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If facts by themselves never prove or disprove anything, what else is involved in the proof of a statement?

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Introduction

Charlotte Nguyen TOK 06-09-08 If facts by themselves never prove or disprove anything, what else is involved in the proof of a statement? Throughout our lives we enter a journey in order to gain knowledge and, hence discover what justified true belief is. The word 'fact' is often defined as a piece of information presented as having objective reality.1 Furthermore, the word 'fact' often connotes that there is a substantial amount of truth, and some would even go as far as saying that facts are almost synonymous with truths. If facts by themselves never prove or disprove a statement, then we would be forced to engage and utilize other ways of knowing in order to determine the degree of truth and validity present within a given statement. However, without the ability to incorporate facts, which are one of the more objective and concrete ways of knowing, which ways of knowing could we utilize and still form valid and seamless proofs? The elements of which a proof of a statement is comprised of vary generally from one area of knowledge to another. Therefore, we would consider the usage of different ways of knowing, differing from one area of knowledge to another. For example, mathematicians have strived to derive mathematical models that stimulate the world around us. ...read more.

Middle

The natural sciences are very similar to mathematics as an area of knowledge in that it is perceived to be one of the lesser subjective areas of knowledge in comparison to say perhaps the arts. However, we use deductive proofs more frequently in the natural sciences than in mathematics. For example, in biology, we know that temperature, substrate concentration, and pH are factors that would have an effect upon the rate of reaction in regards to how it affects the enzymes that control that specific pathway. We then would carry out an experiment to using a specific enzyme, such as amylase, and see if a factor, such as temperature, would indeed affect the rate of reaction. However, the use of deductive logic could involve a number of fallacies or faulty logic that at first appears to be sound, although the possibility of arriving at a proof that is entirely foolproof and reliable, is greatly reduced. In contrast, the arts are seen as probably the most subjective of all the areas of knowledge. However, we of course introduce standards while critiquing a piece of work. For literature, we often have expectations in regards to the effective use of literary elements and how overall themes, ideas, and situations are communicated, whether it is implicitly or explicitly. ...read more.

Conclusion

to some other ends."2 Authority, as a way of knowing, is considered to be a more unbiased way, although authorities could also argue against each other. Examiners that mark exams frequently argue whether or not a student is deserving of all the marks and what constitutes as deserving, so this would cause several issues to arise. Furthermore, whom we consider as authorities also is subjective to a certain extent, which would undermine the validity and element of truth involved in the proof of a statement. If facts could neither prove nor disprove a statement, we would resort to other ways of knowing, such as emotion, intuition, inductive and deductive logic, as well as conferring with authorities. However, we often regard facts as an objective and reliable way of knowing, especially in comparison to emotion and intuition. We could still develop proofs of statements without utilizing or incorporating facts, although creating loophole free proofs would be more tiresome and exerting. There would be an increased need to account for and consider the extent of validity with these different methods of knowledge, although as society our great desire to know and obtain knowledge will prevail and enable us to create proofs by more innovative means. 1 Merriam-Webster Online. 2005. 10 June 2008 <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fact> 2 Bhagavad Gita, date unknown ...read more.

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