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What are the differences between "I am certain" and "it is certain", and is passionate conviction ever sufficient for justifying knowledge?

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Name: Jonathan Tam Class: 13A International Baccalaureate - Theory of Knowledge What are the differences between "I am certain" and "it is certain", and is passionate conviction ever sufficient for justifying knowledge? In this statement, there are two different structures of sentence. The use of "I" is a first person tense, whereas "it" does not involve a particular viewpoint. According to the theory of linguistic determinism1, or linguistic relativity2 to be more precise, explains the difficulty of distinguishing knowledge. Linguistic relativity tells us that the language we use determines part of our thinking. The language we speak will more or less influence our thinking to follow that culture. If the culture empathizes on individualism, then it is more likely that the people will use "I am certain" since their cultural background teaches them to put personal emotions on their first priority, whereas people from a different culture will put the community first before their personal emotions. Therefore the validity of these statements depends on their background cultures. There are mainly two ways for us to treat knowledge we receive: subjectively or objectively. These two statements "I am certain" is more on the subjective side, since there are no others being involved except from myself. ...read more.


This statement is stronger because not only does it excludes the passionate conviction from the Christian but also introduces other areas of knowledge (science, history, religion etc.) and becomes a more accepted "truth" or "certainty". "It is certain" is another kind of sentence structure where a first person sense is changed into a third person sense. However, the process of doing so must involve a loss of information i.e. in this case one's emotion. In scientific researches, the author must avoid using first person tense when writing in order to exclude any false influences caused by their personal emotions. Many experiments must have been done with insignificant errors in order for a scientist to prove/disprove a theory. However, "I am certain" does not necessarily mean nothing. For a belief to become justified, it has to be compared with a fixed theory or belief that is dependable. As humans, our strongest belief is our emotions and memories. For example, there is no one more certain than myself whether I am in love or not, and passionate conviction will only strengthen this belief. In these cases, "I am certain" is a better way of expressing knowledge (it will be less convincing if someone say "It is ...read more.


There are no other areas of knowledge that can disprove my feeling cold in 20�C. Science tells me that I should feel reasonably comfortable in 20�C. However, science can predict that people from Africa should feel differently when placed in a different environment. On the other hand, ways of knowing can perfectly tell if one is feeling cold or not. Our perception helps us to first sense the weather, then see how this person react to this weather. Logic tells us that if a person feels cold, he will shake. Our emotion can help us sense if that person is making a false claim or not from their facial expressions, body language, etc. Finally, our language helps us understand how cold this person feels. There is a significant difference between "It is a bit cool here", "I am cold", and even "I am freezing". Therefore passionate conviction is sometimes sufficient to justify knowledge. In conclusion, "I am certain" and "It is certain" and passionate conviction do not contribute to a particular side, and they tend to change in terms of validity when dealing with different situations. 1 Theory of Knowledge, Nicholas Alchin, John Murray (Publishers) Ltd, 2004, P. 205 2 http://venus.va.com.au/suggestion/sapir.html 1 ...read more.

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