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Where does knowledge come from?

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Christine Long 10/10/03 IB Theory of Knowledge Nicely Where does knowledge come from? How is knowledge attained? Webster defines knowledge as "the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association" and "acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique." Furthermore, it can be concluded that knowledge is attained through experience and understanding. Time is needed to gain understanding and experience something. It once was said, that "Without a knowledge of the past we would have no knowledge at all." How valid is this statement? It seems to me that all knowledge comes from the past, for all knowledge must be attained over time. One does not suddenly come to an understanding about something suddenly, randomly in the present. Something that one has experienced or studied has brought him this revelation. Also, time is always changing. In reality, there is no present. All that has been said and done is all in the past. All acquired knowledge comes from the past. From a historical standpoint, all that is known about the past is acquired knowledge that has been attained over time. ...read more.


When an outsider takes the stories from all participants, he might be better prepared to tell a more accurate account. True that the young writer might be more biased to one's viewpoint than another's, as can be expected of anyone. But is it not true that his account can be more objective and critical, and thus overall more accurate? One might argue that one who experienced something would most definitely be able to give a more accurate, more real history of an event. For example, a Vietnam war veteran who fought on the front might give a better account of what life was like for the average soldier. He would be able to give all the details. Yet, that would be just one aspect of the war. Other aspects from other people should be taken into account to. Also, someone who first handedly experiences something as traumatic as war is oftentimes psychologically unstable and cannot give a completely accurate version. With relation to psychology and other human sciences (sociology, anthropology, economics, psychiatry), all knowledge comes from the past as well. ...read more.


From another aspect of human sciences, economics, the past is used as a guideline for the future. Economists use information about human spending and saving habits, government policies, and market trends to develop principles and information that explains the economy. All of this information comes from what people have done in the past overtime. Economists then use this information to make predictions about the future of the economy and to make suggestions about what people should and should not do when money is an issue. True, this is a very useful human science that uses information from the past to develop knowledge. Yet, it cannot always be accurately used to predict the future; the reason for this is that although one can predict human behavior, it is always subject to change and cannot always be accurately anticipated. As one can see, all knowledge comes from the past. There is no present. Time is always changing, causing all that is said and done to be in the past. Alternatively, one cannot gain knowledge from the future, for the future cannot be foreseen. In history and in the human sciences, all knowledge attained has come from careful experimentation, research, and analysis. Word Count: 1166 ...read more.

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