TOK Essay

Theory of Knowledge Essay Example

Doubt and confidence contradicts each other. Doubt can be seen as fear of the unknown. Confidence is having faith in your own knowledge or having a feeling of certainty. Confidence comes first when we are certain in the credibility of the knowledge obtained, however, confidence is provoked by doubt when we become biased with the knowledge we already know. Both doubt and confidence are vital in the production of knowledge. Doubt is perceived to be negative because it can be viewed as a sign of questioning your own ability to understand concepts. knowledge are the skills and information we obtain from our experience with the world. The prescribed title chosen is, “We know with confidence only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases.” This statement implies that when the knowledge we have is limited, we are confident with our conclusion because we tend to overlook red flags within concepts and theories when little is known, but, when more knowledge is obtained, doubt arises and makes us suspicious of our own knowledge showing that confidence does not ensure that the knowledge is applied correctly. To address this prescribed title, it is important to discuss the importance of doubt’s role in the production of knowledge by implementing Areas of Knowledge such as Religious Knowledge Systems and Natural Science along with using Ways of Knowing such as faith and emotion.

As humans, in the early stages of our lives we are taught preconceived notions and beliefs by the people around us and from the observations we see. Overtime we become confident in what we know and can develop a one track mind, however, this is challenged once we expand our environments. We begin to absorb new knowledge from our daily encounters in our schools, workplaces, churches (in our faith) and from the world around us. From this recurring way of knowing we begin to see an intricate web of new pathways and alternatives. Doubt begins to drive our curious nature. This raises the question: Does increased doubt emulate curiosity? Doubt allows us to question the world around us in which allows our curiosity to flow. This is so because curiosity is wanting to find the answer to something, but in order to do so, something has to be questioned or doubted first. This is evident from when I lived in Jamaica in a christian household. I attended church, went to bible studies, and performed in praise and worships and was thought to never question God. Even though I was active within my religion, I did not read the bible, I just listened to the short stories and scriptures that my pastor and family told me without questioning their credibility. Once I moved to America, I began to live with my grandmother, who is very religious and it was required of me to read the bible everyday. Daily I read and I learnt more about my religion. I began to question why did God gave up his only son? If God has the ability to create life why did he not make everyone good? Why do the Ten Commandments dictate the way I live? The more I learned about God and about my religion the more I questioned the existing knowledge I had about my religion. I began to question the “how” and the “why” and the more curious I became. Doubt emulates curiosity because my own doubt questioned my inability to understand concepts within my faith and I was curious to find answers.

To differentiate, doubt does not emulate curiosity, it is of human nature to want to understand the relationship between cause and effect in order to make few less errors. According to PRI (Public Radio International) studies using MRI scans have shown that humans are born with curiosity and that they exhibit two kinds of curiosity from a young age. One kind is perceptual curiosity, this is what we feel when we observe something and it does not align with what we thought we knew. The second is epistemic curiosity, this is our love of acquiring knowledge and is experienced when we anticipate a reward in form of the knowledge we gain. Curiosity is a necessity when acquiring knowledge and we have been doing so since our birth, before we knew what doubt is or what it felt like. Our Curiosity is inherited from our childhood and our doubt was developed once we started to understand our emotions.This allowed us to stop believing in our information because we had distrust within our emotions in which increased doubt. Curiosity is apart of human development, It serves an evolutionary purpose, it is how information is received from infancy through adulthood. For example as an infant we cannot fend for ourselves, an adult is in charge of our survival. Therefore, we are given time to focus on learning and discovering information to form our own ideas.

“Ignorance does not result from what we do not know! Ignorance results from what we think we do know- but don’t! Most ignorant people are, in fact, quite certain.” – Richard Rohr. Being ignorant is when one is unaware or lacking information and can stem from being overly confident with the information one has. This leads to overseeing the red flags within our information due to our certainty. This begs the question: “Does lack of doubt encourages ignorance?” Lack of doubt does encourage ignorance because it promotes intellectual complacency when faced with opposing point of views. Ignorance is encouraged when we defend the little knowledge we obtained and are cornered with a contradiction of our validation in which we try to defend our certainty and ego. This is evident within the science community Before the scientific community advanced technologically, they felt confident in the little they knew, but as technology advanced, the more evidence became provable and knowledge expanded. However, parts of the community defended their old evidence. For example, before modern astronomy was introduced many people believed that the Earth lied in the center of the universe and everything revolved around us because of the Geocentric model. However, this was challenged when Nicolaus Copernicus formulated the Heliocentric model that placed the sun at the center of the universe. His model was said to lack provable evidence and that it went against the holy scriptures. However this was later debunked by astronomer Galileo Galilei when he improved the telescope’s magnification and saw moons orbiting around Jupiter, confirming Copernicus theory that celestial bodies rotate each other. Galileo findings did not convince anyone, the church and the science community mocked his intelligence and was put on house arrest because the people and the science community believed that the geocentric model was correct due to the sun circling earth changing night to day. The people’s lack of doubt encouraged ignorance because they were stuck in their old ways of understanding and would not attempt to expand their knowledge and open their minds.

To contrast, ignorance is encouraged with exaggerated confidence because it can lead to failure. It is not encouraged by lack of doubt because ignorance is hidden within our lack of doubt, therefore ignorance is unaware while doubt is aware but fails to accept it because doubting something means you are open to new ideas.

Doubt makes us open minded, it asks us question that others might not, in which furthers our knowledge. This raises the question: “To what extent does doubt influence the production of knowledge?” Doubt influences the production of knowledge to a greater extent by presenting questions which are subsequently answered through inquiry. This is true in natural science when empirical experiments are conducted to accept or reject a hypothesis. The purpose is to develop better questions because doubt has always been present in science. Constant repeated eliminations of older theories have occurred and replaced because doubt questioned their validity. When Nicolaus Copernicus doubted the Geocentric model, he conducted his own experiments to develop the Heliocentric model that led to the development of modern astronomy. This is a strategy of skepticism presented by doubt, it senses the validity and assumes inquiry within a data or theory. This increases doubt in which increases knowledge because if one does not doubt what is already known what motivation will be present to learn more. Doubt also influences knowledge by forcing people to change their personal knowledge to shared knowledge. It questions your known knowledge and motivates one to research, leading to new knowledge that is shared. Researching for my extended essay, I did not know a lot about Psychology. The question asked:“To what extent does the stigma of homosexuals in American society lead to mental health disorders among the LGBTQ community?” I knew chemicals within the brain influenced one’s sexual orientation but I did not know what their role in the brain was. I began to doubt the knowledge I had, it motivated me to do more research. The new knowledge I gained became personal knowledge but was shared once my paper was read or when I talked about it.

To differentiate, doubt influences the production of knowledge to a lesser extent because doubt places a limit on what an individual believes, while confidence does not. Confidence does not hinder someone’s capability of understanding, it drives their motivation to research because it allows one to apply application faster.

Doubt and confidence are important when gaining knowledge but accepting doubt is the key to knowledge because it shows that one is open to new ideas. Although it is the voice of an uncertain conscious, it is not to be viewed as negative but as a way of knowing because doubt allows all knowledge to be researched and apparent.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?