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TOK History Essay

In what ways could it be said that interpretations in History are more effected by the different Ways of Knowing (language, reason, emotion, perception) than knowledge in Mathematics is?

History is the study of the past. Mathematics is the study of concepts such as quantity, structure, space and change. Therefore, since the two areas of knowledge differ, the acquisition of knowledge in these areas will also differ. For example, the methods used to gather historical information/data cannot be used in mathematics: one will not try and find historical objects such as archaeologists do in order to acquire knowledge in mathematics because the result has no link to the knowledge area of mathematics. It is therefore clear that acquiring knowledge in the knowledge area of history will be different from acquiring knowledge in mathematics. The Ways of Knowing (language, reason, emotion, perception) are instrumental aspects in trying to acquire information in any Area of Knowledge. The way that these Ways of Knowing affect the acquisition of knowledge in the different Areas of Knowledge varies because the methods for acquiring data in the knowledge areas vary. This difference is particularly noticeable in the acquisition of knowledge in history and mathematics. This essay will investigate how the Ways of Knowing affect the acquisition of knowledge in both history and mathematics and in what ways history is more affected than mathematics. This difference will lie in the variation between what history is concerned with and what math involves. Studying the past always involves reference to primary and secondary sources used to prove the existence of certain events and information. Sometimes, historical information can be proven wrong as it is inaccurate based on the events that actually occurred. But mathematics involves a more systematic approach because there is only one right answer and it is very easy to prove whether one is right or wrong. Knowledge in mathematics can be justified by the use of proofs, which are constructed by mathematicians through logical reasoning. Although proofs can be obtained in history, some are subjective as they could be based on primary sources such as an interview with a person who was involved in a certain event in the past, and others are difficult to obtain because they occurred in the past.

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History has a link with the Ways of Knowing which cannot be ignored because it is very evident. Firstly, exploring emotion, the people in the past had certain feelings because they expressed joy, sorrow, anger as well as fear. These emotions can have multiple meanings because they were manipulated and interpreted by historians. The way that historians have manipulated these emotions has affected the importance of certain events in human history. For example, a famous historian Huizinga said that “people in the Middle Ages are wild, cruel, prone to violent outbreaks and abandoned to the joy of the moment” (The ...

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