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TOK. How can the different ways of knowing help us to distinguish between something that is true and something that is believed to be true?

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Introduction

Mercedes Benz International School Theory of knowledge: How can the different ways of knowing help us to distinguish between something that is true and something that is believed to be true? Name: Rhea Silva School: Mercedes Benz International School Subject: Theory of Knowledge Topic Number: 7 Candidate Number: Exam Session: May 2010 Word Count: 1566 What is truth and who defines truth? Is truth that which is decided by a majority of people? Is something 'more' true if it is told to me by my teacher rather than one of my friends'? Is truth related to a certain time, place, culture, or age group or is truth simply relative? And if truth is relative, is that not a paradox in itself? We all have beliefs and we know that there is some truth in those beliefs. These beliefs which make up reality are fundamental to our lives. Yet, we cannot describe what is real or what is unreal. It is through cross examining our perception of reality that our lives gain meaning. Thus, I have to ask myself: Is the table I am touching solid, is the grass I walk on green, is the planet I live on spherical and so on. ...read more.

Middle

We did not want to be considered "stupid" by our peers by acknowledging the contradictory view. I believe that the Earth is round, but that belief is not based only on my perception of the evidence but also on my emotional reaction to the beliefs of the people around me. From the above two examples, it can be seen that irrespective of whether something is tangible or intangible, our emotions and our sense perception play a major role in shaping reality. If we choose to be traditional empiricists, and accept that we perceive reality through our senses, then we have to evaluate the effectiveness of our senses as a way of knowing. Do we perceive things through our senses or do we filter that which we perceive through our minds? Consider a collage with more than a hundred tiny pictures. If the collage is shown to a group of people for a minute and then they are asked to note down what they saw, some of them will recollect certain images that other had not even seen. This shows that even though the eyes may have seen the entire picture, the mind chose only those images that held some significance to the observer. ...read more.

Conclusion

Knowing that our perception is subjective to past experiences, social and cultural conditioning, biological limitations, language and other such factors, is it logical for us to believe that our senses give us truth? However, it is impossible not to rely on our senses in everyday life. I know that fire is hot; I know that chocolate is sweet to taste; I know that the fan is on if it is moving, i know that dead animals smell bad. Pragmatists believe in a truth that "works". We have to rely on our senses to live normal lives and progress. In conclusion, even if our senses are unreliable, it is necessary to form some inference of what truth is. In order to live normal lives, it is necessary to take some truths for granted. However, we should keep in mind that truth is not absolute. And hence, we have to question our sensory perception when it is comes fundamental beliefs and consider its limitations and the roles emotions and reason play in giving us truth. It is important for the individual to decide when his senses give him truth and should be able to distinguish between the senses in order to form his fundamental faith and beliefs which in turns forms his perception of reality and truth. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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