Truth Is That Which the Community Settles to

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Pamela Aragon
TOK Essay 1
February 17, 2012
“Truth is that which the community ultimately settles down.” (Charles Pierce)
The human race, ever since its existence began, has been seeking truth. Living in a limited spherical space has forced us to adapt to communities. This has involved accepting laws, social contracts, morals, values, and most importantly, communal knowledge. Our pursuit of knowledge has been modeled by different groups and their accepted beliefs. Every new piece of knowledge has been built upon existing knowledge and that new piece of knowledge is the basis for the one to come so we end up with a thread of information that is to long to track. This pressures us to constantly operate under groupthink, physiological phenomena in which the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic exploration of alternatives; we accept beliefs as truth without having sufficient evidence or any at all to prove that they are in fact true. Not only are we automatically accepting our community's ideas as truth but we are encouraged to. The key to success is to think globally is what the world says, but are we to accept every global belief? "Truth is that which the community ultimately settles down" is what Charles Pierce concludes. Through this quote, he implies that truth is the outcome of a process. Pierce flawlessly portrays human tendency, however it is questionable whether his definition of truth is functioning. In order to reliably distinguish between true and false claims a universally working definition for truth must be adopted (This does not necessarily mean that knowers will be able to know what is true and what is false but they will, however be able to have a rational conversation about knowledge). A true statement will be true independent of what anyone believes. It is easier to take truth as a single point in a coordinate plane, there is only of its kind and it will be there regardless if you see it or not. It would be impossible for one knower to test all the information he or she acquires in a completely effective way to eliminate misconceptions caused by the what the community accepts as truth but it is important to understand that a lot of what we think we know could be false. There are different sizes and types of communities but for the sake of the analysis we shall consider the great majority of the global community. Regardless of a person's cultural background there are several misconceptions that an average person is very likely to have accepted as truth at one point throughout their life. These could have been caused by ways of knowing that appear to be extremely reliable.

Seeing is believing. It would be impossible to count the times we have heard that in our lives. This form of perception is generally thought to be extremely reliable to perceive truth. Most of the world community sees very similar if not the same images, however there are many misconceptions that are caused by this way of knowing and we will only uncover them by asking the right question. To what extent does perception shape what we consider to be true? When thinking back to kindergarden, what is one thing that almost all the students drew the same? The sun. In nearly every drawing the sun would be in a top corner and a bright yellow color. The reason that sun has been drawn and considered yellow for as long as we can remember is that, we perceive it to be yellow. On a regular, clear day, if one looks up at the sky we will see a yellow circle that seems to harm our eyes when we look at it directly. Regardless of a person perceiving that the sun is yellow, it is not. The sun is actually white, but it looks yellow to almost all of us on earth. Can universal perception be flawed? The reason the sun looks yellow to earth's community is that the light emitted by the sun scatters in our atmosphere and creates an illusion of the color changing. Earth's atmosphere scatters light in blue and violet...
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