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

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Introduction

Topic Question: To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture. Does this mean that it is impossible to have objective knowledge? Exploration and discovery of objective knowledge is the core of much of human intellectual activity. Here, knowledge can be defined as an information that knower holds. The objective knowledge is highly valued by an individual and a community as 'truth' that all humankind can share and build their intellectual living upon. I as a knower personally know that, for example, that minimum score of 24 is required to pass IB Diploma and that Thailand in fact is not as dangerous as many people think she is. The understanding pursued by the use of the four ways of knowing- emotion, reason, language and sense perception- on a surface appears objective to many people. The statement "To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture" suggests that the understanding relies on the knower's experience and culture. Hence, exploration of objective knowledge is a pursuit closely related to experience and culture of knower. First of all, the term 'culture', defined as style of living built up by group of individuals with similar values, is broad for there are many types of culture. ...read more.

Middle

What a knower knows highly depends on a culture one is from. I as a member of Model United Nation know that communication and negotiation are crucial in MUN conferences. Understanding that experiences in MUN have thoroughly helped me is again affected by my experience and culture. Whichever school of thought one believes in, knower uses culture and experience as a guide to search for objective knowledge. The relationship between objectivity and subjectivity can be explained using a more-or-less continuum of state of knowledge running from very objective to very subjective. The understanding that Japan lost in WWII is very objective; the understanding could be backed up by knowledge that Emperor Hirohito made a speech that Japan had lost the war. When one talks about the knowledge that God does exist, the statement shows a more subjective understanding; it has not been proven, and even the types of god, such as Jesus Christ or Buddha or Hindu gods, is highly biased of one's culture and experience. According to the empiricists who flourished in 1800s, use of 'objective knowledge' such as science and medicine can perfect society. The philosophers believed that we could even have objective knowledge on history, should we use many statistics. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, because I live in 21st century, my understanding on this topic is biased by post-modernist view that "there is no objective knowledge". So, I am incapable of viewing past opinions, that there is objective knowledge, as it is. The only certain thing in this essay that I have made my conclusion based on multitude of different views on knowledge and understanding based on what was available to me. The quote makes an important comment suggesting that all supposedly "objective knowledge" that knower reaches as an individual and a community is in fact a subjective knowledge, highly biased by one's experience and culture. The point further highlights the inevitability of society to eternally work with the subjective knowledge to acquire more objective knowledge. To achieve this, knower must use his or her reasoning and critical thinking skills. It is the subjective knowledge that cultures base to find facts and knowledge on. Hence it holds significant value in the building up of societies and cultures. If a knower does not question the subjectivity of knowledge that he or she holds, there is no enhancement in the knowledge that a particular culture or community holds. Although having truly objective knowledge is not possible, through working with subjective knowledge and understanding led by culture and experience, one could proceed on with the quest for objective knowledge. ...read more.

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