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International Baccalaureate: Theory of Knowledge
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To what extent is certainty attainable? I shall argue the extent to which certainty is attainable can be limited by the methods and tools used to acquire knowledge.
I found this one in my schoolâ€™s laboratory. Itâ€™s used to measure small lengths between 0-25mm as indicated on its frame. The other number inscribed on this micrometreâ€™s frame is 0.01mm, which is its systematic error, indicating that if I use the micrometre to measure something like, say, a threadâ€™s thickness, and I get a value of 0.02mm, I cannot state it as exactly 0.02 but rather 0.02mmÂ±0.01. I find this (systematic error) to be incredible for it highlights that full certainty can be unattainable because of limitations within material tools used in data collection.
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To what extent are areas of knowledge shaped by their past? Consider with reference to two areas of knowledge.
The recording of religious knowledge in scripture means that central beliefs of a religion, such as the noble eightfold path of Buddhism and the Ten Commandants of Christianity, do not alter and this is true even for a religion as diverse and decentralised as Hinduism where the concepts of karma, moksha and the nature of truth have remained the same over large time scales and vastly different geographical locations and cultures. Therefore, it would appear that the central beliefs of each religion, which were conceived through past events, determine much of what is considered to be true in the present.
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the common points in religions, the theories put by different philosopher and the problems caused by the intolerance of the relatively different approaches. 1. Common Points in Religions * Reincarnation The basic idea of reincarnation is that an organism's soul leaves its body at death and then enters the body of another newly-born life form. Thus over time it passes through a series of successive existences in different physical bodies. According to an associated idea called karma, actions in one life will affect the form of existence in the next life.
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reason based moral foundation, it is more trustworthy to couple reason along with intuition to arrive at a more holistic ethical compass, while in Arts, depending on the which art-form is considered, the trustworthiness and relevance of reason will vary in such a way that in some cases reason might have to be coupled with sense-perception, while in other cases, especially performing arts and literature, imagination, faith, emotion, language and intuition might have heavier parts to play. In Ethics, some knowers are more inclined to Emotivism whereby, they would deem a certain conduct as right/wrong based on their emotional response
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With references to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.
In an attempt to answer this question I shall look at the human science of psychology. Psychologists have pointed out the existence of normative social influence, which is ?influence resulting from a person?s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval? (Myers 733). Through sense perception, one can imply that people seem to adapt shared knowledge, even if contradictory to personal knowledge, because of social pressures inherent in society. This psychological phenomenon, which leads me to spend an hour before going anywhere doing my makeup to try and fit this female stereotype, has larger implications when brought into more serious matters.
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Can we know when to trust our emotions in the pursuit of knowledge? Consider history and other areas of knowledge?
Like the two faces of a coin, emotions are edifying as well as chimerical. They can be a source of knowledge but an obstacle to knowledge as well. While writing this tok essay my mind winces to think what will happen if this essay is not given a good grade. And this emotional fear or curiosity can deviate me from my pursuit of expressing my views lucidly. Thus, emotions play both positive and negative roles. They can boost a student to climb unprecedented heights and also propel him to commit suicide.
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The historians task is to understand the past the human scientist, by contrast, is looking to change the future. Is this true?
History is an area of knowledge that depends on a blend of both the truth and understanding. Each history student is a result of their social ideals and their strategy is based on their own perception. However this perception ,in many cases, is shaped by their knowledge of the past. If a historian knew only one side of an event from the past he/she will most likely form a bias opinion. Whilst a historian who has explored both sides of the same event will most likely form a nonpartisan opinion. For example the Treaty of Versailles is still discussed by historians on whether it's reparation were fair on Germany.
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If a historian endeavours to explore the past, his step surely is to find out all the possible facts. Unless the historian makes an exact sense of the data, it is all absurd, as we know that the fact won?t speak for themselves. We must remember that the historian is an individual, not impregnable to bias, prejudice and discrimination. His history will be dependent on his particular interests, which are in turn, partially based on his culture. It is here where the crux of the problem lies. Like a geologists the historian too has to find the weak fossils print buried deep inside the earth.
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I cannot say about others but whenever I talk to a person first on the phone, I make his or her image in my mind. We fill colors and contours in everything unseen and unmet with the power of our imagination. Don?t we? Have you not heard of first impressions? No human being can deny the power of his imagination while living in this vast world where we don?t know what is going to happen the next moment. Einstein once said, ?Imagination is more important than knowledge.? His claim gives rise to a question if imagination can be used as a fifth way of knowing?
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Doubt is the key to knowledge ( Persian Proverb ). To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?
Therefore, doubt is the basis on which one proceeds to acquire knowledge. According to Plato, ?Knowledge is justified true belief?, which means, that in order to know that if a given proposition is true, one must not only believe in the relevant true proposition but also have good reasons for doing so. One implication of this would be that no one could gain knowledge by simply accepting a statement to be true. We would need to doubt a claim first, and then proceed further to validate the claim in terms of its credibility and truthfulness via the ways of knowing, such as emotions, reason, perceptions and language.
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As an IB student, how has your learning of history and science contributed to your understanding of individuals and societies?
The literary theory is highly significant as it reflects the message of the author that can de decoded to relate it to historical, sociological, mythological and sociological aspects of man and society. Literature is beautiful even if it is ugly; it is immortal and transcendental; it is a joy and truth; it is the well-spring to our lives; it is a universal teacher that has taught mankind from time immemorial, and stands intact to give a clear or abstract message to humanity, whether in poetry or in prose.
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As an IB student, how has your learning of literature and science contributed to your understanding of individuals and societies?
