To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture. Does this mean that it is impossible to have objective knowledge?

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Topic Question: To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture. Does this mean that it is impossible to have objective knowledge?

        Exploration and discovery of objective knowledge is the core of much of human intellectual activity. Here, knowledge can be defined as an information that knower holds. The objective knowledge is highly valued by an individual and a community as ‘truth’ that all humankind can share and build their intellectual living upon. I as a knower personally know that, for example, that minimum score of 24 is required to pass IB Diploma and that Thailand in fact is not as dangerous as many people think she is. The understanding pursued by the use of the four ways of knowing- emotion, reason, language and sense perception- on a surface appears objective to many people. The statement “To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture” suggests that the understanding relies on the knower’s experience and culture. Hence, exploration of objective knowledge is a pursuit closely related to experience and culture of knower.

        First of all, the term ‘culture’, defined as style of living built up by group of individuals with similar values, is broad for there are many types of culture. The international community composed of all nations of the world could be one culture, for international ways of living is built up by a group of human beings. Culture could be characterized by style of living build up by group who base their living on teachings of Buddha; such examples of ‘culture’ can be found in Thailand, where 94.6% of the population are Buddhist. Meanwhile, the term ‘culture’ could also refer to a family, the smallest unit of society, for there are specific ways of living built by contribution of the individuals in a family- in my case, a mother, a father, my little brother and I.

Regardless to the size of culture, culture affects what knower experiences. Being brought up in Thailand and China, I experienced and learned to use English as ways of communicating my thoughts to people and realize how much value that religion might have on individuals. I would not have understood this if I hadn’t gone to international school in Thailand and China. Hence whatever culture one ties one’s beliefs to, it always biases the experience that one will have, hence affecting the four ways of knowing.

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        Even if knower decides to deny cultural experiences thinking that culture biases one’s views, this is also in a way “relying” on culture. Say a person from a highly Catholic cultural background sees abortion. The person might use the cultural background in a way that it opposes the teachings of Catholic Church, and understand that abortion could be justified in some cases. Knower is using culture as an axis to get away from. Because this is also using culture as a guide to decide knower’s understanding on a matter, one is “relying” on culture.

        As the word “understanding” implies, ...

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