That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow. Consider knowledge issues raised by this statement in two areas of knowledge.

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“That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow.” Consider knowledge issues raised by this statement in two areas of knowledge.

by Ashish Raj

Theory of Knowledge

ABA – An IB world School

May 2014

Advisor: Ms Leona West

Word Count: 1498

To understand what beliefs that have been accepted to be true can remain as knowledge and what that has been accepted as knowledge cant, this essay will explore the certainty of knowledge in two areas of knowledge; science and history. The knowledge issues that arises in science is to what extent can we be certain of the knowledge that is obtained from the scientific method whereas the other knowledge issue in history is  to what extent can we prioritize one primary witness over another.

The primal essence of the scientific method that very much defines science is Inductivism. Inductivism is the use of inductive reasoning, a form of reasoning in which the premise of the reasoning moves from the specific to more general. Students who take IB Physics are familiar with this kind of reasoning when they have to design a lab. In one of my labs I designed an experiment in which I varied the height from which the ball is dropped to notice the change in the time it takes to reach the ground. Based on the results obtained for this experiment I concluded that for any ball dropped in part of the world with varying heights the same trend will be observed.

The scientific method primarily consists of observation, hypotheses, experiment, law and theory. Many great theories have come up in science because of the scientific method. Science has had very few changes in knowledge since in order to prove theory the belief has to go through the extensive process. An example of this comes from the recent confirmation of the Higgs boson particle in 2012 which is now considered one of the greatest scientific breakthrough .The development for this theory started in 1960 with an observation that there must be a particle that accounts for the mass present in an atom. Over the next 40 years experiments were conducted in order to confirm the existence. However advancements could only be made after the invention of large hadron collider. The discovery of the Higgs boson particle was declared in July 2012 and by March 2013 after extensive experiments conducted scientists are 99.999% affirmative on their discovery1.

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However Inductivism is plagued by some issues that affect observation.  Selective observation is a problem since we are not aware of what facts are involved in the theory and what are not, it becomes easy to overlook at a fact that could be vital to the theory. Example when performing a thermodynamic experiment in chemistry values are taken for a temperature change in a reaction. One factor that can affect the temperature is the number of people present in the room.

If one hand selective observation might limit us of the facts that would lead to discovery of new knowledge ...

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