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Do we have to learn to think scientifically to understand the world?

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Linda Lapina ToK essay No.4 Do we have to learn to think scientifically to understand the world? Perhaps everyone would agree that one has to learn in order to understand the world and events happening around him. Understanding does not come at once. However, there are several new questions arising when we think about the essay question. First of all, to what extent can thinking be learnt? When can one say that he truly understands the world? What is "the world"? And, most importantly, what does it exactly mean to think scientifically and what is the importance of scientific thinking? I will give answers to these questions in the essay. In order to understand the exact effect that science has upon our attitude and knowledge of the world surrounding us, first of all we have to make the usually vague concepts of "world" and "science" and even "thinking" more specific. ...read more.


This word usually describes mathematics and natural sciences, and the factual, clear and logical thinking that these subjects require. Thinking is the most significant of human characteristics, yet we know very few things about this process. In this case, thinking could be interpreted as Basically, each person has his own experience, individual influences and own, unique frame of reference. These are the main factors that determine the approach to life chosen by an individual; even though each person's unique background makes his approach just as unique, there are common characteristics between many of these approaches, taking into account that many of people's influences may be similar. Many individuals share the same religion, nationality and cultural background; many have been orphans or experienced violence; many trust in science and believe it will enable them to truly understand the world. If influences, backgrounds and frames of reference can be similar, then approaches to the world itself can resemble each other as well. ...read more.


The individuals who have this point of view trust in their own or sometimes others' experiences- instead of abstract models, wide theories or general formulas. For an empiric, fire will mean something hot not because it has a temperature of 220 degrees Celsius, but because he has gotten burnt once or twice. Similarly, he/ she will know that if milk is left out of the refrigerator where it is warm, it will turn sour- and this knowledge will not come from his or her learning of biology or chemistry, but from the times when he has experienced something like that happening before. It is very possible that even a person who is a biologist or chemist will not turn to his knowledge in such a case and not think about the specific bacteria that proliferate in milk in warm temperatures, but turn to his experience. An approach very similar to that of empirics is the sensory approach (based on senses). These two approaches are similar to the third - emotional or sensualist approach. This approach is dominated by emotions, feelings and desires. ...read more.

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