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International Baccalaureate: Theory of Knowledge

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  1. Rationalism vs. Empiricism

    Rational knowledge requires the mind to be active in gaining knowledge whereas experience is downplayed. Mathematics is all rational knowledge; we are either taught how to do a problem or through deductive reasoning we are able to find the solution to a problem. There is however a problem of knowledge with rationalism; many people do not learn through being told and therefore they must experience things for themselves.

    • Word count: 515
  2. Which sources of knowledge books, websites, the media, personal experience, authority, or some other do you consider the most trustworthy?

    I believe that everyone needs something or someone to trust when looking for knowledge. The source that I consider to be the most trustworthy is personal experience. I believe that personal experience is a trustworthy source because I would have been there to see and experience the event that had taken place in history first hand. I would have been able to tell my story from a first hand perspective about what had just happened. Personal experience could reach others through the media who would spread my story to everyone so that they to would understand what happened or what I had just observed.

    • Word count: 645
  3. " For some people science is the supreme form of knowledge. Is this view reasonable or does it involve a misunderstanding of science or of knowledge?"

    First to begin with we need to clarify what is meant by the term science and knowledge. Basically science is the study of the natural world through observation, identification, description, experimental investigation and theoretical explanations or in simple terms the branch of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method. So there is a general link between science and knowledge. So what is knowledge? What do we mean by knowing something? Before we answer these questions about the nature of science and knowledge we need to ask some more questions like: * What is knowledge?

    • Word count: 769
  4. Theory of Knowledge; Scientific Methods Essay.

    For example, Isaac Newton found the law of universal gravitation by saw an apple dropping from a tree. The Basic Scientific Method is simple and good way to understand many things but on the other hand, this scientific method has several problems. In those problems, one of the serious problems is the perceptional problem. Human's senses often deceive us. Our sense of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching are not perfect. If we can't collect true information from our observations, future steps become meaningless. Therefore we have to be careful when we observe something using our senses. Next, I will introduce the second scientific method called "Falsificationism".

    • Word count: 617
  5. "Different cultures have different truths." "A truth is that which can be accepted universally." What are the implications for knowledge of agreeing with these opposite statements?

    If a thing is false, it does not matter if everybody accepts it, it is still false. Everyone in the 12th century accepted that the Crusades were for a good cause, although with historical insight we can see that they were not. Another problem with this question is that there is a difference between accepting something and believing in it. People often accept things they are told because authority tells them, or because they do not know enough to find a better answer. Many people are also willing to accept answers because they make them feel good, not because they have any basis in fact.

    • Word count: 956
  6. Do we have to learn to think scientifically in order to find the truth?

    These factors include among others factors time, cultural background, language, skills, gender, age, etc. Science, or better natural sciences, such as biology, chemistry and physics, are based on the same truth principle: elimination of the falsified ideas. The combination of the truth and science ideas could be compared to the process of peeling an orange - to eliminate or peel off the falsified and obtain the sweet core, the truth. But because the truth finding process is a continuous one, the truth of the truths can not be ever obtained because it is always possible that the time comes or another factor changes and the truth becomes a truth - and you still did not reach the core.

    • Word count: 726
  7. Compare and contrast any two different ways of knowing cats. Is it possible to give any preferential status to one particular way?

    Language is the tool with which humans communicate knowledge. It is also a tool of thought. Lastly, perception is the knowledge or understanding gained through the uses of the five senses. Scientific inquiry lies under the category of reason and logic, whereas personal experience lies in the categories of perception and emotion. These two very different ways of knowing construct the basis of knowing cats. Scientific inquiry is a significant way of knowing cats. It is empirical, and based on evidence. The knowledge people gain from scientific inquiry is formulated and analyzed in our brains. Through this aspect of knowledge, people have deduced the classification of domestic cats: Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia, Order Carnivora, Family Felidae, Genus Felis, and Species catus.

    • Word count: 690
  8. Does an individual's knowledge of cats come from inside or outside (i.e. do we construct knowledge or do we simply recognize it?)

    Another example of us constructing our knowledge of cats is by how we choose our religion. If I decide to worship cats then to me I "know" that cats are holy. This also brings up the debate that religion is not only a personal choice but also a type of definition. If my religion tells me that cats are holy then that is acquired knowledge and then I am simply recognizing it to be knowledge. Other definitions about cats are scientific experiments that people on them.

    • Word count: 535
  9. Neither Art nor Science can give us a complete knowledge of the world. Discuss.

