TOK_Paper[1] - Fatimah Jaffer, Period 3 10. A model is a...

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Fatimah Jaffer, Period 3 10. A model is a simplified representation of some aspect of the world. In what ways may models help or hinder the search for knowledge? Knowledge Issues: Is it possible to create a theory of everything? To what extent is a model more a matter of interpretation than observation? Can a theory ever really be tested without auxiliary assumptions? Is it possible that the notion of parsimony can lead to erroneous models? In attempting to understand our world, humans have the tendency to diagrammatically organize complex real world processes into general comprehensive models. The result of this endeavor can directly be identified as a theory—an ostensibly comprehensive explanation of an empirical phenomenon. Specifically in the fields of mathematics and natural sciences, mankind has progressively formulated palpable ideas based on their contemporary interpretation of the evidence surrounding them. However, real world phenomena exhibit properties of emergence, and thus, reductionistically organized theories can also hamper the progress of knowledge. In the process of balancing the emergent tendencies of the real world with explanatory power from past examples, models can be useful while at the same time hindering the progress of knowledge. Numerous astronomical models in the past have used reductionism, a process in which complex ideas are transformed into more flagrant ideas through simplified logic. One must question, however, whether this use of reductionism is actually beneficial in the search for knowledge. Ockham’s razor is a philosophical model accredited to William of Ockham, a user of the reductionist ideology and nominalism (the idea that abstract themes exist primarily as names). In the present day, Ockham’s razor functions as a heurism that advocates the use of simplicity in theory, taking into account economy and
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prudence. Ockham’s ideas can be applied to numerous areas of knowledge, primarily that of math and science. In geometry, theorems and postulates are codified using the simplest variables and methods available. They are cut down into exactly what is needed; nothing more. According to the Pythagorean Theorem, a 2 + b 2 = c 2 , if c is the hypotenuse. This model is not only used mathematically, but in several different areas of knowledge. It is a form of logic, similar to the transitive property. If a=b, and b=c, then a=c. By replacing these variables with real life phenomena, one can simplistically apply Ockham’s razor in a tangible way. However, is it possible that Ockham's razor can very well lead to erroneous theoretical models? In truth, oversimplification can be a fallacy, especially when observations are commonsensically, rather than scientifically, systematized. For
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TOK_Paper[1] - Fatimah Jaffer, Period 3 10. A model is a...

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