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

To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture. Does this mean that it is impossible to have objective knowledge?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture. Does this mean that it is impossible to have objective knowledge? How humans understand different events in their life varies. This topic suggests that people mostly rely on their experience and culture to comprehend their surrounding. They use subjective knowledge, which is based on personal opinion and a personal interpretation of events1, such as ethical issues. However, the question is if objective knowledge is possible. I would argue that it is. Mathematics, for example, can be understood through objective knowledge, facts and impersonal judgement, because the subject is not influenced by people's subjective desires or perception.2 Science, Art, and history, on contrary, can be comprehended by subjective or/and objective knowledge. In this essay I will explain with different examples that humans sometimes use subjective or/and objective knowledge to understand the world around us. People understand events in different ways. There are things in life that humans need to experience to understand it, for example not touching a warm stove. Most children, as I did, touch the warm stove despite their parents' warning, and after they have been hurt, they learn from their experience not to touch it again. Another way of obtaining an understanding is through culture. How people interpret events has been influenced by their culture. ...read more.

Middle

According to the Bible, to have an abortion, is to murder a human being. In that ethical issue I, as a knower, base my opinion entirely on The Utilitarian Theory, to achieve "the greatest happiness of the greatest number"11. My view on abortion, might have been influence by the culture I live in, the Swedish culture, where it is legal to have an abortion. It is also possible that I feel empathy, a part of kennen-knowledge, which is knowledge gained through conviction, introspection, empathy, practice and instinct12, towards my friend who thought she was pregnant. This is a subjective way of knowing13. She was only fifteen years old, with out any education, job or support from anybody. I am ashamed, probably because of my Christian faith as a Peruvian, to admit that I thought that the best solution was for her to have an abortion. In this case, the greatest number of people, my friend, the child and her family, will achieve the best happiness by not having the child. My perception about abortion is that it is a process of preventing a human being to be born. Therefore, I reason that the word embryo means an unborn child, which makes me feel guilty about applying the Utilitarian theory in this ethical issue. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mathematics in contrast to the other areas of knowledge is free from bewitchments, perception, emotion, does not belong to the natural world and as Bertrand Russell, the philosopher claims: it is pure logic and...has no subject matter"25. Humans need to reason, think logically and to rational to solve a mathematical problem26, which is not affected by subjective knowledge. Therefore, I would assert that objective knowledge is possible and that in mathematics it is essential to understand the subject. In this essay I have clarified that subjective and/or objective knowledge is essential to understand different events in our life. Art, history and science can be explained by subjective or/and objective knowledge. The area of knowledge that cannot be explained through objective knowledge is ethics, because it is based on personal judgement and opinion. Mathematics in contrast can only be understood through objective knowledge, since it is free from bewitchment, perception and emotion27. Objective knowledge is possible and is essential, for example, in mathematics. Words: 1599 Bibliography: Abel, Reuben. Man is the measure- A Cordial Invitation to the Central Problems of Philosophy. The free press, USA, 1997. Woolman, Michael. Ways of knowing- An introduction to the theory of knowledge Second Edition. IBID Press, China, 2006. Farmer, Alan. An Introduction to Modern Europe History 1890-1990. Hodder & Stoughton: 2000, Great Britain. ...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. Free essay

    How is knowledge gained? What are the sources? To what extent might these vary ...

    There is no way to know for certain that the answer is 10, but we claim that it is because we don't know any different. Knowledge claims vary a lot with beliefs. In Bermuda, Christianity is the main religion. I am a Christian therefore, I claim that God exists.

  2. To what extent can we rely on the knowledge provided by human scientists?

    We know that there exists some control of multinationals over science. Scientist can always be tainted by huge profits which companies can provide if they satisfy their interests. Also natural scientists can change data or reject peer reviews in order to protect their own ideas.

  1. Socratic dialogueAre reason and logic purely objective and universal, or do they vary across ...

    Before, there was a long period of time that China was isolated from the West. However after they reopened themselves with the West, their beliefs and superstitions have started to change. Today China's views are more connected globally. The society and the people's knowledge and education are also changing rapidly so that women are slowly getting more rights.

  2. Determinism. Minority Report is very similar to a book called, Chronicle of a ...

    Fate came into the John's fight to prove his innocence when the man ran into his gun and John killed him by accident. John didn't mean to but in the end of this situation he still looked like a murderer and could not be seen as an innocent man.

  1. Which sources of knowledge-books, websites, the media, personal experience, authorities or some other- do ...

    to be "easy reading" be favoured by less academic people, whereas Broadsheet newspapers, such as "The Daily Telegraph" are viewed as more truthful, publishing stories on politics and world occurrences, being read more by academics. Although some newspapers now contain "Broadsheet material" in a smaller tabloid format.

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

    (e.g. Giovanni eats spaghetti since he's Italian). These often lead to racism and sexism. Labels and stereotypes are useful when simplifying things but can be dangerous since they're not able to capture the uniqueness of each member of a group.

  1. To what extent can we rely on our sense perception to interpret knowledge through ...

    cave will be the spiritual concept of what we believe to be the real object using logic and reasoning not relying on our sensory organs used inside the cave. This concept is used in the art I am going to talk about further in which I believe shows an illusion of this real world.

  2. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now ...

    So there, imagination pokes into the scene and brings out what was gained and thought. Personally I feel that there?s no dichotomy between knowledge and imagination. Imagination is needed to create new concepts (ideas) and knowledge, and new knowledge enables further discoveries, functioning as a springboard to imagination.

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