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

To what extent do we need evidence to support our beliefs in different areas of knowledge?

Extracts from this document...


Theory of Knowledge Essay To what extent do we need evidence to support our beliefs in different areas of knowledge? The common phrase, 'seeing is believing', implies the message that you can only believe in something once you have seen it with your own eyes. The topic question for this essay, to what extent do we need evidence to support our beliefs in different areas of knowledge, challenges the idea of whether we need to see something in order to confirm our beliefs; or if through other ways of knowing such as reason, language and emotion we can support and trust in our own beliefs and ideals. This topic forces you to question the trust you have in yourself, in other people and in the world around you; it makes you think about the different areas of knowledge and to what extent we need different types of evidence to eliminate any doubts in our minds. For the purpose of this essay I am going to define the term 'evidence' as physical evidence, examples of this type of evidence can range from fossils to written accounts of events. The knowledge we gain from this type of evidence is empirical knowledge, we interact with the evidence through sense perception. I would also like to define the term 'beliefs' as your personal opinions on a particular issue/subject; deciding whether something is real or fictitious. ...read more.


Next I would like to evaluate history as an area of knowledge. In history there is a need for physical evidence to confirm and validate events that have taken place in the past. History, in this sense, is a difficult area of knowledge to fully grasp and understand as for the most part we were not there to witness the events we believe to have taken place. We are uncovering and learning more about our history each day, but there are still many blank spaces. For historians some of the most important and accurate information comes from primary source documents, written accounts of events from people who witnessed the event take place. I have included documents to the definition of physical evidence, however you must be careful about biases that may affect the validity of the evidence and the area of knowledge itself. The arousal of biases prompted my next knowledge issue, to what extent do biases affect the validity of the evidence? History, as an area of knowledge, can be passed down primarily through language. Language allows us to expand beyond our experience and learn about events in the past and in other areas of the world. Language as a way of knowing can become biased because the views told can be affected by the person's opinion. ...read more.


Implications that could arise based on my arguments and claims that history and natural sciences need evidence to support people's beliefs suggest that creativity and the childhood happiness from the use of imagination is a bad thing. Quite frankly, I think that we would live in a pretty boring world if people were forced to prove everything; and I don't think we would have progressed nearly as far as we have. An assumption I have made is that evidence that is not physical is less valid than non empirical evidence. I have taken this stance because that is my own personal opinion and I recognize that other people, perhaps those who are from a different culture, age or gender may have different views. To conclude, this topic has made me both doubt and confirm my own sense of belief in the knowledge areas, and in my life. I questioned whether it is harmful or beneficial to accept things as they are? And does that illustrate a lack of interest or judgment? I don't have a definite answer, but I think it's important to have a balance of both - I think it's actually quite refreshing to be able to both have the need for and not need evidence at the same time . No one can live their life searching for, or requesting proof to every question or doubt, it's just impractical, and sometimes there isn't any, we just need to have a little faith. ...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. Doubt is the key to all knowledge. To what extent is this true in ...

    The basic principles of math have evolved over time from counting to dizzying calculus and so forth. It is the factual support that each of these principles has, makes it difficult for any doubts to arise against mathematics that are already proven.

  2. TOK: Religious beliefs

    to ignore - and if fundamentalism were to arise, kill people belonging to - other religions. Some religious pluralists seem witless of this fact, by preaching the acceptance of all religions they are actively engaging in building up a nuclear war4; as religious beliefs-at their core- do not believe in the truth of any other religion.

  1. To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture. Does ...

    I would consider that ethics cannot be explained by Wissen-knowledge, which is an objective way of knowing14. Arts in contrast to ethics can be comprehended using either objective or subjective knowledge. One field of art is dance15. I have been participating in salsa for several years.

  2. To what extent should our actions be guided by our theories in ethics and ...

    Conversely, theories become vulnerable when they try to explain the complexity of the world and predict complicated human behavior. For instance, theories in psychology attempt to explain the workings of human consciousness; however, we are far from understanding consciousness and should be wary of letting those theories guide our therapeutic practices and behaviors.

  1. The extent and type of our language defines our knowledge of the world. Do ...

    Without words it would be difficult to remember our thoughts. Thinking about something unknown, our imagination, our creativity and the way we are able to discover make human beings different from other species and that is why it can be said that language is a consequence of the development of our knowledge instead of what defines our knowledge.

  2. Salt, governments, beliefs, and celebrity couples are a few examples of things that can ...

    It instills confidence and helps us eliminate fear. The bible says that while Peter, john and James, along with Jesus, were climbing down the mount of transfiguration, they accosted a poor man carrying a baby possessed by a demon. When His disciples were unable to exorcize the evil spirit, Jesus came forward and cast the demon out.

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

    Jane could have done whatever it seemed to have to fit in with the people around her but she was never going to quite be at their level. And the fact that Jane knew that impacted many of her decisions.

  2. Can we have beliefs or knowledge, which are independent of our culture?

    Bringing out your thoughts and ideas through the most prominent way according to me is the Arts. Although culture, has its own empire in this field too. Most dancers prefer to dance the styles of their own country, of their own culture.

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