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International Baccalaureate: Theory of Knowledge

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  1. Discuss the roles of language and emotion in any one area of knowledge

    It is useful for conveying concepts that are intangible, such as that of history. However, it is merely a tool, a vehicle by which information can travel, and is subject to ambiguity, vagueness, and bias. Emotion as a way of knowing is often defined as a mechanism which gives intuition and helps decision making, but is also commonly cited as an obstruction to knowledge. These two ways of knowing have a great impact upon the acquisition of knowledge in history. One could argue that without language, there would be no history or historical knowledge.

    • Word count: 1161
  2. TOK Paper. The dangers of stereotypes, comments on Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story.

    This is what Adichie calls a single story. Knowing only one side of a story, and forming your opinion based on it. A single story is essentially a stereotype. Although stereotypes aren't bad, they are more times than not false; they aren't the only version of the truth. Unfortunately, in our society, stereotypes are believed to be the only truth. Some stereotypes are more harmful than others. Adichie fought against the stereotypes that were strongly associated with Nigeria when she first came to America to study at a university.

    • Word count: 1328
  3. Free essay

    Are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions?

    This example demonstrates how reason and emotion are important in moral decision making, though evidently, other factors will also influence the decision to some extent. This essay will explore whether it is equally important to consider reason and emotion when discussing moral decisions. Reason and knowledge may appear to be contradicting emotions, but there is actually a link between them. They are often conjoined with logic and rationality. To be rational, we need to use evidence, analysis and reason to 'work it out'. Conversely, being irrational ties in with tenuous or no evidence, a lack of critical thinking and emotion.

    • Word count: 1187
  4. The extent and type of our language defines our knowledge of the world. Do you agree?

    This is what I am going to investigate in this essay. It is also important to mention that the extent and the type or our language are different concepts. So there are two issues that will be covered: does the type of language (French, English, Spanish) shape the way we view the world? and, having no words for something makes it impossible or difficult to think about that? People from different cultures have developed different languages. This does not mean that our languages have stated our different cultural behaviours. In order to develop a language, we must start with some knowledge.

    • Word count: 1066
  5. Pseudo-science or science

    We can also use the different theories to identify their differences like the Theory of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Chaos, and Complexity. Science is flawed because of the existence of Pseudo-science, because this statement is true I believe Science is flawed. An example for this would be could Science prove that ' The Big Bang' started all life on earth? No, Science cannot prove that this has happened (Quantum Mechanics), where an observer is needed for something to exist. Thus, in order for 'The Big Bang' theory to happen, an observer is needed.

    • Word count: 1229
  6. How important are the opinions of experts in the search for knowledge?

    Thus, experts from the same field do not always agree in their opinions. Nevetheless, the opinion of experts is extremely important. We learn much from the arguments they present in public and study different sources on the same subject, in order to discover what is fact and knowledge based on evidence and experimentation, even when such evidence is used to promote theory. Einstein's special theory of relativity is well known in Physics. It showed that light is also of a corpuscular nature and that it has weight. It was based on significant research and testing over a period of time.

    • Word count: 1563
  7. What is culture?

    However, even when these two sets of factors are operating, it is very clear that what is available does not automatically define what is acceptable and selected. In all societies, only a very limited selection of food products are chosen and consumed from those that are potentially available and digestible. What then, is the important process or set of factors that further refines the choice from what is edible and available, to what is chosen and eaten? The concept of 'acceptability' is evident in all societies and it affects all the decisions that are made about taken for granted, shared values or norms, including those about food.

    • Word count: 1412
  8. Tok essay

    Otherwise, if people would not have any doubts , they would start believing everything they hear and would live in one big lie. As Descartes stated in his Discourse on Method, the first rule in seeking truth is never to accept anything unless it is presented clearly and distinctly without any reason or occasion for doubt. Further, even before Descartes, the Platonic conception of knowledge was linked with the very notions of infallibility and unchangeability. Indeed, a general rule for traditional philosophy has been as follows: iJ one can doubt the proposition " x is y , " then, one cannot say that he has knowledge that "x is y."

