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Theory of Knowledge Essay

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Introduction

Theory of Knowledge Essay "In order to find out how things really are, one must understand teh filters through which one percieves the world." Discuss and evaluate this statement. The first thing to do when trying to understand and evaluate this statement is to appreciate the different angles from which it can be seen. The first and most obvious thing to do is to take a closer look at the terminology. It is necessary to examine the key words - in this case above all the expressions "really", "filters" and "perception". After doing this, the statement as a whole needs to be examined, and it needs to be clarified to what extent it can be considered true. The first terms to define and clarify are "perception" and "filters". Perception can be defined as "The procession of outside information, taken up by the five senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting) and sent to the brain in the form of electrical impulses, where this information, in conjunction with the personal experience of the person, creates an image of the outside world." When looking at this definition it becomes clear that there are already three main filters in the process of perception alone: the fice senses, the conversion into electrical impulses and the personal experience of the percieving person. ...read more.

Middle

All the noises around us for example melt into one - we don't distinguish between all the diffenrent cars, we just hear traffic. The difference to the scientific filters is that we can percieve them consciously when concentrating on it. This has been found out by neurologists (e.g. Dr Darold Treffert) studying the phenomenon of "savants" (people with extrodinary abilities, such as calculating logarithms in the head or remembering the weather of a random day four years ago) - people in this condition do not process this information sub-consciously, but consciously and are thus overwhelmed by the information arriving in their brain. On top of these scientific filters of information there are also cultural ones. Stereotyping is a good example for this. Stereotyping - putting people into categories - takes away our objectivity and thus reduces the amount of consciously taken up information further. For example when meeting an American tourist, having the prejudice of Americans being not intellectual and having an over-confident view on their own abilities, one might be apprehensive towards this American, not consciously noticing good qualities in him, but rather concentrate on the bad ones. ...read more.

Conclusion

As it has been discussed earlier, perception is extremely prone to mistakes and subjectivity - as perception is a part of the process of reasoning, it must thus be said that reason itself is prone to mistakes and subjectivity too. Thus the concept of using reason to overcome the weaknesses of perception becomes a paradox, because reason itself requires a certain amount of perception, just as perception requires a certain amount of reason ("To gaze is to think", Salvatore Dal´┐Ż). What good is trying to find a reality beyond our own, if we are more than likely to never be able to grasp it anyway? If we consider the cultural and mental aspect, those that we can alter when concentrating on it, it is actually essential. Understanding between different cultures can only be achieved by the acceptance of both sides that one's own perception of reality is not objective, and does not necessarily be as real for everyone else. In conclusion to all this it becomes clear that although the statement itself contains a paradox, it also carries the important message of a non-existent universal reality, whose acceptance is vital for inter-personal and inter-cultural understanding. Words: 1482 ?? ?? ?? ?? Theory of Knowledge Katharina Ziegeler August 2007 ...read more.

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