There are no distinctions between what is true and false, Discuss with relation to history

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TOK ESSAY: ‘There are no distinctions between what is true and false.’ Discuss with relation to history

This statement is false in my opinion as distinctions can be seen between what is true and false. It may be hard to see the differences in relation to history because everything is from the past including any evidence. History can be supported through evidence from primary (interviews, letters, and diaries) and secondary sources (photographs, artefacts and other records from the past).  Firstly, the definition of true must be clarified: It is a fundamental belief in the subject of Theory of Knowledge (ToK) which is built upon sensory perception, language, emotion and reason – known as the four ways of knowing (WoK). To argue this statement, examples such as the holocaust and the history of Australia will be explored.  

As mentioned before, Theory of Knowledge is based on four ways of knowing which are reason, emotion, language and sensory perception. In history all of these are used to find ‘truths’. For example, language and sensory perception are used when studying artefacts, photographs (observation) or historical records such as diary entries. However, language holds limitations as it changes over time and some of the language used in the past cannot be understood by present historians therefore historians have limited sources to support a hypothesis.  As history involves the actions of human beings, historians need emotion to question people’s behaviour in the past. Empathy is not one of the WOKs but it is also very important as historians need to understand people’s motivations and goal for actions they have taken. Finally, reason is used to draw ideas and suggestions together to draw a conclusion – to present a truth.

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The Holocaust (World War 2) when almost six million Jews were killed is known to be one of the most tragic events in history. There are many photographs and historical records providing evidence for this event. So this event can be classified as a historical truth. However, there are people known as ‘Post modernists’ who believe that the holocaust never happened. Unlike Australian history where there is more than one past, it can be said that post modernists are wrong/false in this situation due to the vast amount of evidence which supports the event actually taking place. There are also ...

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