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

Examine the ways empirical evidence should be used to make progress in the different areas of knowledge.

Extracts from this document...


David Restrepo Guzman TOK essay: empirical evidence in "progress" 22/01/09 Word count: 1113 Examine the ways empirical evidence should be used to make progress in the different areas of knowledge. Empirical evidence could be defined as data that is collected by the senses; it can be measured and repeated in most cases, and definitely based on observation or experience. Therefore with this explanation is correct to say that empiricism is a theory of knowledge which asserts that knowledge arises from experience, also emphasizing the role of evidence and especially sensory perception. Empirical evidence definitely has to be used in order to make progress in the different areas of knowledge. Therefore is suitable to say that probably the areas of knowledge that analyze more deeply the empirical evidence, are the natural a social sciences, specially physics and economics, respectively. Unfortunately the meaning of progress is very subjective. 'Gradual improvement or growth or development'1 can be a suitable definition, but what are the consequences of development? Can we really define it as an advance to society? The answer is relative and has to do with the different biases and points of view. ...read more.


In nuclear physics, by several years of investigations and collection of data, scientist have concluded that is very useful for developed cities as it helps to save the limited supplies of coal and oil, as well as it produces more energy with less quantity of raw material. Mainly because one ton of uranium produces more power than several million tons of coal and petrol, also nuclear energy reduces the environmental pollution. Therefore is correct to say that it is a progress, mostly in the way of ecological issues, but it also involves a great hazard, as the nations of the world have enough nuclear bombs to kill every person in Earth, without taking into account how unstable this kind of energy is. In the other hand economists use empirical evidence in a more subjective way, as human behavior is relatively unpredictable, as each individual in a society may react differently towards a circumstance. Based on observations and experimentations the social sciences look for a calculation on how society will react towards something, but clearly mixing subjectivity with objectivity. Because of experience some people may know how others will react in case of a crisis. ...read more.


In the other hand the better way to examine empirical evidence in economics will be for an improved allocation of resources in order to have a more equilibrated income distribution. This can be done by analyzing information as the assumptions for inflation and unemployment, and conjectures about possible solutions that are taken by past experiences on the country's economy. By examining deeply this kind of information, crisis like the one the world is experiencing nowadays can be prevented, thus avoiding all the social and economic cost it implies. In conclusion is suitable to present the idea that progress is a very subjective word, where depending on the situation, biases and points of view can really change its meaning of improvement or development. Is also palpable that with new researches based on empirical evidence, society will continue to observe an advance in some areas, let's name them technology, medicine, comfort or improvement of quality of life. However as I stated before morality, capability, equilibrium and religion will definitely be affected. A mid point involving the advantages and disadvantages of progress will also be subjective, as it depends on the perspective and circumstances of each individual. As everything in life some people will be negatively affected while others will take advantage of it. ...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. One definition of knowledge is true belief based on strong evidence. What makes evidence ...

    together, the evidence they produce is stronger than that of a lone source. The biggest problem historians face is obtaining enough evidence - the greater the age of the event they are studying, the less evidence they will find, as evidence is destroyed (intentionally or unintentionally).

  2. Evaluate the role of intuition in different areas of knowledge

    This is not the case. It is the conclusion drawn by their subconscious. Using USA's current economic situation as an example one could predict and feel a depression coming by observing the market. The house market crashed as did the dollar; this is bad news and is very likely to lead to a depression.

  1. If progress is to be achieved, we cannot insist on knowledge that is founded ...

    This view has gained wide acceptance and is now seen as a substitute for the former. The foundationalists' enterprise does not fit the need of the society. It is coherentism which is the accepted model of knowledge, not by epistemologists, but by practitioners of social and natural sciences.

  2. Which areas of knowledge are affected by doubts?

    So people were all dependent on belief. They have developed lots of things based on belief and achieved some results from it. There were also human developments based upon these counterfeit ideas. The major example of this is doctors giving a placebo to their patients. People do not know the medicine given by doctor is a placebo

  1. TOK Evidence

    I rationalized about what I had to do instead of letting my anger and distress cloud my judgment.I do not let my feelings muddle my thoughts because I can isolate the two ways of knowing of reason and emotion when needed.

  2. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. (Christopher Hitchens). ...

    by not dismissing knowledge claims, we are speeding up the process of pursuit of knowledge. However this does not imply that knowledge claims without evidence should be accepted, it implies to keep these theories in mind while performing experiments. The reason for this is that our perception is biased and sees only what we expect to see.

  1. Discuss some of the ways in which statistics can be used or misused in ...

    I believe statistics do more harm than tell the truth due to several uncontrollable and controllable factors such as; geography, reliability of data, etc. By scrutinizing these factors, one can determine whether or not to accept statistical evidence. Such evidence has the most prominent use in the Human sciences, particularly psychology, History and ironically even in mathematics.

  2. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. (Christopher Hitchens). ...

    No one dismissed these claims basically because it suited them. One might then raise the knowledge issue whether a knower dismisses or accepts assertions because of the evidence or because of convenience. As far as the Human Sciences are concerned, evidence is not always to be found.

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