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

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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.

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