For many of us, knowledge of the past is an essential ingredient in making sense of the present.
But how can we tell when we’ve got a prior knowledge, and how do we prevent it?
The answer is the ‘in-the-moment’ approach, whereby we look to the present to understand what we’ve been learning.
If we can’t see it, we’ll have a hard time making sense out of it.
This concept is called in-the‐moment knowledge.
This article is an attempt to bring together what I call ‘the knowledge of now’, which I refer to as a prior to understanding, with a ‘now’ that is ‘precisely in the present’.
The idea here is that our understanding of the future is not only ‘in the present’ but ‘in our present moment’.
We know that we have learnt about the future but we have no knowledge of how that future will unfold.
This is a very different kind of knowledge than that we often think of as knowledge of ‘the future’, but it is very similar to knowledge of an idea that ‘lies in the future’.
In the same way that a present-day experience is not something that will be experienced in the immediate future but that has an existence for the moment, so is a ‘past-momentary’ experience.
The idea is that we cannot know ‘what we know now’ about the past, but can only know ‘who we know, and what we know of who we know’.
So, when we look at our knowledge of what we can see in the past and future, we know that our ‘in‐the‐now’ knowledge is a prior.
This gives us a way of knowing ‘what lies in the now’.
In fact, if we take the concept of a prior, we can also refer to knowledge as a ‘knowledge of now’.
The ‘in’ and ‘now’: two distinct concepts in science and education, this article explores the two concepts.
What are the two distinct forms of knowledge?
Before I start, I’d like to say a little bit about the concepts that I’m using here.
I want to stress that these concepts are not mutually exclusive; each has a place in our knowledge system.
There are two types of knowledge, ‘in a future’ and a ‘present-momental’.
‘In a future’: This is the kind of information that is in the ‘now’.
If I am looking at an image of a flower, for example, I know that it is in a future moment.
But I also know that I can look at this image in the moment I am about to look at it and that I am not ‘seeing’ it at that moment.
This ‘in present’ knowledge does not mean that I have ‘seen’ it in the same instant that I looked at it; it means that I was in the position of having seen it when I looked.
I am in a present moment: This is knowledge of a present event that occurs in the mind of an individual.
We might say that I know something about the date when the event took place, or about the number of people that were present at that event, or some other event that I think I know about.
The ‘in future’ knowledge of these events means that the event was in a past moment when I am in the place that I remember.
The notion that I ‘know’ a present or future event is an ‘in’-future knowledge, but this does not imply that I cannot make a prior judgment about that event or about what it is about.
As we will see, when I look at a flower in a flowerpot, I am aware of the fact that I had a ‘in‑future’ experience of the flowerpot that occurred before I looked into it.
In the present: I know what happened to the flower, the number and location of people present at the event, and the date of the event.
If I were to look into the flower now, I would not be able to know the number or location of the people present that I observed.
‘In the now’: The ‘now’-like knowledge that I possess, when it comes to a present thing, is not a prior; I am unaware of what is going on in the physical world when I observe it.
But if I were in a place that was different from what I had observed previously, then I would know the events that occurred in the previous moment, as well as the event that took place.
This knowledge is not merely a prior in the sense that I do not know that the future or past happened to me when I was looking into the thing I observed, but it may be a prior even when I do know that there is a future that will occur.
When we say that we ‘know’, we are not talking about some kind of prior knowledge.
Rather, what we are referring to is