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

In expanding the field of knowledge we but increase the horizon of ignorance.- Henry Miller. To what extent can a knower agree?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"In expanding the field of knowledge we but increase the horizon of ignorance."- Henry Miller. To what extent can a knower agree? By approaching this quotation with a simplistic viewpoint the knower may feel more inclined to disagree with Miller's statement. They might ask themselves, "How can this be true? If we know something, we know it." However, when considering this quote from my perspective, I could not help but think they are wrong. It must therefore be questioned whether this idea of Miller's can be both true and false. Placing myself into the position of the knower I deliberated over this statement and concluded that, yes, it is valid. However, as I am a physics student I may be considered bias, as there may be a great likelihood that I am more inclined to apply this statement to the scientific areas of knowledge. Although this may be the case I found that throughout science we use reasoning and observations to conclude answers to our questions, often through experiments. Nevertheless, after these experiments have been completed we are often left facing many more questions than we had to start with. To use a personal example as a way to further explain this point, recently I participated in an experiment in physics where we used a jelly-like substance to model human's skin, and dropped ball bearings at different heights, in an attempt to recreate and compare gun shot wounds. ...read more.

Middle

Feynman appears to have realised that by modelling the results of our experiments to the results of other scientists we have stopped looking for answers to our questions but have rather started looking for questions to fit our answers. For example if a group of scientists had been funded by a particular company, such as Range Rover to find the effects of carbon emissions on the environment, we know that the results found by these scientists will prove some benefit for Range Rover, and will not be entirely truthful. The reasons for this being that Range Rover would have been depending on the scientists to find an answer that benefits their company. As a result of these bias findings we cannot progress our knowledge any further. It is because of this that I feel we have condemned ourselves to lives of ignorance. The halt to intellectual advancement is not solely the fault of the scientists; we are all to blame. The ignorance in our lives is only further perpetuated by the laissez-faire way in which we simply accept information without question. By not asking these questions and aspiring to increase our knowledge we can never hope to reach the equilibrium between understanding and ignorance. An example that may help to clarify this declaration that I am attempting to justify would be the paradigm shift of the Sun's pattern of orbit. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although this example verifies the first point that, by knowing the answer to the historical question, there is simply nothing left to know about this question, it also contradicts it. In considering this example we relies there is a reiterates of the point prior, the point that suggests, yes, in expanding our knowledge we increase our ignorance. The reason for this being that in order to be certain the knower is not ignorant the knower must be 100% certain their knowledge is correct. The historian who thinks that Archduke Franz Ferdinand has died peacefully in his sleep is wrong, and therefore by knowing the false answer he has still increased his horizon of ignorance. To conclude this argument I feel that the best answer to suggest to a knower is that, yes it is valid, but at the same time, it is not. The knower must think about the context to which they are applying this idea to before they can make a reasonable judgment. By first considering the context, whether it be science or history, or art even, they have progressed further in their ignorance, and if the knower is assured that the knowledge they have gained is 100% accurate they again have come even closer to understanding the extent to which increasing our knowledge increases the horizon of ignorance. It is only after both of these variables have been considered that the knower can truly reach equilibrium of knowledge to ignorance. ...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. A historian must combine the rigor of the scientist with the imagination of the ...

    In conclusion, rigor is important because it provides the main facts behind an event, excluding the bias and basis of unreal facts. Imagination, on the other hand, is what allows the historians to interpret the historical facts. Without the imagination, there would be no interpretation, and without any interpretation, there would be no opinion.

  2. TOK summer assignment - Art Questions. Experiencing art, artists reputations and "what is ...

    Also, if there is a lot of publicity the artist does, such as hold exhibitions, then people would start to recognize the pieces and if they enjoy them then the word would spread about the artist. d) Do you think an artist's fame and reputation is important in how people judge art?

  1. The knowledge that we value the most is the knowledge for which we can ...

    Most of the world would strongly argue against that. This brings back the subjectivity in the word "value". Different people can have different knowledge they consider valuable, and religious knowledge is certainly one of them. While religion may not be able to provide strong justifications that define how nature works the way science does, religion does provide humans with morals and ideals that are valuable.

  2. The knowledge that we value the most is the knowledge for which we can ...

    These examples show how the value of a piece of knowledge affect the justifications one holds for that piece of knowledge. The significance in one's life also plays an important role on the justifications one holds for it. The more important the idea to the person, the more they will enjoy it.

  1. Autobiography of the Knower. What kinds of knowledge have you taken as true? ...

    The Chinese used to believe in ethnocentrism; the idea that they were at the middle of the universe; is that true because everyone believed it? No, it isn't. Therefore, knowledge by consensus is not necessarily a valid way of retrieving knowledge.

  2. A historian must combine the rigour of the scientist with the imagination of the ...

    People are a product of their environment and the environment in which the historian was raised could very much effect their claims. A historian is trapped in their time period. Does this mean that historical information is only valid for a certain amount of time?

  1. A historian must combine the rigour of the scientist with the imagination of the ...

    However, if AB blood is given to any of A or B, the latters's antibodies would strike out the AB blood. That is, translating this to knowledge matters, problems occur when history is outside its natural body - for instance, analysed as an objective scientific report, without taking into consideration

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

    Paulos, J. A. Beyond Numeracy, Vintage Books, 1992 Web sources: http://www.lettredelapreuve.it/OldPreuve/Newsletter/991112.html http://philosophynow.org/issues/78/Wheres_The_Evidence http://www.cut-the-knot.org/proofs/ TOK topics 1. In what ways may disagreement aid the pursuit of knowledge in the natural and human science. 2. " only seeing general patterns can give us knowledge. only seeing particular examples can give us understanding."

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