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International Baccalaureate: Theory of Knowledge

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  1. Perception. Factors such as a persons educational background, culture, societal norms and expectations, media, physical senses and life experiences create, shape and build the perceptions and filters from which people view the world.

    When a child is constantly bombarded with the same very narrow minded ways of thinking and perceiving the world around them, they will grow up to be closed-minded, not being open to new ideas and ways of thinking. Differences in approaches are very dramatically highlighted if one compares the Saudi school system with the International Baccalaureate, for example. The Saudi educational system is based almost entirely upon rote memorization, where the goal is simply to regurgitate what has been memorized, whereas the International Baccalaureate is designed to encourage students to think openly and freely and to be able to create their own ideas and defend their opinions confidently.

    • Word count: 1537
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Can we know something that has not yet been proven true?

    Nevertheless, the motive for accepting or rejecting a belief does not validate it. 'Knowing' something is not the same as 'believing' something, knowledge has to be true where as belief refers to a personal opinion or state of mind. This can be explained by the following example; 'I knew that X, but X was not true' is an incorrect statement because in order to know something it has got to be true even if you strongly believe it. However to say 'I believed that X, but X was not true' is entirely acceptable as everyone is entitled to their own opinions.2 Many people find it difficult to believe something that has been proved incorrect, however somebody with very strong beliefs may not change their attitude and faith even when it is proven wrong.

    • Word count: 1769
  6. The progression of knowledge in the area of science relies on scientists' utilization of a process called the scientific method.

    The variables of scientific experiments connect through cause and effect relationships, which are based upon the deductive method. The deductive form of the scientific method can be described as an outdated method in which has been prevailed by the inductive method. All events result as a collection of other earlier events. Incidents such as split-second occurrences exemplify this lament. For example, the events before explosions of fireworks or the twisting of leaves are the actual causes and the split second occurrences are the effects. The same group of causes enables scientist to produce predictable events, which are known as hypotheses. In contrast, the method also involves comparisons of situations that have been switched around to one controlled variable.

    • Word count: 1017
  7. "What I tell you three times is true" (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula- or a more sophisticated version of it- actually determine what we believe to be true?

    In other words, do we take what the teacher told us for granted? It seems as though when we take upon the role of a scientist, we need physical and empirical proof in order to accept something as the truth. The physics course, which I attended, for example, was based on experiments. In class, we tested and retested theories and laws through them. They gave us proof that they were correct. Further, experience from outside the classroom observations of the world also gave me proof.

    • Word count: 1748
  8. The Solution.

    Another method is to build machines at the nano-level comprised of nano-pulleys, belts, gears, tubes, wires, etc. Seen below is a picture of nano-gears, formed using nature's natural molecular arrangements. Such gears could be part of a larger machine; for example a nano-compiler that could break down molecules and then use the raw materials (elements) to assemble them into another molecule. assembler). These replicators would be programmed to build assemblers. A hundred trillion of these machines can fill an area smaller than a sugar cube-that is true efficiency and space saving. In theory, eventually, we will be able to replicate anything, including diamonds, water and food. Machines that fabricate foods to feed the hungry could eradicate famine.

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  9. Is there knowledge we should not seek? Or is all knowledge inherently a good thing, and can only persons be harmful?

    I think that an example that would brightly represent such situation is the case of researches made by doctors - researchers aiming to find a new kind of medicine. When the researchers see that their experiments with the new drugs cause more and more harm, for example an increasing amount of people on whom the experiments were made are dieing, they have to make a serious decision. The researchers have to decide, whether the final, improved sort of drugs will save lives of more people than were killed in the study process or maybe there is no point in continuing the experiments as there will be no usage of the medicine anyway.

    • Word count: 1325
  10. Is Mathematics a Tool or a Toy?

    For example, in construction process of some technical items it may be important to determine the centripetal acceleration. In the physics there is a formula that can be used for calculating it: ac = v2 / r 1. It can be seen that this formula involves two significant mathematical operations - division and raising to the power of two. Without the mathematical knowledge of how to do it, the formula in such a form could not be applied. Probably another way how to estimate the acceleration would be found, however, usage of the formula relieves the process.

    • Word count: 1322
  11. “True statements cannot become false, nor can false statements become true”.

    So, the statements "Black is not white" and "Black is not white" are not the same statement, merely duplicates. This is similar to the math concept of congruency: two different objects are completely identical, but cannot be considered to be the same. For this interpretation, we will use the sample statement "John is 14". If this statement were made when the John we are referring to had not yet reached the age of 14, it would have to be classified as false. On the other hand, the identical statement, made while John is 14, will be true. However, this does not make the first statement of "John is 14" true, as duplicate statements made at different times are not considered as the same.

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  12. "The arts deal in the particular, the individual, and the personal. While the sciences deal in the general, the universal and the collective" - To what extent does this statement obscure the nature of both areas of knowledge?

    Biology, chemistry, physics, zoology, psychology, botany and all their sub divisions can be qualified as "the sciences. This is because all these subjects deal with practical, every day matters that bring about theories which help us better understand ourselves and our environment. All these areas of knowledge are based on reason, and satisfy the human quest to answering questions of their own existence by providing clear-cut, reliable and proven facts that are the basis for theories which serve as these answers. The sciences can be said to be the areas of knowledge within which practicality, logic and rationality serve as the foundation to providing theories that enable humans to comprehend their existence and their environment in a coherent manner.

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  13. Where does knowledge come from?

