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

Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

TOK Essay 1 /2012 (DRAFT 1) 1. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing. (Nov 08 / May 09) Word count: 1378 words Reason is defined as "the way of knowing that allows us to reach sound conclusions as well as convince others that our arguments are valid." (Dombrowski, 2007) It is considered a reliable way of knowing since it uses facts to derive hypotheses, which are tested to either confirm or disprove them. Reason, therefore, has the ability to use logic and analysis to assist people in discerning truth from what is objectionable. In this essay, I will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason in its ability to attain knowledge. As mentioned above, reason approaches arguments with logic to distinguish between a valid and invalid argument in order to ascertain truth in a conclusion. The act of reasoning itself is divided into two categories: deductive and inductive reasoning. In deductive reasoning, a conclusion is drawn from two or more premises. However, for the conclusion of a logical argument to be true, the premises must first and foremost be true. If the premises, statement A and B, are true and the structure is valid, we are somehow compelled to accept that statement C, the conclusion, is also true. ...read more.

Middle

In this area of knowledge, one begins with certain established assumptions, axioms, and approaches the problem rationally to obtain results in the form of theorems. The theorems are considered certain after proof is provided to justify the proposed theorem with the reference to the axiom. In fact, philosopher Immanuel Kant claimed that "mathematics claimed the most resplendent example of pure reason happily expanding itself without assistance from experience". This is true to a certain extent as mathematical equations, once proven, are indisputable. For example, 0 X 3 = 0 and this is a proven fact in any case as the theory that any number multiplied by 0 is also 0 exists to support this truth. This clearly illustrates the strength of reason in delivering solid results in mathematics. Thus, a strength of reason is that it aids in the acquiring of stable and certain facts. Conversely, one weakness of reason is that it can result in the construction of two equally valid arguments which conflict each other and, therefore, cannot arrive at a certain conclusion. This is most evident in ethics. In justifying an act as moral or immoral, one goes through the process of considering evidence and agreeing on principles to attain a moral conclusion. If we were to consider the statement "animal experimentation is wrong", we would then have to find other statements like "animals are capable of feeling pain" or "the lives of all living things are sacred" to support our ethical argument. ...read more.

Conclusion

This person's emotional response to the song created meaning in his mind which becomes his own knowledge. One's knowledge of art can be impossible to rebuke because it is a personal interpretation and can be justified in its own way. Therefore, reason is weaker than emotion as a way of knowing in art as the former cannot provoke the same level of response to an artwork and is limited to the facts on the surface. As such, reason is sometimes not as effective on its own as a way of knowing. In conclusion, although reason shows us how to proceed with the given knowledge and corrects errors in conclusions in order to achieve more comprehensive insights, it is not the strongest way of knowing. Reason neglects the personal opinions of the person proposing premises of an argument which impacts its ability to attain sound and certain conclusions in ethical arguments. Also, the strength of reason as an independent way of knowing is limited, as there is a need for it to work in conjunction with the other ways of knowing namely sense perception, emotion and language, in order to fully construct and justify knowledge. Thus, reason is not infallible, but it does have its strengths as a way of knowing by using logic to determine which conclusions are valid and sound. ...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 do you think reason is an objective, reliable way of knowing? ...

    Only recently I found myself in a similar situation. My friends and I had just started having lunch while we waited for our other friends. When the others arrived to the table having gotten their lunch, one of them had a lot of potatoes on her plate and I said

  2. TOK reason as way of knowing

    The conclusion is from the first premise. Example: ISE teachers are kind. Mr. Overacker is an ISE teacher, therefore Mr. Overacker is kind. It is not informative because it doesn't have any investigation or any more observation about Mr.

  1. Evaluate the Strengths and Weaknesses of Language as a WOK

    However, although translation gives us the ability to switch between languages, it can often be extremely faulty and inaccurate; as each language has different grammatical rules that when translated may not give an accurate meaning as to what was initially written in that foreign language.

  2. Imagination as a Fifth Way of Knowing.

    What would have happened if Michelangelo had not modeled and remodeled the piece of rock, and had not used his reason to give it a proper shape. I think imagination gives us a platform on which we can realize and achieve our objectives with the help of other ways of knowledge.

  1. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing. ...

    However, reason also has a certain dominance influences on the area of knowledge of art. How do you classified beauty? What are the factors that can determine beauty? Is it even possible to measure beauty? Although many would argue that emotion and language play a more important role on this

  2. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of faith as a basis for knowledge in religion ...

    Therefore, disregarding this significant human entity, it has refrained the modern educated world from engaging in emotional connection to the divine. Emotion as a way to connect with religion has been criticized and ?disproved? however; many do not give the aspect of emotional connection to religion validity.

  1. Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of using faith as a basis for knowledge in ...

    This beats the point of there being sciences, making faith an unreliable way of gaining knowledge in the Natural Sciences. Since Natural Science is an area of knowledge that requires the support of evidence for any observations made, there is little use of blind faith.

  2. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing

    and a conclusion; three terms, each of which occurs twice and; quantifiers, such as ?all? or ?some? or ?no?, which signifies a quantity that is being referred to. Referring back, an example of a syllogism would be, ?All Cambridge University graduates are intelligent?, ?My brother is a Cambridge University graduate?, and ?Therefore, my brother is intelligent?.

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