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When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

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Introduction

TOK Essay Title When should we trust our senses to give us truth? By Viraj Patel IB 1B Supervisor Mr. Ombewa Word count: 1,444 Senses are the means by which we receive information from the environment, this information is then interpreted in our brain, just the way a computer process raw data by interpreting the data and producing something meaningful to the user. Therefore the way the brain will interpret what an individual has received from his/her senses will affect his/her perception i.e. the way one interprets and organizes their sensations. This therefore affects an individual's ability to obtain knowledge, as an individual's emotions and reasoning become tainted by their perception of an issue and therefore their ability to seek truth because, knowledge was defined by Plato as "Justified true belief." Therefore that belief must be true and has to be justified, for it to be considered knowledge, thus to obtain the truth we must justify our beliefs. However this definition of knowledge seems to be ambiguous to me because there are certain knowledge claims that are considered as true by some and false by others, and yet to classify a claim as true or false an individual must have knowledge about the claim he/she makes before regarding it as true or false. A good example is the existence of the soul in human beings, the soul as defined in the 2004 Encarta encyclopedia is "The immaterial element that, together with the material body, constitutes the human individual." ...read more.

Middle

But an individual with an unbiased mind will be able to gain more knowledge as they are more open to the different views regarding a knowledge issue. Emotion can also affect the seeking of truth, because when we are emotional we tend to move away from making logical decisions and instead move to giving fallacies, regardless of what input our sense give us, therefore making it difficult to obtain the knowledge that is against one's version of the truth. A good example of such a situation would be my love for the TV series "Nip Tuck" when I was in year 10; I loved everything about this series and would never skip an episode as I thought it the best thing I could possibly do with my time, and when "Nip Tuck" went off season I was devastated, as I matured, I figured out that my devastation was because of my lack of separation between the facts and my emotions, therefore my emotions lead me to a reasoning that I would not survive without the show, as David Hume perfectly puts it "Reason is a slave to emotion" . This affected my reasoning and therefore my ability to separate the truth from the false, that indeed I can live a normal life without "Nip Tuck". I also believe that our beliefs and traditions play an important part when it comes to seeking the truth. ...read more.

Conclusion

This implies that different people can have their own version of truth on a particular issue as the way they analyze the information from their senses if affected by a number of reasons which vary from one individual to another, of which I have mentioned a few above, these different reasons from my perspective are the ones that may lead us to obtain further knowledge so as to reinforce our version of the truth and in doing so will also give us a better understanding of other versions of truth and thus increasing our knowledge. However I also feel that as we develop our version of the truth we tend to shun away knowledge which disregards our truth, therefore our minds fail to obtain priceless information and knowledge whose use is unknown to us. Therefore when we are seeking the truth we must understand that it is not only our senses that give us truth but how we interpret these senses is what leads us to the truth, and thus we must be as objective as possible when we interpret our senses so as to obtain a truth which is free from any factor that will influence our gaining of knowledge and therefore our ability to get the truth, as far as we possibly can. Acknowledgements > Mr. Ombewa's and Mr. Ocharo's class notes and discussions > 2004 Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia > Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (www.iep.utm.edu) ...read more.

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