“That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow.” Consider knowledge issues raised by this statement in two areas of knowledge.
Theory of Knowledge essay
Candidate number: 000416-0069
Examination session: May 2012
Word count: 1 594
“That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow.” This quote appears to imply that knowledge, which often results in facts and claims, might be discarded or provisional as time passes. The question asks to what extent is knowledge a subject to change over time. Therefore, often knowledge might become re-interpreted when new evidence, discoveries or technology are identified. In this essay, knowledge could be seen as a simplified map of a representation of reality. Within the essay two areas of knowledge will be investigated- human science and the arts. They seem to have opposing perspective on the knowledge issues raised by the question. Within the human science, which focuses on sense perception, logic and reason, the claim that knowledge is provision is true, as within this area of knowledge, a fact will go thought a process of experimenting and testing before it is recognized as knowledge and so it is easier to falsify an idea. However, within the arts, which is based on emotion and imagination, knowledge is easier accepted and therefore it is more difficult to falsify.
Human sciences allow ideas to be acquired as knowledge thought a vast variety of processes, for example through experiments and discoveries. However, with time, these ideas might change, because knowledge is our understanding at a given time in history. Thus, some of the knowledge is provisional as new discoveries and theorems are found. For example, in the Ancient times, the Greeks thought that Poseidon, the god of the sea, was the creator of earthquakes as well – “After all, what else could be strong enough to shake the ground?” (Isaac Asimov. "1. GODS AND AIR."). About 3000 years ago, this claim was considered to be true. However, nowadays, the current discoveries showed that earthquakes take place when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another (Lisa Wald. "The Science of Earthquakes). The initial claim was proven wrong because scientists carried out examinations, experiments and analysis. Therefore, even if the ancient Greeks used logic to reach this knowledge claim, their belief was not true forever, as some knowledge is a subject to social change. In the ancient Greece, most gods were associated to a specific aspect of life. Thus, the Greeks believed that they ‘controlled’ it. ("Mythology - Ancient Greek Gods and Myths"). However, nowadays the beliefs have changed, and the advance in technology helped the society discover the real causes of issues like earthquakes. Conclusively, by using the coherence truth tests (logical guessing) and experimentations, knowledge within the human sciences is gained. However, some of this knowledge is provisional, but the initial knowledge claim was needed in order to develop and discover today’s knowledge claim.
On the other hand, knowledge within this area of knowledge will remain true as time evolves. For instance, the supply and demand curve learned in Business and Management class. This knowledge claim follows a logical idea- that as the level of demand will increase the supply will do the same. This fact can be proven through carrying our experiments. This fundamental concept of economics is difficult to falsify or disprove and therefore it will never be discarded entirely. Another method that helps us gain knowledge within human sciences is thought experimentations and observations. For example, in my Environmental Systems and Societies class, I investigated the effect of various environmental factors on the population growth, we started with a hypothesis and then we carried out an experiment where we saw the population growth. Furthermore, this helped us...
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