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"True" and "false" seem to be such clear and simple terms, opposites and mutually exclusive. In reality, however, we may inhabit, in much or even most of our knowledge, the fuzzy area between the two.

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Linda Lapina ToK essay 3 Word count: 1413 "True" and "false" seem to be such clear and simple terms, opposites and mutually exclusive. In reality, however, we may inhabit, in much or even most of our knowledge, the fuzzy area between the two. What are the difficulties of the attempts to draw a clear line between the two categories? We have to make choices every day, and a lot of them are connected with what to believe in, what to accept as knowledge, or whom to trust. Most of us need some basic truths to base our lives upon. Inevitably, we have to determine whether something is true or false. Sometimes these choices seem obvious and some assertions- self-evident truths. In other occasions, on the contrary, the choice is much harder to make. The choice between accepting something as true or denying it and the certainty that we have in making this choice are dependant on numerous factors. These factors can generally be divided in two large groups- rational and irrational factors. In other words, sometimes we can grant logical proof and valid arguments for regarding something as true; in another time, we can accept something as true even without any rational proof. It seems that it should be easy to distinguish true and false with these numerous criterions available. In this essay, I will focus on the reasons why in the reality the choice between true and false is often made with many difficulties. ...read more.


However, later I checked the expiry date. It had passed two years ago. So we bought a new bottle of spray, and this time, ants were gone for good. This shows how insufficient facts can lead to false conclusions. Most of us trust in our experiences when making decisions. It is clear that others' experiences might be misleading- even if they are not deliberately deceiving us, their experiences may lead us to false conclusions just like our own. We might have seen rain in all the summer solstices that we remember; however, it is not enough to form a statement "summer solstice is always rainy", because we simply haven't seen all solstices. Experience alone is rarely enough to distinguish true and false, using it, it is likely to get into logical fallacies. When mentioning reliable sources of information, the first question is- which sources are reliable, then? Critically thinking, we have to admit that there are no sources that are 100% reliable. It is similar as with experiences of others- even if we are not lied to, we cannot trust others, for we cannot completely trust ourselves. Even equipment can be unreliable- all tools and machines can be faulty, even computers. For example, signalisation may also not go off; radars can miss an enemy plane with a special protection, and so on. Even when the calculations we make are correct and should lead us to a true result, in the real life (apart from mathematical exercises) ...read more.


An example is Middle Ages, when Catholic Church refused to accept that the Earth is round and tired to silence anyone who could prove the opposite. Intuition (and other such things- like sixth sense or extrasensory perception) is another way of giving us unreasonable judgements of true and false. It differs from the other irrational criterions by being supernatural- only some believe in these things and even fewer deem to have the ability to use these "powers". It is a controversial point of whether we can trust them or no, and attitudes towards them are very different, but it is clear that they have nothing to do with logics. It is clear that these irrational criterions may sometimes be determinant, but not very reliable components in deciding what is true or false. That is why they often create a lot of difficulties to approach the world reasonably and logically and form true knowledge. The rational factors that were discussed earlier are more reliable, but then again, as it was shown, even if we judge logically and process the obtained information rationally, there is no guarantee that the information itself is entirely true. That is why it is extremely difficult to form unquestionably TRUE knowledge or to distinguish true and false. Even if our mind is processing the facts and other information correctly, our perception and other ways of knowing can prove deceitful; often different ways of knowing and areas of knowledge can give us contradicting information. Every source of knowledge can turn out unreliable. ...read more.

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