Not to talk of modern man, even the gypsies and Nomads in Africa lived in a society whether on land or on trees! An individual cannot live without a society. The proof is evident not only in the modern world but in the prehistoric world also. ?Charles Darwin through his revolutionary theory of evolution tells that man evolved from lower animals such as monkeys and apes over a period of millions of years.?1 Even before becoming humans, the apes and monkeys too lived in their own groups.
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Man has to rely on expert opinion to ascertain truth and also to justify many of his knowledge claims. In this modern world the opinions of experts in their respective fields have been very important to us. Teachers, preachers, doctors engineers and other professionals influence our lives to a great extent, and we follow their opinions blindly. For example at the hour of health problems, we consult a doctor, adhere to his opinions, following his advice, and consume the prescribed drugs never ever doubting that his advice may sometimes be detrimental, and the drugs fatal. But is a physician always right?
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Does god really exist? If yes, how ? as a thing, or a force, or in an entirely different way? According to Mark Twain, man is the only religious animal. It is religion that differentiates man from wild beasts. Religion is not only about the existence of god, it is claimed to be associated with values, virtues and righteousness also. 84% of the total population of the world (7 billion) is under the sway of religion. Religion is the way to seek God.
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Doubt is the key to knowledge (Persian Proverb). To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?
For example we know that the color of a man?s skin has nothing to do with the sins of his previous life, and that the birth of twins is a natural process. In my opinion doubt is a very important tool of knowledge. It is man?s rationality that has engendered the instinct of doubt. Doubt is the dawn! Doubt is rendered all the more penetrative as nothing in this world is certain. Plato calls this world as an unreal world made of the shadows of the real world in the heaven.
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As a TOK student, I will test the validity of the Persian proverb ?doubt is the key to knowledge.? My essay will also elucidate as to what extent this statement applies to the areas of knowledge ? math, the natural science, history, art, religion etc. I will particularly concentrate on the two areas of knowledge namely religion and natural sciences as these areas touch our lives at every turn and corner. ?Doubt is part of all religion. All the religious thinkers were doubters.? - Issac Bashevis We are living in a modern world ? a world shaped by science.
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What can be the effects of biased language and unsound reasoning on history? What happens to history when fabricated language wrings reasoning? According to Max Mueller, there can be ?No language without reason,and no reason without language?. Together with language and reason a historian writes history. Both the tools of knowledge are complimentary to each other. But these tools are not impregnable. Language and reason both can become swayed under the bent of mind of a human, made of flesh and blood. If they are the most instrumental in writing history, they are the most fallacious as well for distorting the real facts.
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Salt, governments, beliefs, and celebrity couples are a few examples of things that can be dissolved. Youve just been granted the power to dissolve anything. What do you dissolve, and what solvent do you use?
Thus in man?s journey on the earth over millions of years, fear still dominates him. To overcome his fear of darkness, he discovered fire but he still needs another fire that may quench his fear of failures. In my opinion this fear can be dissolved in the solvent of faith as faith is the opposite of fear. Faith is the panacea I want urgently to redeem mankind once again from the incorrigible talons of fear. What role can faith play in the elimination of fear?
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This disagreement was what motivated him to further search for alternative theories in creation of life. He conducted multiple experiments in search of evidence to disprove Empedocles? theory of spontaneous generation. Finally, he conducted the famous ?chicken broth? experiment that completely shattered the foundations of the theory of spontaneous generation. Today, people believe that Louis Pasteur?s theory that ?all cells are created from pre-existing cells? is true but even if this isn?t they will not care to test it unless someone disagrees with successful justification of his disbelief in the theory.
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Ethical judgments limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences. Discuss.
Because all the knowledge in the world already exists with various people? How far is morality setting boundaries in the understanding of new knowledge and information? Looking at the natural sciences and the arts as areas of knowledge, it is questionable whether it is morally correct for us to use and exhaust knowledge, talent and resources while we leave nothing for the coming generations. Or, are we so engrossed in setting the moral boundaries that we don?t see the advantages or the new knowledge that can be gained from it?
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"That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow." Consider some of the knowledge issues raised by this statement in two areas of knowledge
The language of the television ads for Splenda further propelled his emotions to adapt himself to new knowledge. But today I feel that knowledge is an issue that needs more than meets the eye. More than the ways of conventional knowing it requires experience, observations and imagination. There should be certain grounds, which we must consider before discarding knowledge in favour of a new knowledge claim. As a knower, I want to answer this question in the areas of knowledge human sciences and natural sciences and explore the issues that are instrumental in discarding an accepted knowledge claim.
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Ethical judgments limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences. Discuss.
Do ethics help in the functioning of society or merely place boundaries on the inquisitive human mind? Further, who defines what is ethical and what is not, how can we so easily accept a certain action to abide by ethics and another to not? Natural Science is a branch of science that deals with the physical world; it is a combination of biology, physics, chemistry, and geology. Natural Science looks to decode the very scientific rules that dictate the natural world. In the larger picture taking into consideration only natural sciences, various governing bodies also judge ethics differently in various fields of study; for example the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry governs chemistry.
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That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow." Consider some of the knowledge issues raised by this statement in two areas of knowledge.
We try to acquire knowledge through the ways of knowing, and since the ways of knowing differ from person to person, gaining knowledge is becomes a difficult task. Knowledge starts with experience, observation and imagination, but the claim is doubted again and again from every angle until it is empirically tested. And yet it is the irony of human kind that what we know today is discarded tomorrow. One theory is replaced by the other, and on and on, and sometimes it becomes really hard to differentiate what is right and what is wrong.
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