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International Baccalaureate: Theory of Knowledge

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  1. Capital Punishment and why it should be abolished, with particular regard to the Human Declaration of Rights

    Countries such as the USA are also abolishing the death penalty. As of now, only 38 of the 50 states have abolished it. I would say that capital punishment has its disadvantages and advantages but overall, I would support the abolishment of capital punishment. This act of murder has been popular along the years but must be stopped now. According to me, execution of a person is just like legal murder and devalues the respect we place on human life.

    • Word count: 1792
  2. How important are the opinions of experts in the search for knowledge?

    However, we must realize that those experts are humans after all, thus they -like all of us- are subject to commit mistakes and errors, and hence I believe that opinions of experts -in most cases- are useless. We must also consider the process of making an expert, an expert is someone who has gained his expertise from another authority (weather it was another expert, a book, a professor etc.) this process will keep tracing back to someone who has actually tested the fact and received sufficient empirical evidence that the statement (whatever it was)

    • Word count: 1612
  3. How does vocabulary shape our knowledge?

    To what extent can the truth of a knowledge claim be fully interpreted in the hands of language? History consists of many factors that cause the evolution and the invention of many words; some are formed exclusively in a certain language under specific environment and culture, where other languages might be hard to interpret. As different cultures develop through time, languages are formed and began to vary themselves to fit the growth of their culture. Take Italian as an example, there is a word to describe the mark being left on a table by a moist glass: culacino, while the

    • Word count: 1699
  4. Seven Days: A Brief History. During the week of November 7th to November 13th of 2011, there were a vast number of events that occurred worldwide that made headlines and affect people in some way. In this following paper, the events that have passed in t

    United States officials also warned that hotels occupied by foreigners in Nigeria may be bombed by a radical Muslim group as the Nigerian death toll have rose to more than 100 people.2 For the day of November 8th, there were events that included the resignation of Greece's prime minister and already finding an interim prime minister because of how their government has gone downhill over the past days and months. Also from this happening, the country of Italy is also going through a downward spiral.

    • Word count: 2054
  5. How Inner nature and survival of the fittest relate to the relationship of mind and body in the case of Floyd Mayweathers boxing match against Victor Ortiz.

    Many people believe that Mayweather won in an unfair manner by throwing a knockout punch at a defenseless Ortiz in the fourth round of the fight, but was it truly unfair, what were the factors that played a role in Mayweather's actions, such as the philosophical concepts of the relationship between mind and body, and inner nature such as survival of the fittest. Floyd Mayweather is considered by many to be one of the greatest boxers if not the greatest boxer in the world today and perhaps of all time.

    • Word count: 1856
  6. The vocabulary we have does more than communicate our knowledge; it shapes what we can know. Evaluate this claim with reference to different areas of knowledge.

    We are able to not only conceive thought, but build upon it, ultimately creating a whole new concept overall. When you peel back this concept, exposing down to the core, you will discover two hemispheres upon which it is built: knowledge and vocabulary. Now I challenge you to participate in this exercise. Simply think of one thing, whether it be an object, a person, an idea. Now think of all the words in your bank of vocabulary to describe it. You probably could not rein in the overwhelming number of words that have come to mind. You are now probably thinking of all the words that exist but of which you have not thought.

    • Word count: 1355
  7. In what contexts might ambiguity either contribute or impede knowledge? Does the balance between precision and ambiguity alter from one discipline to another?

    As language is a part of reality and thought, ambiguity and vagueness is possible to overcome if the common sense view is used, which is we think first and then we express our thoughts. This is also because language is dependent on thoughts. For example like Ludwig Wittgenstein said for a word to have a meaning in a language there have to be speakers who use the words according to the rules and the person must be able to recognize the rules that direct its use (eg: if you use the word note, you should be sure what type of note you're talking about.

    • Word count: 829
  8. To what extent is it possible to overcome the ambiguity and vagueness in language? In what contexts might ambiguity either contribute to or impede knowledge or contribute to it? Does the balance between precision and ambiguity alter from one discipline to

    We use language in ways other than it is intended to, which causes problems. There are five problematic uses of language which makes languages very unclear and confusing: Vagueness, as I have mentioned above, it means that the words are not being expresses clearly; ambiguity, as I have mentioned above, it means that the words are very vague and unclear; secondary meanings, which are words that have two different meanings. For example: the word 'right' means right side like left side but it also another word for correct, metaphor, is a figure of speech.