    To simplify it, as Manuel in Fawlty Towers would have said; "I know nothing". This discussion, I believe, is not specifically about art or science, but it is a discussion about knowledge in itself. In order to gain complete knowledge of the world, "knowing" must be possible. Thus I believe that the first question to be raised is, can we know anything? My answer to that would be probably not. There are two main requirements for knowledge, the first is that something which is universally true must exist, and the second requirement is that you find this universal truth.

    • Word count: 667
  10. What may be meant by AndreGide's comment that what eludes logic is the most precious element in us and one can draw nothing from a syllogism that the mind has not put there in advance?

    Another way of knowing is logic, which is one of the most important ways today. It is what math is based on. Emotion, the fourth and last way of knowing is a rather sensitive way. It is dominated by feelings, contrary to logic. Andre Gide, a philosopher, once said that "what eludes logic is the most precious element in us and one can draw nothing from a syllogism that the mind has not put there in advance." Why then is logic limited to this extent, emotion isn't?

    • Word count: 941
  11. The Illusion of Anne-Katherine

    And above all, It must have been born in order to exist. It, fulfills none of these things. A witness testimony, though due to immense shame, the witness wishes to remain anonymous, provides proof of a lack of It's French speaking ability. "Though her words strongly resemble French, they are muttered, and spoken with great speed. They are completely unintelligible, and the phrases that are French are of low level, similar to that of the capability of an F.S.L. student." Another witness testimony, though anonymity here is due to the danger of a damaged reputation, proves It's lack of existence even within this school. The person quoted is It's alleged counselor. "Anne-Katherine?

    • Word count: 903
  12. ToK -----Doubt is the key to knowledge

    As a TOK student, I will test the validity of the Persian proverb ?doubt is the key to knowledge.? My essay will also elucidate as to what extent this statement applies to the areas of knowledge ? math, the natural science, history, art, religion etc. I will particularly concentrate on the two areas of knowledge namely religion and natural sciences as these areas touch our lives at every turn and corner. ?Doubt is part of all religion. All the religious thinkers were doubters.? - Issac Bashevis We are living in a modern world ? a world shaped by science.

    • Word count: 673
  13. IB TOK Essay Is moral knowledge omnipresent, and how exactly do we procure it?

    In this essay, the areas of knowledge that I will be referring to include ethics, religious knowledge and science. The main question which needs to be answered first however, is whether or not moral knowledge is omnipresent, that is, whether it can exist as a lone identity or is it linked to mankind. After this, we can conclude exactly how we gain moral knowledge. To answer this question it is important to consider whether there are any signs of moral ethics in Nature or other entities which would exist independent of Man. To make the problem easier an analogy can be put forward.

    • Word count: 721
  14. To what extent do scientists rely on either confirming or falsifying a hypothesis? Is either matter ever straightforward? What does this tell us about the nature of the scientific endeavour?

    This doesn't mean that they these methods are exempted from mind boggling error potential. One of the main problems associated with the scientific method is that although the methods we adopt are objective , the implementation of the methods by humans aren't . When a hypothesis is laid , the scientist is for it or against it , based on personal preferences , there is no absolute neutrality due to the characteristics of human nature .

    • Word count: 590
  15. 10 Lessons in leadership

    Don't write someone off because they are inept in a certain area. Find out where their strength lies and utilize it. Know your own strengths and weaknesses too. 5. Anyone can be a hero Everyone has strengths. If you can know your team and their limits, everyone can be a hero by using their strengths to their advantage. 6. Leaders should be humble No one shows respect for an arrogant leader. If you show others respect, you will gain respect from others. 7. Life won't always hand you what you think you deserve You have to go out and work for what you want.

    • Word count: 706
  16. Can Language be compared with other human forms of symbolic representation, such as conventionalized gestures, sign language for the deaf, dance, painting, music or mathematics? What might language share with these other forms in the communication of what we know?

    Even though the audience may not be able to listen and understand what a person may say, they can watch the movements they make with their body and the emotions they use to form a picture in their mind as to what the person might be trying to communicate. Languages should not bind our thoughts and prevent us from communicating with people, we need to "think outside the box" and use new ideas to communicate with others. Gestures, sign language for the deaf, dance, art, music, and mathematics may not be all forms of language that one person may be

    • Word count: 756
  17. Language as a source of Knowledge

    Yet another definition sees language as a system of communication that enables humans to cooperate. This definition stresses the social functions of language and the fact that humans use it to express themselves and to manipulate objects in their environment The recorded history of Western linguistics begins with a confrontation between two fundamental opposing of language: language as a source of knowledge, and language as a mere medium of communication. Does language have a direct and essential link with reality, spirituality, or physical, or is it purely arbitrary?