    • Word count: 1184
  9. Rebuttal paper nasa

    Senator Bill Nelson of Florida (Democrat) is specially skeptic and brought up an excellent argument. Although money can be saved creating the commercialized rockets, the quality can not be guaranteed. If the rockets do not work then we might have to rely on Russia just to get to and from our space station. (PBS) Is USA ready to sacrifice pride for money? From a logical point of view, there are plenty of projects on Earth that requires our attention. For example the environmental issues or the job scarcity.

    • Word count: 1318
  10. Mathematics is at the heart of nature. Discuss.

    This is precisely what Kurt G�del did in 1931, according to his theorem (G�del's incompleteness theorem), we cannot be certain that mathematics does not contain contradictions. Assuming mathematics was at the heart of nature, this theorem would mean that there could be a fundamental contradiction in nature. Expanding upon this further; Einstein once said, "As far as the laws on mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

    • Word count: 1063
  11. Importance of experts

    One's belief, although not always justified and thus not knowledge, should be exacted by past experiences, a deep understanding of both sides, and an emotional response. Expert opinion should lay the ground-work for both sides of the issue and should be interpreted to assist in forming a personal conviction but in the end, should play minimal importance.' Let's take an example: The question everyone has asked themselves at least once in their lifetime: Is abortion ethical? There are a variety of doctors, 'experts' in the medicinal field, who believe that abortion is illegal as it involves the killing of human being.

    • Word count: 1079
  12. I Know that the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow Morning

    However, at the end of the day, the fact that we possibly don't "know" anything galvanizes us to reach out and search for what our heart yearns, or leads us to question. These are healthy proceedings of course, but at one point, we must draw the line. Surely there has got to be something that we indubitably "know," something that even the most prominent philosophers cannot contradict, something that has got to be true. It was not hard coming up with a simple statement that I knew to be true.

    • Word count: 1424
  13. People need to believe that order can be glimpsed in the chaos of events (adapted from John Gray, Heresies, 2004). In what ways and to what extent would you say this claim is relevant in at least two areas of knowledge?

    The knowledge issues that are present are taken out of two real life situations, the first real life situation would be a prognosis of upcoming weather conditions, and the second, the Mayan civilization's foreshadowing of future events. The issues that are raised in this essay will be dealt with examples and counterarguments, so that two sides are present to convey weaknesses and strengths of the examples used. The knowledge issue dealing with environmental science, about the prognosis of upcoming weather conditions could be considered, to what extent is the scientific method relevant in attempting to establish truths?

    • Word count: 1835
  14. To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture. Does this mean that it is impossible to have objective knowledge?

    Another way of obtaining an understanding is through culture. How people interpret events has been influenced by their culture. A western man would probably think, that if he saw a young girl in a white wedding dress, she is getting married; whereas I, as a Peruvian, could think that the girl was going to celebrate her fifteen year old birthday. In Peru girls wear a white dress, which is similar to a wedding dress, at the celebration of their fifteenth birthday. However, both the western man and I can know objectively; we know by authority that the capital of England is London3; it is a fact, objective knowledge.

    • Word count: 1823
  15. Are some ways of knowing more likely than others to lead to truth?

    To show reasoning you could say for example, "Johnny has two apples, his mother gives Johnny two more apples, and therefore he now has four apples." When you calculate the answer four, you have the only possible answer for the equation, and therefore you are a 100% precise in your way of knowing this. In physics, we mostly have devices to support our answer, devices which calculate the precise information we seek. For example we know for a known fact that gravity is 9.8 m/s, we used devices with the ability to calculate this precise number, and therefore we are leaving our trust to these computers to give us one precise answer.

    • Word count: 1436
  16. How important are the opinions of experts in the search for knowledge?

    There are many types of experts in today's society, whether different expert's professions are more important than another, can de discussed. My personal opinion upon different types of experts is they all have some importance and relevance to today's society, and when deciding if some experts are more important than others I would say no, because in my opinion "experts" are given that title because they demonstrate a general understanding of the profession they have. The problem is, how do we decide upon who are and who are not experts.

    • Word count: 1618
  17. TOK Essay 3

    Another way to analyze this question would be "To what extent is doubt actually key to knowledge?" Doubt can be of great help on our search to knowledge. Take for example a high school senior who believes she knows all she needs to about mathematics. She finds mathematics safe, precise, and exact. Only to find out from her ToK teacher that mathematics is based on premises, premises from inductive reasoning which are not certain, meaning they are not safe anymore.

