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Compare and contrast our approach to knowledge about the past with our approach to knowledge about the future.

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Introduction

1. Compare and contrast our approach to knowledge about the past with our approach to knowledge about the future. The past and the future are two opposing sides of the spectrum; however both share the quality of being ambiguous. This quality is what makes human beings seek knowledge about them, although what differs is how we approach each one. The question asks to compare and contrast each approach, thus we find that in the difference of how we approach knowledge of the past and knowledge of the future, we also find similarities between the two. Our approach on knowledge about the past is based on evidence and sources, while our approach on the knowledge about the future, although it is no more than just speculation, is usually based upon past patterns. Both these approaches also have their own limitations, creating differences in the similar fact that both can be questioned of their validity. The main difference, that is also the focal point of the differences and similarities between each approach, is the fact that the past has already happened, while the future is yet to occur. Thus, we find that when comparing knowledge about the past and future, we find more differences than similarities between acquiring knowledge about evidence than knowledge about speculation. The first basis of comparison between our approach to knowledge about the past and our approach to knowledge about the future is what this knowledge is based on. ...read more.

Middle

In other words, both approaches to knowledge are limited as both carry certain biases which make us question their validity. As we approach knowledge about history we have to be aware of the many biases that may be prevalent. These biases all stem from the same issue of us (people we are seeking the knowledge) not being the primary source/witness of the historical event. As we read a piece of historical analysis, we are instantaneously flooded with the author's point of view, which include his biases; such as whether he is supporting any particular group (social bias), if he has left out any details (deliberate manipulation), whether the topic the historian has chosen is influenced by current preoccupations (topic choice bias), whether the historian has only chosen evidence that supports his point of view (confirmation bias), or whether the historian has disregarded his pre-existing cultural and political prejudices (national bias) before writing the piece. An example of one of these biases would be the exclusion of the Japanese massacre of the Chinese people during World War Two in Japanese history textbooks. This would be an example of deliberate manipulation, as the Japanese government purposely excluded this significant event in history as a way of erasing their gruesome past. Moreover, since history, as we know it, is only what has been recorded by previous sources, we can not be sure of any unknowns that might have happened. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus, there is a difference in our approach to knowledge about the past and our approach to knowledge about the future, as our approach to knowledge about the past is set with a precondition of hindsight, which plays a significant role on how we view past events (history), while foresight does not play as significant a role on our approach to knowledge about the future as it is merely a prediction. In conclusion, our approach to knowledge about the past as compared to our approach to knowledge about the future has more differences than they do similarities. Our approach to the past is based on evidence and sources, while our approach to the future is based on the past; which creates a similarity in the difference. Both approaches have limitations which make us question their validity, but what differs is that our approach to knowledge about the future is limited as it is only speculation, while our approach to knowledge about the past in limited by various biases. Another major difference is that hindsight is a significant factor in our approach to knowledge about the past, while foresight only reinforces the speculation of our approach to knowledge about the future. The ambiguity of both the past and future creates a similarity between them, but how we approach gaining knowledge about them is completely different. ?? ?? ?? ?? TOK History Essay ...read more.

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