    • Word count: 457
  18. Personal Journal 2 Observation is a major problem. One cannot monitor peoples minds, only their behavior.

    With questionnaires and surveys, there tend to be loaded questions, which manipulate your answers. This is done though language. Another example is using the word ?national service? instead of ?compulsory conscription?. National service sounds much more positive, and acceptable, though they are the same thing. Another issue that arises with observation is in hypothetical situations. If you asked someone what they would do if they saw a woman getting attacked, they might say that they would go out and save her, or call the police.

    • Word count: 440
  19. Although pragmatism has its values for society as a whole, emotion is necessary for the individual to find a place within society.

    What is moral and immoral changes as the general sentiments of society evolve. Expanding on this idea, the evolution of morality within society does not necessarily mean that the ideas of society become more pure, as this is also relative. From a purely factual standpoint, there is no tangible evidence to support the fact that men and women are created equally. Humans possess the ability to dictate the intricacies of society as we so please. Somehow, at this point in time, it is generally felt that discrimination is wrong.

    • Word count: 461
  20. The Usefulness and Limitations of Reasoning in Maths.

    An example of an inductive reasoning is: 1. 95% of professional soccer players are paid more than 1 million dollars. 2. Bruce plays professional soccer. 3. Therefore, the probability that Bruce is makes more than 1 million dollars is 95% This example is based on a premise and then a conclusion is formed. This statement therefore may not be true. Because even though Bruce is a professional soccer player, he is possibly part of the 5% of professional soccer players that get paid less than 1 million dollars.

    • Word count: 825
  21. To what extent does a language enhance our ways of knowing or limit them?

    For example, while giving direction we would say, ?Go straight then take the first right?. Why does this matter? We are accustomed to use this method because our language feels that it is so easy and natural. However, from the article it has come to my attention that people around the world use the method of geographic directions. For example, in the same situation one could have said, ?Go north and take the first east?. This type of instruction which may occur unusual to us is actually the way other languages conform to. From this I can establish that people who speak different languages think in a certain manner, and it doesn?t mean one from the other language doesn?t understand the concept of the cardinal direction but it not accustomed for its use.

    • Word count: 663
  22. Does news provide unbiased facts or manipulated stories?

    However an epidemiologist John Lonannidis concludes that, ?when finding were tested further, in larger and better controlled studies, almost a third turned out to be either wrong, or much weaker than the initial claim.? Evidently, the scientific research to resolve an epidemic is often an exaggeration of what it claims and in many cases the research cannot support its claim that it sets out. Therefore, the misinterpretation of information often misleads us to believe in invalid and inaccurate information in which we should use our reasoning in conjunction with logic to assess information before deeming it true.

    • Word count: 433
  23. Theory of Knowledge - Epistemologies

    Knowledge is information we attain and process, which we come to believe is true, through the nine epistemologies. Sense perception can be considered to be one of the strongest foundation for the basis of knowledge. We utilize our different senses to perceive what is true or false, similar to t, it matches to the correspondence theory. The correspondence theory is based on evident information that determines if a certain claim or statement matches to the reality. For example, I know a dog is biting my arm, because my arms can feel it, and I can see it chewing my arm.

    • Word count: 682
  24. How do we know if our emotion is enhancing or limiting our ability to gain knowledge through reasoning?

    Such a tool is most important in situations involving personal gain, where choosing to help someone or hurt someone is done by emotion; in these cases I would be emotionally influenced by this ?gut feeling? to help them instead of hurt them. In contrast, a solely logical perspective would only place you in view and only think the benefits you would get, or the society would get. Emotion allows people to think of specific viewpoints quicker and for other people and beings as well.

    • Word count: 847
  25. What can be meant by the panchatantra saying, knowledge is the true organ of sight, not the eyes is it necessary to have clear ideas to see?

    Every human beings physical qualities are the same but mentally every person thinks and perceives the world around them differently. An example in this situation would be that a person who watches a lot of television recognizes an actress on the street but a person who doesn?t watch television will not recognize the actress but will see her nevertheless. Therefore everyone can ?see? but how you perceive it is upto every individual.

    • Word count: 489

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