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Theory of Knowledge Paper

Write my Theory of Knowledge Paper

Theory of knowledge is heavily borrowed from the doubts people had about the traditional epistemology. People criticized the likes of David Hume for being skeptics. They prompted reactions from Kent; the founding father of the Theory of Knowledge. Kent aimed at putting a dichotomy between opinions and realities. A Theory of Knowledge paper is today administered to test if a student can prove how they knew what they claim to know. The TOK paper is usually 1600 words followed by a presentation.

How do we know what we know? Are we obliged to use the knowledge we have? We know what we do through language, emotion, intuition, sense perception,reason, memory, imagination and faith.

 

What is Knowledge?

Many philosophers would hardly agree on a common stand on what knowledge is. Different schools of thought subscribe to different explanations and definitions of knowledge. However, there is a slight agreement that sees knowledge as brief which agrees with facts. This makes philosophers to discuss what a belief is, what a fact is and the kind and nature of the agreement that would qualify a belief to be accepted as true.

 A belief

Traditional philosophers tend to agree that belief is a type of a state of mind. This meets opposition by many behavioral scientist who believe that there exist states of mind. If they do, they wonder if they it is possible to know them. Behaviorists believe that a belief can only represent an habitual trait of the body. In reality, a belief conforms to common sense. Presuming that you wanted to see a person who you always did. On arriving at their presumed place, you discover that they already moved. You would justify your visit by saying, “I thought they still lived here.” There are high chances that when you planned your visit, you did not think about the likelihood of their moving.

In the above scenario, we can infer that your ‘thought’ or ‘belief’, in common sense terms, of an impromptu visit was behavioral without any deliberate ‘mental’ activity to justify it. Words used to express a belief are still behavioral whether said loudly or within the inner self.

It is admissible that behavior remains the same whether someone has a belief or not. If a car over-speeds with people inside, they will start looking for safety belts on their seats. Those who find them will buckle them and those who do not would tell themselves, “there is a speeding problem.” There would hardly be explicit thought in reactions between the two groups. Nonetheless, the reactions are unanimous.

Thirsty animals, just like human beings, move to the nearest source of water; only if there is any. Humans might have a belief that drinking water will quest their thirst but animals justify the fact that finding a water source is behavioral. It is safe to infer that a “belief” is unimportant, if it is not a simple trait of behavior. Differentiating truths and errors happens, substantially, if a behavior exists without a belief. This has been clearly illustrated by the visit a to a friend’s old house, even when you could have called them to confirm. The truth and the error are known after.

We can, therefore, conclude that a belief is simply, an implicit behavior. You can cook tea and serve it to your visitors with the belief that there is enough sugar in the cupboard. There might be none as someone else might have used it.

 

Words

Borrowing from Bertrand Russell (1926) shade’s hypothesis, words influence human behavior. When an animal is thirsty to drink water, it looks for a watering point around. In some instances, it can look for a trough or a stagnant pool nearby. On the other hand, man can pronounce the word “water” and ask about the possible source. Behaviorists, therefore, believe that use of words and their effectiveness, produces conditional responses, as constituted by thinking.

Repetition of words, which is a behavior of the body, makes us to have a “belief”. Russell believes that in Arithmetics, mentioning digits like “two and two is four” loudly makes us “believe” it is the truth. Such verbal propositions can be challenged as not being concrete evidences of beliefs. On Sundays, people could call themselves miserable evildoers but they know that they hold good thoughts about themselves. However, it is true that verbal traits solidify beliefs and create a way of communicating them.

 

Belief and Behavior

It is arguable that the relevance of a belief, defines the traits of a behavior. It is possible mistaken behaviors. This brings the idea of truths and falsehoods. If a man continues holding an umbrella after  raining has ceased, it can be mistaken just like a false belief is held. When an animal looks in a mirror, it believes that there is another animal, which actually is not true; it would react as if the other animal exists.

In writing a theory of knowledge paper, which trait would you term as a belief? Men and animals conform to some behaviors when expecting to gain something. Chances of  success and failure are equal. When successful, they hold the beliefs they had as true. The opposite is also true. Each behavior is attached to a set of beliefs. The causes of variations of the beliefs held are determined and defined by the environment. A certain set of beliefs may decide behaviors believed as true if they favor the doer. Such beliefs would be held as false if they go against the expectations of the concerned party. That is what sets apart the definitions of truths and falsehoods.

 

Truth as applied in Logic

In logic, a word is casually presumed to have a meaning. Russell believes that the best explanation for this could be done by behaviorists. However, he posited that if a vocabulary of words is acquired and believed to have a specific meaning, it is then adopted formally, without concentrating on what the “meaning” could be. Vocabularies in language have definitions that make them certain. The certainty of the proposed vocabularies, being true, can be used to classify more things as true and pronounce others false. The inferences could be made with certainty with varying probabilities.

 

Vagueness and Uncertainty

In the Theory of Knowledge, the definition of knowledge, has to make consideration of the extents of being certain and, equally, the extent of being precise. All knowledge is either certain or not, and/or vague or not. Vague knowledge is presumed to have high probability of being true than precise knowledge. Science aims at increasing degrees of precision without hurting certainty. Where vagueness and uncertainty exist together, it is important to estimate their extents. The precision used determines the probability and probable errors.

 

Methods of Inference

There are two main methods of inferences; induction and deduction. Deduction is merely coming up with facts based on the what is known or generalized knowledge (theory). It goes from the most general knowledge to individual facts. We move from the known facts to come up with the unknowns. Available experiences are  majorly important in deduction. For instance, someone can say that Socrates is mortal because other men are. This is debatable. Deduction is the main tenet of mathematics.

Induction is the most important method of inference in writing any theory of knowledge paper. Induction starts from particular facts to come up with general observations. It starts with observation, formation of a pattern, forming a tentative hypothesis and finally, a theory or a generalized observation. It is comparison of things with certain characteristics against others with other characteristics. Sometimes, the specific know facts might be erratic. If a newspaper says that someone is dead, it might be wrong to induce that it is the truth.

Probability is another method of inference as found in J. M. Keynes’ Treatise on Probability (1921). Keynes’ work was so structured that none of his predecessors managed to water it down. Probability uses induction and analogy to make generalizations. Analogically, if in several instances, some characteristics are found in combination; and in no instance as separate, then in another instance we know of one characteristic being present; it could be correct to infer that there is probability of the  other characteristic’s presence. The degree of the probability is determined by the circumstances’ variations.

This theory is important in making projections of outcomes or real life experiences like elections and gambling. Many scientists depend heavily on the theory of knowledge to come up with theories and oppose or support others.

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