Writer's Competition TOK Essay

Writer's Competition TOK Essay - 1 It has been said that...

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1 It has been said that “we see and understand things not as they are, but as we are.” A continuing question of philosophy is whether or not an external world exists outside of our human senses. It is difficult to know for sure if this dimension is present and highly improbable that we will ever discover an absolute answer to this question. Humans are limited by physical confines, making it impossible to see the world from an omniscient view. Thus, it is unfeasible to prove or disprove the existence of an outside reality. However, even if such a place exists, we as individuals do not experience it the same way that others do. The claim that “we see and understand things not as they are, but as we are” attempts to explain this idea: our view of the world depends solely on us. The first part of this statement, “we see and understand things” refers to the world that is presented to us. The next portion, “not as they are,” acknowledges that there is an external world, but disregards its impact on our human experience. The final component of the claim goes on to assert that we understand things “as we are,” indicating that our encounters with the world depend on our senses, which interprets it to form our own individual view of reality. The ways of knowledge that can be applied to this claim are perception and language. It is crucial to examine perception as a way of knowledge when examining this claim because the five senses play a critical role in the human experience. There are two elements involved in the human understanding of the world: sensation, which is anything provided by the outside environment, and interpretation, which is how our minds construe the information given to us. The philosophy that best applies to the statement that “we understand things as they are” is the phenomenalism theory, which basically states that “beyond our experience of reality, there is simply nothing to be said (Lagemaat 100).” This signifies that we do not view the world objectively, but subjectively. If there is an outside reality, it seems that the human senses actively
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2 structure it instead of solely reflecting it (Lagemaat 87). For instance, optical illusions trick the
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Writer's Competition TOK Essay - 1 It has been said that...

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