Tok Essay - Knower's Perspective

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Should a knower’s point of view be considered an asset in the pursuit of knowledge, or an obstacle to be overcome? -------------------------------------------------
Should a knower’s point of view be considered an asset in the pursuit of knowledge, or an obstacle to be overcome?

Farah Kassam
Student ID: 719986
January 26th, 2010
Ms. Swanson

Throughout the quest for knowledge, one cannot help but be influenced by his or her personal point of view. As human beings, we all approach this quest from different aspects, while interpreting knowledge in ways unique to our own reasoning, emotion, perception, and language. By human nature we reflect upon our personal experiences when presented with knowledge foreign to our own awareness, and when exposed to unfamiliar surroundings. While one could argue that this preconceived thought is an obstacle to be overcome, personal experiences and past knowledge are essential to consider when embarking upon new beliefs and knowledge claims. In order to limit any ambiguity in the proposed topic, the word “knowledge” must first be defined. By textbook definition knowledge is “justified true belief”, but what does this definition really mean? Knowledge is understood through personal experience and reflection, and is thus composed of three main elements: truth, belief, and justification. We consider truth to be beyond reasonable doubt; if we know something to be true, we are certain of its validity. Since we are fallible beings, we can never be completely certain that something is true, although in comparison to belief, truth is much more definitive. However, in order to make a knowledge claim, one must not only assert truth, but must also believe in the claim. This belief must be supported by adequate justification, in order to reduce the level of uncertainty associated with the claim. For these reasons, truth, belief, and justification are key elements of...
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