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

When can we trust our senses to give us truth?

Extracts from this document...


Kim Baardsen Monday, November 19, 2007 IB 1: Theory of Knowledge When Can We Trust Our Senses to Give Us The Truth? When can we trust our senses to give us the truth? This is a complicated question that requires us to think about how much of what we perceive is reality and how much is created by our minds and beliefs. For us to do this we must do as Bertrand Russell says in his book, "Problems of Philosophy": "the painter has to unlearn the habit of thinking that things seem to have a colour which common sense says they 'really' have and to learn the habit of seeing things as they appear." (Russell, Bertrand) This quote refers only to sight, but it is good to recognize that we must do the same for all our senses: we must learn to make a distinction between 'appearance' and 'reality'. This requires us to look past our prejudices and beliefs and perceive what is really there. The four ways of knowing (logic, perception, emotion and language) all play an important part in this, as our prejudices and beliefs are formed when as we take in information and our minds do their best to organize it so that it is understandable. ...read more.


At the time of a certain experiment, everything could be perfect to make a theory true, and it is disproved not long after by someone else. This could be because the scientist interpreted the information wrong, their equipment was not accurate or they were not aware of the small but important factors that affected their experiment in different ways. At the time of the experiment, the results were pragmatic and cohered with their previous knowledge. The information could even correspond with other people's information, but when there is more justification it is easier to believe that it is true. This gives us an important human trait: justification and evidence are used to prove the validity and reliability of an established "truth" even when it is not necessarily the true. We see it as the truth because we can not see what is wrong with it and there is nothing that contradicts it at the time. As soon as there is some doubt, humans naturally try in some way to make it irrelevant or take it into account and try to find ways of minimizing that doubt. ...read more.


Math is good at giving us the true and is used all the time, in our heads subconsciously, in banks to manage our money, in power-plants so we do not blow out our electrical equipment and the examples go on forever. Math is used everywhere because mathematical answer is the truth. The flaw of math is that it gives us a very simple truth. As soon as you add more variables it just gets more complicated. Math also does not give us useful truths to areas of knowing like psychology, or literature because it is impossible to explain these things using numbers. When trying to see if something is pragmatically true, we must use the same pure logic and reason to limit doubt. Pragmatic testing should be the same for everyone, while correspondence and coherence testing very individual as they test if something is true by checking a claim with something else, be it another person or another sense in the body. There is the problem that one of these sources could not be the truth making the truth not true. In my opinion, we should trust our senses to give us truth when we have eliminated all doubt and there is trusted justification. ...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. Tok History. My thesis is that although history and our ethics will always ...

    What is right and what is wrong? Such simple questions are the basis of discussion in terms of the Area of Knowledge (AOK) called Ethics. However, if we were to define ethics, we should consider the quote, "Ethics is part myth, part hope and party reality". If we take for example the role of ethics in my

  2. When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    If they are always looking sad and depressed and all they talk about are miserable thing, then they must be emo.

  1. Difference of Truth and knowldge

    Kennedy into the Oval OfficePresident Kennedy, cannot be attacked by an idea justified by passionate conviction. However, when it comes to determining the date Stalin came to power, it is almost impossible to use anything but passionate conviction (as well as evidence to backup your statement).?In an area such as

  2. Art is a lie that brings us closer to the truth- Pablo Picasso. Discuss.

    It helps us understand ourselves, our societies and other people with a greater sense of clarity. It was once said that "Picasso painted chickens that were more like chickens than any 'real' chicken". Is this really possible- to portray something, that was taken from reality, better than it is in reality?

  1. Choose two senses and explain how they have claims to knowledge.

    Which derives in new or "better" information, which always gets closer to the truth but it can never be fully reached. As a knower, I imagine myself in located at the beginning of a short corridor where I can see a blurred image of the truth in the end.

  2. When can we trust our senses to give us truth ?

    We also use this sense to test for any rough surfaces or unsupported floors which can cause us harm, also we use our sense of touch as a way of gaining knowledge through bodily kinaesthetic learning when we act out physical movements to help us learn and this is helped by the sense of touch.

  1. When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    But in this case, the molecules of sand and clay seemed to be drinking the milk, which does not seem intuitively correct. However, reasoning did not occur to the millions of people who spent ten times the actual amount to buy milk to please the lord.

  2. How do the 4 WOKS interact to give a picture of a reality?

    For that matter, even anger is often emotion overpowering of reason, an thus leads to a distortion and in many case misinterpretation of the truth itself. Different people see and perceive different ideas, objects and items differently, leading to varying beliefs.

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