Theory of Knowledge
Uploaded by sally0825 on Aug 18, 2012
OUR KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEFS ARE LIKE A ROAD MAP WHICH HELPS US AVOID WRONG TURNS, BUT WHICH NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED WHENEVER IT IS CONTRADICTED BY OUR EXPERIENCE OF THE WORLD
Discuss this simile from the point of view of three of the fields you have examined during your TOK course, and of your experience of the TOK course itself.
Since the dawn of mankind, Man has striven first to understand, and later to control, the World that surrounds him. Patterns have been noticed, connections inferred, questions asked and answers proposed. "Why are the stars always in the same place when the Nile floods?" That’s the way our brains work, we are nothing less -and nothing more- than symbolic computers. We see things, we draw conclusions, we build up simplified versions of reality, models, that we can understand. And, more often that we’d like to admit, we get it wrong. Having some form or the other of "failsafe" is, therefore, vital if we are to stay on track...
The distinction between reality and model, between Truth and metaphor, however, is all too often blurred, or ignored entirely. Often we consider Models, mere derivations, and Reality itself, to be one and the same. ‘Tis not so: the map is not the territory! All our knowledge amounts to is a simplified, digested, approximate, accessible bastardisation of reality. It is our map, marking out the straight and narrow. Of the "path less trodden" it says nothing.
From the moment we first open our eyes to the moment we breath our last, we are immersed in a flood of sensory information; and we do more than passively wallow in this sea of input. We (subconsciously, more often than not) select, edit, and subtly modify the data that our senses feed us; we simply cannot deal with it all, not in detail, at least. Thus, perception is very much an active affair: we build our vision of the world. We spot relationships, pick out familiar features; associate the sweet scent of roses with the red flowers we see before us. We choose what features to draw on our map.
Homo Sapiens Sapiens, however, is a creature wrought by merciless Nature to fulfil a task, and that task alone: to survive in the Savannah. That the skills evolved for outwitting various predators and prey are any use for anything but hunting/gathering is one of the most fascinating...