    • Word count: 1017
  9. Does language play roles of equal importance in different areas of knowledge?

    For example, one day I saw my friend shaking her leg when she was sitting down, this made me realise that she was nervous about something. She didn't tell me she was nervous, but her body language made me realise that. All those are forms of communication because using those types of languages messages can surely be successfully sent and received by individuals. Furthermore, areas of knowledge are the areas in which individuals can gain knowledge. Types of areas of knowledge are ethics, history, mathematics, natural science, human science and the arts.

    • Word count: 1550
  10. What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that make them convincing?

    In the natural sciences, the only theories that could be unconvincing are the theories that deal with subject matters that are small or matters that could clash with religion and ethics. In chemistry, the theories are less convincing because the scales of studies of these subject matters are so small. For example, we accept the Atomic Theory that states that matter is composed in discrete units called atoms, but no one knows for sure the existence of an atom or an electron.

    • Word count: 1513
  11. Are some ways of knowing more likely to lead to the truth?

    Discussing the "efficiency" of WOK in leading to the truth, I think none of them is better or worse. Each has different features, strengths and limitations. However, used together may provide us very closely, or even fully to the truth. Every belief is based on some knowledge. So the processes of acquainting the knowledge influence leading to the truth. Referring to the first WOK, perception, at first I would say, it is the basic way of recording the external world. By senses, people see, feel, hear everything around, seemingly as it is.

    • Word count: 448
  12. In what sense, if any, can a machine be said to know something? How can anyone believe that a machine can think?

    This is evidence that observable trends and truths in previous data can be summarized and applied to other scenarios by inductive reasoning. This is a form of synthetic truth and a posteriori knowledge. In this sense, machines do have knowledge. They are able to summarize trends and indicate truths. An implication of this claim is that predictions made by machines hold true. This is often not the case, giving rise to the counterclaim that no truth exists in mathematical knowledge.

    • Word count: 764
  13. What are the advantages of discriminating between valid and invalid arguments, good and bad reasons, more or less persuasive reasoning, both for the individual knower and for society?

    Without logos or some degree of rationality, the argument is failed and ineffective. Any given trial is based on factual evidence presented to the jury for them to assess and draw a verdict based on reason. The claim that reason is the most essential to justice rests on the assumption that the most important part of the judicial process is determining guilt or innocence. Some may view the sentencing of a criminal to be the most important part, and it can be argued that emotion plays a greater role in achieving justice in that respect.

    • Word count: 547
  14. In what emotional state do you think we see the world with the greatest clarity and objectivity?

    For example when you are in love you see thing more "happier" because you feel loved and good it yourself and probably you can notice easily the people that are down and see the situation that you are put in a different way.

    • Word count: 391
  15. Faith as a Basis for Knowledge

    By comparing faith to reason, we are able to determine that by using faith as a basis for knowledge, we, as a society, are able to decide or determine what we believe in the world without having a truly sufficient amount of evidence to provide what the scientific community considers to be definite proof. Every single area of knowledge and way of knowing eventually leads itself back to faith. From mathematics, to arts, to the sciences, and everything in between, faith provides the true basis for belief and understanding of all knowledge.

    • Word count: 1278
  16. There are no absolute distinctions between what is true and false. Discuss.

    While this frame of thought is quite popular, the contrast with the opinion set down by the topic is stark. The topic, by itself is similar to archaic Buddhist principles that are tied to the idea that there are indeed no absolute distinctions between the true and the false. The topic is also lacking in the sense that it raises a lot of problems because of the wholesale approach in the description of these 'truths' as suggested by it. It proposes a valid proposition but fails to elaborate on it extensively.

    • Word count: 1763
  17. Chapter 5 Discussion

    Another area of the chapter that I found interesting was the quote by Confucius, "If one learns from others but does not think one will be bewildered. If, on the other hand, one thinks but does not learn from others, one will be in peril." This quote really makes a lot of sense to me because of how it defines that the most important part of knowledge is it being part of a balance.

    • Word count: 589
  18. In this essay I will talk about xenophobia, r****m and human persecution, which is cruel and unfair treatment of a person or group because of their religious or political beliefs or their race.