    • Word count: 1540
  18. ToK: "Science is built of facts, the way a house is built of bricks.."

    Especially when it comes to science, then you have a couple of facts, things you know from your classes, general knowledge or maybe you've read in magazines, newspaper or on the Internet. It doesn't matter where you have found those facts; the meaningful thing here is how to connect them in comprehensive knowledge. With the statement of Henri Poincar�: 'Science is built of facts the way a house is built of bricks: but an accumulation of facts is no more science than a pile of bricks in a house" he points exactly how facts in science should be understood and interpreted very well to have an enough expanded field of knowledge.

    • Word count: 1678
  19. The Human Sciences

    A belief is, by its very definition, a bias. A person may not have a specific bias for or against an issue, but he or she does have several previously formed beliefs that will lead to the formation of an opinion on that issue. Human scientists are no different. Frequently, while searching for trends in and attempting to define human behavior, scientists draw conclusions that are almost unknowingly laden with biased beliefs. In my opinion, every person, including human scientists, has fallen prey to the confirmation bias, the belief bias, and the prison of consistency while drawing a conclusion that he/she wishes to pass as a knowledge claim.

    • Word count: 1312
  20. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Perception Deception

    Perception is human awareness of the environment via the five senses - the channels of communication between us and the outside world. However, despite the ease with which we rely on perception, it is in fact a highly complicated process in which the subconscious and unconscious minds play a great role. Due to the fact that the unconscious mind is the true representation of a person's character, thus one can conclude that the information perceived and then process is very different for each person. What is perceived is classified according to interpretation, context, figure and ground, and individual visual grouping.

    • Word count: 1979
  21. Is the nature of sense perception such that, as Huxley suggests, sensations are essentially private and incommunicable?

    Second thing, I think to express our very feelings we must have courage to speak and share own opinions to the others. It's also another way to increase own knowledge. Importance and limitations of sense perception * It is often claimed that information and communication technologies are blurring the traditional distinctions between simulation and reality. If this is so, what might be the consequences? TV programs and others information and communication technologies in which there are illusionists, super heroes or violent cartoons, often convince children that these show the real life ,and as consequence, children copy them trying to fly from a high floor like Superman or to use Kung Fu fighting like Dragonball or other violent videogames.

    • Word count: 1100
  22. Are scientific models useful, despite their inaccuracies?

    The issues of wrong sizes and scales can lead to misleading learners. One example of an inaccuracy in a physical model is a typical representation of a solar system, such as my junior science project. While the relative order of the planets was generally correct, the scale was and is almost never accurate. For instance, unlike my model, if the earth was made only as large as the head of a pin, the sun would need to have a diameter of 41cm, which would be replicated by very few physical models. However it can be argued that is it really necessary for models to be accurate.

    • Word count: 1599
  23. Should emotion play a role in the evaluation of knowledge claims?

    Let the ethical dilemma be 'Is abortion wrong?' Let us use reason to come to a conclusion. One would see abortion as a wrong practice if their religion said it was a wrong practice (Christianity says that every life is precious) and if it is illegal in their country. They would see it as the correct thing to do if they do not have enough money to support the child, if they were rape victims and they do not want they baby and if it they already have children and do not want anymore. Let us suppose that I am a rape victim.

    • Word count: 1228
  24. Truman Show (TOK)

    We accept the current existed reality is because it occupies our view and actually the existence reality helps us to form our own identity by understanding the information that we acquire from the world and analyze with our own perception. Change in attitude as a transformation in the way Truman sees his surroundings. First of all, Truman is raised by his stage-set world. He is convinced it is real that set up his view. But the flaws occur in the studio lead him questioning his existence and the world he lives is actually an illusion.

    • Word count: 1537
  25. Art is a lie that brings us nearer to the truth (Pablo Picasso). Evaluate this claim in relation to a specific art form.

    Fundamentaly the creation of a painting is to gain understanding of a particular feeling or image from the view of the other suggesting that knowledge is being gained from the knower. Is the lie quite simply creative expression? Leo Tolstoy once penned a short story 'The diary of a madman' based upon his own personal experiences using fictional characters. Could this in itself relate to Picasso' claim... Tolstoy arguably used his 'lie' in order to bring his reader closer to the truth.

    • Word count: 1619

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