Tok Essay 2012

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Theory of Knowledge

Question number: 5
What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that makes them convincing?

Name: Sarang Sethi Candidate number: 003482-010
School: The Calorx School
Examination session: May, 2012
Word count: 1,538 Teacher Name: Mrs. Jaya Kad
The word convincing refers to ‘causing one to believe the truth of something’. This immediately brings us to the definition of knowledge. If Knowledge is ‘justified’ ‘true’ belief, then the aspects of something being ‘true’ and ‘justified’ pertain to making the said segment of knowledge ‘convincing’. From this point of view the need for an area or segment of knowledge to be ‘convincing’ becomes seminal to definition of knowledge. In the context of the question one might want to assess the factors that validate a theory or theoretical concepts? And also answer the question: What are the ways through which one can justify the theories in both human sciences and natural sciences to be convincing? A theory cannot simply be a speculation or an idea. The world in which we live in is full of theories. These theories can also be known as a set of rules, laws, hypothesis or a phrase which is some where applicable in the real world. It is something which needs rigorous reasoning, prior knowledge and strong assumptions. It needs evidence through interpretations and explanations for them to make sense to the human. I think humans usually get convinced on the basis of their interests and they play an important role in making theories convincing. Many scientists who have accepted some of the theories have tested them and have produced a result for humans to believe in them. Famous theories usually provide wide variety of information for them to be accepted and make them convincing. Many theories are continually modified and then developed into new or revised theories as change is an inevitable part of our universe. An appropriate well-tested hypothesis, facts and natural laws are all part of the construction of a strong theory. Thus, a theory is very different from a belief, guess, speculation, or opinion. The two areas of knowledge being considered through the essay are Natural Sciences and Human Sciences. Natural sciences are the sciences which deal with the natural world like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy etc. And Human sciences on the other hand include History, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics etc. The question here arises that how does scientific method help us in the development of these theories? It is a way of making a theory valid and thus convincing. It is a method which helps us in answering questions, solving problems, and even discovering and finding out new things. The scientific method is usually based on observations and experience. Through the scientific method, we can have a more objective and standardized approach in conducting experiments and thus improving our results. We have put forward our confidence in the scientific method for developing theories and conclusions. The main goal of the scientific method is to verify whether the hypothesis or law is true to some extent or not. If different situation becomes consistent over a long period of time, then the theorists can come up with a theory based on that situation. The theories of both the areas of knowledge have kept on developing with the development of new knowledge and new set of theories in this changing world through the scientific method. Hypothesis that have been consistent over time have been accepted and they are one of the factors which make the theories convincing. Human science theories have sometimes been inconsistent as the study of human beings is hindered by...
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