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TOK Essay: Using history and at least one other area of knowledge, examine the claim that it is possible to attain knowledge despite problems of bias and selection.

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Title: Using history and at least one other area of knowledge, examine the claim that it is possible to attain knowledge despite problems of bias and selection. Knowledge is not complete. It is not to say that knowledge is partial; rather, it is not absolute. Whether perceivable or not, bias and selection exert some influence in the process of the Ways of Knowing, and its effect on the acquisition of knowledge is tremendous. But this does not mean we cannot attain knowledge whatsoever. Knowledge can be gained, as it has been since the beginning of human civilization. In this essay, I will examine the nature of knowledge acquisition in two Areas of Knowledge, history and literature, to determine to what extent attaining knowledge is possible. In order to evaluate the validity of knowledge, it is essential to understand what the nature of knowledge is. Knowledge is not just "accurate information." Of course, knowledge may gain higher validity when without individual bias, depending on which scope of the Areas of Knowledge it is placed. However, according to the Ways of Knowing, one can say that knowledge does not have to be entirely objective. ...read more.


However, even the most neutral perspective is often tainted by bias, as growing international interdependence makes an incident in one area affect multiple other areas. Thus, a completely objective view in History cannot be achieved. This is the main problem of History that haunts its truthfulness. But despite this problem, History is still believed to be a valid area of knowledge. This is not because it is largely objective; historians agree that History is full of national, regional and even individual bias. It is the role of the inquirers of historical knowledge to determine what had actually happened in the past, based on the different versions of historical records from different contexts. This makes attaining knowledge in History relatively difficult. If a person wants to gain knowledge of the Fourth Crusade, for example, he/she has to read records from the English, French and German perspective of the event, as well as the Seljuk Turk's. Different points of view at the national level must be considered such as the political aims of each nation, the extent of Catholic influence, gain and loss of manpower, etc. ...read more.


Thus, it is valid to say that what the audience feels from their subjective-or "biased"-views are all part of the literary knowledge. Thus bias and selection actually adds to the value of literature. However, it is important to note that this is only one of the methods of analyzing literature, and not all. Analyzing a piece of literature from the audience's point of view is more or less limited, and a "complete" knowledge can only be gained from thoroughly examining the work from all points of view. Only then the value of bias and selection can truly shine its value. Knowledge is not absolute; it is not free of bias and selection. Nevertheless, knowledge is valuable in that they encompass even the products of bias and selection. History and literature, altogether, prove that knowledge can be attained despite the problems of bias. As mentioned, basing a process of gaining knowledge entirely on bias and selection should be avoided. But used properly, they even show that in some cases they can enhance the acquirement of knowledge, adding much to the value of knowledge as a whole. WORD COUNT: 1224 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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