-conscious information processing, but that information is not experiential. However, neither of these approaches to understanding the roots of knowledge are philosophical.


The question of own death (the end of own existence) must be clearly and completely answered to know the answer to the last "why". And of course, you cannot be sure the answer is right while the answer is not checked. Right?

So, the last question will be "Why did the existence ended?". Can it be answered? It cannot be answered (correctly) as nobody can check it.

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