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

"What I tell you three times is true" (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula- or a more sophisticated version of it- actually determine what we believe to be true?

Extracts from this document...


Question 2: "What I tell you three times is true." (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula- or a more sophisticated version of it- actually determine what we believe to be true? First of all, let me rephrase the question to make matters easier: do we believe in things because we are told many times that they are true or because we ourselves have been able to prove ourselves that they are true? I believe that the best manner to establish whether this formula actually determines what we believe to be true is to test it in different situations. In other words, as the "knower," I will investigate whether Lewis Carroll's formula works in various areas of knowledge and life experiences. We see that in some situations, this formula does determine what we believe to be true due to our intellectual or physical limitations, convention, emotions or language. Yet in others, what we believe to be true is shaped through experimentation and reasoning skills and thus, repetition is not necessary to form our beliefs. Let's use the natural sciences, physics in particular, as the first area of knowledge. I will make use of the "law of conservation of momentum" as an example to test this formula. The question that we must ask ourselves is: do we believe in this law because we were told that it is valid or because we saw/tested this theory? ...read more.


We see that these students use reason as a way of knowing, unlike the first group. In trying to assess whether Carroll's formula is valid in all situations, it is important to ask ourselves the question, "what causes some students to take information for granted and others to reason and not just absorb repetitive information?" I believe that five basic factors play a role here: culture and its conventions, emotions, personality, intelligence, and background knowledge. Firstly, the culture that we live in and the conventions and social environment in it is very significant. If we are repeatedly told that, for example, the Soviets were evil, we will be more likely to believe the above historical interpretation. Also, in every culture, the student-teacher relations are very different. In the United States, it seems as though students are encouraged to ask questions and maybe even to be skeptical. Teachers believe that knowledge should be acquired through active class participation and critical thinking. Yet in many Polish schools, students are taught to take the information for granted, memorize it, and to never question the teacher. Secondly, students often use emotion as a way of knowing. For example, the students may be Russian and thus, nationalism, which is an emotional feeling, may cause him to react in such a manner. ...read more.


However, they take this idea for granted due to the fact that they have been exposed to it since birth, thus it is a tradition, a repetitive concept in their lives. Convention persuades them to believe that the idea that God created the world is the absolute truth. This concept applies to all religions due to the fact that unlike they all rely on belief itself and not evidence. While in science, a theory has to be proven scientifically, in religion, faith and belief itself is enough to convince someone that for example, God exists. I was able to test Lewis Carrol's formula in several areas of knowledge, paying particular attention to ways of knowing such as reason, emotion, and language. On the basis of various renown, personal, and cross-cultural examples, I was able to find that this "formula" only applies in certain areas and situations. Scientists use the scientific method to determine what they believe to be true, unless physical or intellectual factors limit them. In history we see that the beliefs of some students are formed through reason, while others are affected by the idea"what I tell you three times is true." In everyday life situations, we see that this formula does create our beliefs, such as in our religions and reaction to slogans. It is important to take int Klaudia Loretti, D-0721- 020, page 2 Klaudia Loretti IB # D- 0721- 020 May 2003 Exam Session Theory of Knowledge Number of words: ...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. How can different ways of knowing help us to distinguish between something that is ...

    I took from that a lesson; emotions can never be a way of knowing for me. As I mentioned before, emotion is the most mysterious due to the fact that emotion born with us, sometimes we can't control these emotions, also these emotions can play big role in believing things, leaving the knowledge to discover the right truth.

  2. What I tell you three times is true. (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula ...

    The natural sciences are predominantly concerned with the use of scientific methods, which includes reason, observation and experiment as a means to obtaining 'truth'. Reasoning can be split into two has major branches, namely deductive and inductive reasoning, both of which could use repetition as a technique to establish what we believe to be true in the natural sciences.

  1. People Need To Believe that order can be glimpsed in the chaos of events

    as that the neutron can turn into a proton and an electron much like the frog turns into a prince in the fairy tales. The point of this example was to show that instead of accepting "chaos" people seem to be able to find order in anything, much like the theory of confirmation bias.

  2. Can we know something that has not yet been proven true?

    can not be false in any conceivable circumstances, so we can be entitled to claim to know it. This is not derived from the senses yet we class it as knowledge.10 Both History and Science are subjects, which we associate with discovering new evidence, however there are many differences between them.

  1. Science gives us a tool to work out whether what we experience is real ...

    patently it cannot be (a good example being tricks being performed by latter day magicians). Finally, ?what we are told is true?; this is a very broad and open statement. Many factors must be taken into account before deciding the validity of facts, information or theories presented.

  2. How can the different ways of knowing help us to distinguish between something that ...

    certain or they predestining something which is believed to be true they will say it has been ?alleged that?. However language can be misunderstood or when being translated some words may be left out and these words may have been crucial in understanding the truth.

  1. There are no absolute distinctions between what is true and what is false. Discuss

    We might remember our childhood friend to be really kind but in fact the person might not be because we our memory doesn?t remember all about the person. Natural sciences gave us coherence proof about how things work around us.

  2. This essay will attempt to determine whether a point or argument made to an ...

    Further to the importance and various nuances of repetition in the context of truth and belief another aspect needs a mention: the credibility or authoritative nature of the person conveying the actual message. We are going to proceed with an argument that the higher the social standing and credibility of

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