FINAL TOK.docx - We know with confidence only when we know little with knowledge doubt increases(adapted from JW von Goethe Discuss this statement with

FINAL TOK.docx - We know with confidence only when we know...

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“We know with confidence only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases” (adapted from JW von Goethe). Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge. TOK ESSAY 2018 Word count: 1586
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Our knowledge constitutes of information, facts and skills that we gain from education or experience. JW von Goethe sparked a controversial debate around the understanding of knowledge when he stated “we know with confidence only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases”. To accept this line of thinking would mean to go against our social constructions today, including education systems or hierarchy in jobs given according to knowledge possessed by an individual. However, to disregard it would also mean to discredit the value and faith we put in higher powers or myths. Therefore, through the areas of knowledge of Religious Knowledge Systems (RKS) and Human Sciences we will see that with little knowledge we are confident in our personal knowledge, but are doubtful in the shared knowledge. The dimension of personal and shared knowledge are important to consider. Firsthand observation or experiences are our personal knowledge and information assembled by a group of people is reflected as shared knowledge. Increasing our knowledge on a personal level allows us to question our shared knowledge. For example, if I study psychology I am more confident in my personal knowledge of this field, which allows me to criticize and doubt shared knowledge like theories and case studies. Confidence is to feel self – assured from one’s qualities or abilities. It is thus important to recognize that in reference to knowledge, confidence denotes being sure and assertive in the quantity and quality of information that one possesses. Doubt on the contrary is acknowledged as the feeling of uncertainty or disbelief towards something, unlike confidence doubt is given a negative connotation. However, we rarely consider that at times confidence could equate to ignorance or blind disregard and that doubt is formed by careful analysis and reasoning in order to reach the best decision. Are confidence and doubt mutually exclusive or can there be doubt where there is confidence? How does the synonymy of ignorance and confidence reflect on the knowledge we hold? The notion of ‘knowing with confidence is to know little’ is supported in Religious Knowledge systems. When following a religion, we are required to subordinate valid reasoning by faith.
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  • Spring '18
  • Benson Wafula

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