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ways of knowledge

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Theory of Knowledge essay Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing "It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence, which could support this." Bertrand Russell (1950) Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher and a mathematician who is generally recognized as one of the founders of analytic philosophy. He, like many other people was searching for proof and evidence of us- people being rational animals, whose thoughts and actions are reasonable and sensible. Reason is a way of knowing in which we build up explanations by refining independent ideas and theories in order to reach a logical conclusion or in other words we use reason to decide whether something is correct or wrong. Through observations and experiments we can prove by reason if our hypothesis was right, and by this broaden our knowledge horizons. Reason is present as much as in everyday choice making, as it is present in science, mathematics and other areas of knowledge. However reason is not always the most useful way of knowledge, for example in music and arts, as we are not robots and we also rely on our emotions and perception. So how can we gain truth by reason, when there are so many different opinions and emotions involved? ...read more.


We cannot express our opinion on a piece of music or a piece of art without bringing up emotion and perception. A composer cannot write music without any feelings, same as an artist cannot paint without inspiration through his senses. A piece of music however requires some basic reason. For example if a composer needs to write a concerto for a violin, he will not write a concerto for a piano, and no other instrument than a violin can replace it. This is very basic reason, but we can see that it is present in creative arts. I am an IB Art student and I know that reason has little to do with it. Making art is based mostly on emotion and on the way we feel or what we think at a certain moment. Art comes from the heart, and reason is only present when we need to know which two colors for example make purple or what do we need to do to make a canvas. Add reason Another demonstration of advantages and disadvantages of reason is present the case of superstitions. In many cultures superstitions make up a lot of beliefs that are carried throughout generations. For example it is said that it is bad luck to go forward of a black cat has passed your way. ...read more.


"Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason,"- this is a quote by Oscar Wilde. I agree with him as I think that emotions and feelings often overtake reason, as we are more driven by our desires, fears and passion than logic and rationality. I think that pure reason cannot exist without other ways of knowledge, and has its strengths and weaknesses. Reason is valid when it is not contradicted by anyone, but can we call something rational knowledge when someone disputes it? Reason within its domain is very reliable, as for example in mathematics, you can be almost one hundred percent certain that something is true, and this is the main strength of reason. I think that in all the other areas of knowledge, reason has many weaknesses. Reason always needs input from another source and therefore can only be reliable as its source of data. In the arts, in the absence of inspiration, no great work can be done, however reason is present in the mixing of colors and proportion and so on. Science without any data has no use of reason, and is therefore unreliable. My conclusion to this essay is that reason always needs input from another source and therefore can only be reliable as its source of data. 1 word count- 1327 Polina Muranova Candidate number 001522/015 ...read more.

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