• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

“God may have separated the heavens from the earth. He did not separate astronomy from marine biology.” (Jonathan Levy) To what extent are the classifications separating Areas of Knowledge justified?

Extracts from this document...


"God may have separated the heavens from the earth. He did not separate astronomy from marine biology." (Jonathan Levy) To what extent are the classifications separating Areas of Knowledge justified? The International Baccalaureate subject areas are divided into natural sciences, human sciences, history, mathematics, ethics and the arts. Both astronomy and marine biology fall under the natural sciences. Jonathan Levy would therefore have little argument with these classifications. However, to what extent can we justify these divisions? Although the areas are separated into distinct subject matters, they often overlap in their content and the way we approach our learning. However, while these areas of knowledge share many ways of knowing, it is necessary to separate them for practical purposes. Moreover, in our own learning we recognise their differences. Of all the areas of knowledge, mathematics and natural sciences are the most that are based on reasoning as a way of knowing. Science is reliable, precise, objective, testable, and self-correcting1. Natural science uses a consistent scientific method that tries to reach objectivity and precision. One branch of mathematics is a relatively simple and precise field: logic through the use of numbers, where it is utilitarian and deals with the problems of the physical world2. ...read more.


This makes it almost impossible to separate ethical knowledge from the human sciences. Indeed, ethical concerns inter disperse all areas of knowledge. Ethical choices often need to be made, for example in the case of stem cell research in biology. Some believe it is morally right to further research in this area, as it can greatly help or cure people who are sick, injured or disabled. On the other hand, some believe that it is wrong to exploit and destroy that which could potentially be a person (as stem cell research requires the removal of stem cells from an embryo, destroying the embryo in the process). Mathematics and natural sciences are not always objective, nor is any other area of knowledge. We must consider ethical implications of our actions in all fields of research, even those based on reason and logic, because these rules govern our way of life. Natural science is invaluable in the pursuit of historical fact. Forensic science uses specialist techniques in crime detection to recreate history using the scientific method. This means we cannot disregard science when studying history, because so much of what we know about history is discovered through the natural sciences. ...read more.


Knowledge is so vast, and in order to study in depth a topic, we must specialise. For example, at a year 12 level, an IB English teacher could never teach IB Physics unless he/she had studied physics. Also, libraries use the Dewey Decimal System7 to organise their collection of easy retrieval. Universities also classify knowledge into distinct areas: science and the arts. The depth of knowledge one learns at university level makes it essential to break down areas of knowledge into specialised subjects, due to the vastness of knowledge. However, the broader Areas of Knowledge classifications, such as the Natural Sciences, allow for diverse subjects such as astronomy and marine biology under the same heading, focusing on their similarities rather than their differences. I think that therefore they are flexible enough for our purposes in our education. To conclude, the areas of knowledge must be divided for practical purposes, but nonetheless are all interlinked. However, we know, when studying that they are distinct, albeit with similarities in our approach to learning. Although all areas rely on each other, we have found a way to separate these areas, mainly for convenience. Thus, the classifications dividing the areas of knowledge are not always justified; they are a division by humans to make education and knowledge, amongst other things, more manageable. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. To what extent should our actions be guided by our theories in ethics and ...

    If we were to build a light bulb or a radio, the physical theories or blueprints created by Edison and Machoney, respectively, must be followed, or the light bulb will not light, and the radio will not work. Certain physical and mathematical theories such as the ones mentioned have either

  2. To what extent is truth different in mathematics, the arts, and ethics?

    Because it is a universally accepted 'language' that further emphasizes that it is a universal truth. Though there are exceptions in mathematics in discovering the truth, one comes to the conclusion that mathematics is still an absolute truth because the numerical relationships that exists in mathematics is the for the most part objective.

  1. To what extent is truth different in mathematics, arts, and ethics?

    As a result, social norms and traditions vary drastically over physical or geographic distances. And the world itself is testimony to the fact that such differences inevitably give rise to misunderstandings which, more often than not, give people an excuse for war.

  2. To what extent is truth different in mathematics, the arts and ethics?

    Although soft, truths are prevalent in the arts, they are even more widespread in the area of ethics. As my mom was speeding to drop me at school, she was well over 100 kmph .My mom did not notice the traffic police parked behind the bushes.

  1. To what extent do we need evidence to support our beliefs in different areas ...

    your senses perceive, you need to reason and analyze what you initially got from your senses. An area of knowledge that relies on reason and analysis is mathematics. In math you may think you need evidence to prove all of the formulas and theories, but as evidence has been defined

  2. In Areas of Knowledge Such As the Arts and the Sciences, Do We Learn ...

    It is also important to keep in mind that these theories affected and passed on knowledge and discoveries not only to scientist, but also to the whole population and society as everyone is affected by these news on what atoms and particles are made of e.g.

  1. Can we know when to trust our emotions in the pursuit of knowledge? Consider ...

    concern for the others and lack the capacities for guilt, remorse and empathy.? Thus emotions play a vital role in human psychology. People who are perfect strangers fall in love at first sight because sometimes ?like emotions attract?. And it is on account of these ubiquitous emotions that we earmark others beforehand.

  2. TOK. Consider the extent to which complete certainty might be achievable in mathematics and ...

    He could go and bother everyone and make their lives miserable. The point, for that a human, no matter how long you know him/her and how long he/she does a routine, you cannot be certain of his actions. After all, in the psychology there are factors that affect the results observations which are 1.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work