    One does not suddenly wake up one day and know the entire history of the Cold War. He either knows about it because he was there, he experienced it in the past, or either he has been told about it, perhaps through a history book, by someone who experienced it in the past. All history is told by the people who experienced the past. When a historian writes a history book, say on the Civil Rights movement, how does he go about writing this? His goal is to share all knowledge about the era through the medium of the writings.

    • Word count: 1172
  14. Do we believe in science, and how much do we believe it?

    Inductive proof is based on experience not ideas, inductive is used in this case because science is connected and relates well to its meaning in that the knowledge is based on experiments, in which outcomes and observations are processed and analyzed drawing information. The word right implies a 'truth', but something being right can also be wrong and something being wrong can also be right for many justifiable reasons. Thus this makes more than one truth, and is therefore broken up into three definitions correspondent, coherent or pragmatic theories of truth.

    • Word count: 1169
  15. "What I tell you three times is true." (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula - Or a more sophisticates version of it actually determine what we believe to be true?

    I could persuade everyone I know that that my car is fast, but that doesn't actually make my car fast. This shows that a statement can be false, although everyone believes it to be true. This is shown in most religions, as religious beliefs do not rely on empirical knowledge, but on "facts" that are repeatedly drilled into the religious followers head, the religious "facts" that may be entirely untrue become accepted as the truth. For example, in Christianity, the bible tells the story of how the world was created in 7 days; Charles Darwin wrote a book on how

    • Word count: 1498
  16. "In order to find out how things really are, one must understand the filters thorough which one perceives the world" - Discuss and evaluate this claim.

    To support this claim, I will use biology in connection with natural sciences, languages, mathematics and arts in order to discuss the various factors, which contributes towards filtering our perception. But on the other hand, sometimes filters such as the limitations of our senses and other factors such as emotion, and logic do not contribute towards the filtering of our perception of reality as the opportunity for the filters to come in to play is not available in some aspects of biology, art and other areas of knowledge.

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  17. If facts by themselves never prove or disprove anything, what else is involved in the proof of a statement?

    Therefore, the results will be different, not totally, but there is a noticeable difference. The difference will not be the change in the product that is produced; the difference can be the amount, or the state that the substance is in or other minor differences. Some might argue that these small differences does not matter, the point is that the substance that is formed is the same, despite the difference in amount or form. That is technically correct, for example, H20 (liquid)

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  18. Should a knower's personal point of view be considered an asset in the pursuit of knowledge, or an obstacle to be overcome?

    These fundamental areas of knowledge provide each person a perspective on issues. Mathematics is the study of logic. Everything is based on reason. A mathematician rationalizes any statement quantitatively. History is the story of our ancestors and our past. By looking at history, one can learn from the past's mistakes and can be able to improve the human condition. However, history can be very biased at times because historians have to pick and choose what events will be recorded in books. Science is the study and explanation of natural phenomena. Scientific explanations are usually conducted through experiments in which a hypothesis is proved or disproved.

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  19. "In order to find out how things really are, one must understand the filters through which one perceives the world" discuss.

    The idea may have positive or negative feedback linked to it. For example, suppose a human being, fed up with life, decided that he/she wants to rob a bank and live off other people's riches. When he/she actually comes down to the whole plan, it has to be filtered through his/her brain. The brain understands the consequences behind the actions and does not filter the idea through, thus does not perform the task at hand. This idea may now be edging towards the background of the human conscience, but the conscience only kicks in just before one is about to make a comment, or perform an action.

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  20. The Mind Is Misled

    For example, lets say someone tells you about a rollercoaster ride, you can actually visualize and imagine by the way that person explains to you but you won't feel the rush or feel the wind in your hair, plus how bout if that person is telling you a lie then there will be no way of getting to the truth. But on the other hand if you experience it yourself you will know the truth and you will have experienced it with all your senses so that will make you even more knowledgeable and know the truth.

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  21. 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
  22. What might be meant by Nietzche's comment that "rational thought is interpretation according to a scheme which we cannot escape". What implications might this have for knowledge acquisition?

    I agree with what Nietzche states and I will try to explain why this is and how this affects the way we acquire knowledge further on in this essay. Logical thinking does not require previous knowledge, just a rule or statement that can prove, disprove or have no relation at all with the conclusion we arrive at. Respectively, the conclusion at which we arrive will be valid, invalid or undetermined. I think this does affect every thought we have, and every time we gain knowledge the same process will occur in our minds; We cannot disprove information unrelated to previous knowledge.

    • Word count: 1615
  23. “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?

    Mathematics also tries to be objective, and often there is only one unique answer to a problem. The use of 'the scientific method' in natural science relies on evidence being tested and retested, in order to form a guided principle or theory. Hence, to some extent, these two areas can be distinguished from others. However, not all mathematics is utilitarian. Some mathematicians study mathematics for mathematics' sake3. For them, mathematics is creative, using mathematical symbols instead of strokes on a canvas or words for their way of expression.

    • Word count: 1763
  24. Truth.People think that truth is relative because they could look at others points of view, but there are no different interpretations to truth.

    From the beginning of humanity, there were conflicts because of a disagreement between two sides. It was always a side that said something and a side that said something else, so nobody knew what was the truth. This situation and type of conflicts will never end. People think that truth is relative because they could look at others points of view, but there are no different interpretations to truth. It is direct and a hundred percent accurate and precise. This is why truth lies in sciences like math, physics and biology. In those subjects, the result can never be different; it is either wrong or right.

    • Word count: 1059
  25. 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

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