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

Is it possible to justify the different ways of knowing?

Extracts from this document...


TOK Essay 1/2011 Question: Is it possible to justify a hierarchy of different ways of knowing and, if so, on what basis? Name: Valerie Ng Suying TOK group: P1b (Mr Eric Lau) Index Number: 21 For many generations, humans have learnt to attain knowledge through many different ways including reason, sense perception and emotion. Reason is the way in which truth can be ascertained by thinking and the process of reflection alone (SOTA TOK Lecture 1). Sense perception is the awareness or apprehension of things by sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) and emotion, is any of the natural instinctive affections of the mind which come and go according to one?s personality, experiences and bodily state: a mental feeling (New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary). These ways of knowing have their own advantages and shortcomings and often lead to different new knowledge for a given environment or data set being considered or examined. Over time, humans have come to realize that the acquisition of knowledge can be made more efficient and effective if these ways of knowing are applied in a more structured manner. ...read more.


On the contrary, the one who is color-blind may see that the color has changed to say, purple instead of blue. Therefore, knowledge derived from sense perception is often not as precise. In spite of reason giving us a plausible and logical conclusion, there is a problem of induction where it is based on assumptions and sometimes prone to fallacies like hasty generalization. For example, in the area of mathematics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy), Premise 1: 0 has the property F. Premise 2: For every number n, if n has the property F then n+1 has the property F. Conclusion: Every number has the property F. The conclusion in the above example may not necessarily be true, but it nevertheless illustrates that the inductive reasoning process requires the examination of observations, ideas, outcomes and events, in order to find common themes to reach a unified conclusion (mindtools.com). In contrast, data is derived solely from the senses in sense perception, at times introducing bias in the process. Further, despite the shortcoming of induction, a reliable and accurate conclusion can still be achieved, given that one can easily state the exception to the universal statement or conclusion. ...read more.


Hence, emotion can easily mislead and impede a person from deriving at reliable and accurate knowledge. For example, valid scientific data cannot be obtained entirely through feelings or instincts. The same can be said about mathematics where emotions cannot be used to solve an equation or to prove a theorem (weblamp.princeton.edu). Conversely, sense perception, to a certain extent, could bring about a more reliable and accurate knowledge compared to emotion. Perception in some ways can be reliable if majority arrived at the same information using their senses, though this may not always be the case. In summary, though these ways of knowing work interdependently for one to obtain knowledge, they differ in their ability to provide consistent and precise knowledge. Emotion is heavily influenced by one?s belief, culture and religion, which may render it unreliable and inaccurate. Our senses have limitations, thus restricting us in attaining Knowledge as well. Reason however, provides a logical process that enables us to assimilate the information that is gathered through emotion and perception, thereby allowing us to decide whether the information is reliable and accurate. Hence, it can be concluded that it is indeed possible to justify a hierarchy of the different ways of knowing according to the criteria presented above. ...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. What is Gentleman? What are the characteristics of the Gentleman? Is it possible to ...

    Therefore the Gentleman should know what is moral, shows the benevolence, should be worthy of the reverence and must follow all rites. The gentleman must respect the people below and above his position. It is one of the Confucius's ideas that characterize the gentle man.

  2. To what extent is truth different in mathematics, the arts, and ethics?

    And because of the knowledge that I possess on each religion, I know that killing for selfish reasons (i.e. for one's own desires) is considered to be 'wrong', and is strictly forbidden in all the religions. The truth in ethics can also be considered 'absolute' because there are some rules that (depending on the person)

  1. TOK notes. The problem of knowledge There are three ...

    There are also words which have more than just one equivalent in another language (du/Sie) � Idioms - colloquial expression which has a meaning which cannot be worked out from the meanings of the words it contains. It is required to know the idiom itself.

  2. Compare and contrast knowing a friend to knowing how to swim,knowing a scientific theory ...

    Looking at the claim: 'I know my friend', I realize that knowing a friend implies knowing them based on how they think. I tend to associate emotions with that: you have shared emotions with a friend, and therefore 'understand' each other.

  1. Does the End justify the Means?

    When a person is constantly in pain they will say whatever it takes in order to make the person stop torturing them. When it comes to the issue of the ends justifying the means taken in order to accomplish them, there are certain questions which someone needs to take into consideration.

  2. Examine the Claim That It Is Possible to Attain Knowledge Despite Problems of Bias ...

    The author does and as an individual, he must have his own ideas of reasoning what?s acceptable and what he thinks is relevant to his purpose, after all, it is his book. The book serves to summarize the events and interprets mostly by the author?s point of view and in

  1. Extended Essay. How do social class and gender affect the pursuit of happiness ...

    She thinks, ??and the strange little figure there gazing at me, with a white face and arms specking the gloom, and glittering eyes of fear moving where all else was still, had the effect of a real spirit: I thought it like one of the tiny phantoms, half fairy, half

  2. TOK Essay. The entire accuracies of mathematics and the natural sciences rely on the ...

    Tasting is the one thing that is not required in any of these sciences, as lab equipment and substances used in the lab are not safe to be out in one?s mouth. They are highly dangerous and can lead to complications and even death.

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