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Math Portfolio Type 2

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Question: How can the different ways of knowing help us distinguish between something that is true and something that is believed to be true?

Name: Thi Ngoc Hanh Nguyen

Session: May 2010

School: Auckland International College

School code: 001495

Teacher: Ms. Beate Wiebel

Word count: 1479

“There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths.”[1] The truth does not change over a period of time, only the perception and the interpretation of truth have been changed over a period of time. It is hard to determine whether the discovery we just figured out is the whole truth. Hence, ways of knowing are meant to help people approach the truth from different aspects, although they lead to the findings out of half-truths most of time. However, a lot of half-truths mean we are close to the true nature of the subject studied. Three of the ways of knowing, perception, emotion and reason, are involved in this essay to demonstrate different directions on the attempt to find the truths in human history.  

Perception is an interesting way of knowing, as sometimes it can become subjective without being noticed. “We are constantly deciding what to focus on, what to ignore, what is information and what is background noise.

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However, there are things in the life that cannot be observed by eyes, heard by ears, touched by hands, tasted by tongue, smelled by the nose or proven by conducting many experiments or deducing from facts. Emotions and relationships are subjective, and they cannot be judged based on looks, appearances or gestures as everyone is different. Based on a survey, love has little to do with what is said between the couple, but 55% is expressed through body language, 38% is the tone and speed of their voices and only 7% is about the content of what they say[3]. Hence, there are no tangible proofs to decide whether a guy is into a girl or not. The feeling of love is different from person to person, hence the definition of love also has numerous versions. Perception, reason and language cannot alter a person’s emotions and feelings. For example, in the play Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is madly in love with Rosaline, then he suddenly forgets everything about her the moment he meets Juliet. One second before Rosaline is everything to him, the moment he sees Juliet’s face, everything changes. This swift change has brought up controversial discussions.

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In conclusion, there are several ways to approach the truth or the half-truths in the first place. Perception, reason and emotion are mostly used by people to distinguish what truth is and what truth is believed to be. Perception is the first step in the process of finding truth as people need to observe their surroundings. Then, we need to analyze the situations to determine whether the observations are accurate and real. Finally, we need to feel it, understand it, and know it, as not everything can be understood using formulas and facts.

[1] Alfred North Whitehead http://www.wisdomquotes.com/002217.html [Accessed 08 Sep 2009]



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