    I don't really know why, but I think it's due to the way I grew up. I'm a Chinese person, but I'm born in Italy and I lived all the time here, up to now. From one point of view, I should have considered my classmate as foreigners, because they all looked different from me, but on the other hand, I shouldn't consider my classmate as foreigners because in the end I'm actually also Italian because I have always lived in Italy.

    • Word count: 702
  19. Can Mathematics be reduced to logic?

    In fact, according to the previous example, if 1/0 = 0, does 0*0 = 1? Divisions by 0 are always been a problem for most of the students throughout the world, me included. Since the primary school, I always asked my-self and my teacher why we can't divide by zero, but I never had an answer. As I said before, if 1/0 = 0, 0*0 should be equal to 1 and this is not possible. This means that there is no a real answer for this operation and the answer is undefined. This proves that logic is not enough to understand fully mathematics problems; therefore we have to use also reason.

    • Word count: 679
  20. Art is a lie that brings us nearer to the truth. (Pablo Picasso) Discuss.

    In my opinion, referring to this quotation, truth is equal to reality, which is everything that surrounds us, such as landscapes and animals, while art represents our thoughts. This means that art helps us to understand better the world, the real things. In addition, I think that Picasso meant that art is a lie, mainly because it's not a real concrete thing. By saying this, I mean that a painting, for example, is an image of something and not the thing itself.

    • Word count: 881
  21. Doubt is the key to knowledge (Persian Proverb). To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?

    improving their doubts, not like in old centuries where the society was controlled by the rulers, like what happened in Europe the Pope of the Vatican in Rome did not let the parish learn and explore things to gain more knowledge which finally lead to a lack and suppression of thoughts and education in the society. Doubt can be used to improve the basics of knowledge, to modify and add to the knowledge infrastructure in different areas of knowledge, because doubt increases the rates of our curiosity to know if it is true or false or if it can help

    • Word count: 1640
  22. TOK IB IA presentation. On what basis do spiritual beliefs rest? I have read about famous examples of scientific proofs of re-incarnation, the most famous being that by Dr. Ian Stevenson.

    He even matches birthmarks and birth defects to wounds and scars on the deceased, verified by medical records. His strict methods systematically rule out all possible "normal" explanations for the child's memories. Boy 1: I am still skeptical about that. I think it is just man's desire for immortality that gets expressed, rather strongly, as this spiritual belief of 'Re-incarnation'. Boy 2: Before, you go too far in assuming that as a possibility, please look at a video featuring Dr.

    • Word count: 1686
  23. ToK Essay. Knowledge will never be fully recognized nor be understood without emotion however sometimes that emotion may get in the way.

    Sometimes emotion can be a good thing and sometimes emotion can be a bad thing. Arnold Bennett once said, "There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours." Knowledge will never be fully recognized nor be understood without emotion however sometimes that emotion may get in the way. Knowledge gives us inside information about why we feel the things we feel. You may feel terror at one point in your life and you might wonder why. Is it because of a past experience that caused you to be scared of it, or is it because of no reason what-so-ever?

    • Word count: 836
  24. How achievable is certainty for knowledge?

    For each area of knowledge, the experts are the judges of how achievable certainty is for it and they use different means to justify that assertion. Experts in the areas of ethics and the arts rely on judgment in order to decide things such as whether a piece of art is a masterpiece or whether or not lying is wrong. These areas of knowledge can be compared to others such as mathematics and natural sciences, since in these areas experts can justify their certainty through the use of pure deduction, induction and the scientific method; this is why mathematics and natural sciences are regarded with a much higher degree of certainty than the arts and ethics.

    • Word count: 636
  25. Problems With Interpreting Meaning. What do the problems with interpreting meaning discussed by the keys and the textbook tell us about the nature of language, its capabilities and its limits? Be sure to consider the four theories of meaning (van de Lage

    However, language is susceptible to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. The four theories of meaning and the five categories of problematic meaning are of aid in the intricate task of defining and acknowledging the concept of language. The four theories of meaning are the definition theory, denotation theory, image theory and meaning as know-how theory; they each find meaning in dictionaries, the world and the mind while the last one further develops the three preceding theories, finding meaning in the social practices embodied in language ( 1). In the area of knowledge of mathematics, the definition theory is pertinent and effective because this theory is only valid with a subset

    • Word count: 1539

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