TOK Essay Draft

Topics: Knowledge, Knowledge management, Science Pages: 6 (1641 words) Published: March 1, 2015
Title: ''There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.''
To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Knowledge as an abstract concept1 is supposed to help us developing skills and the ability to think for ourselves throughout our whole life and obviously there are various ways to gain it, for example by observing the world around us or through active experiment, such as in the area of knowledge science. Producing and finding knowledge within the capability to learn is the very essence of what makes us human and in the following essay I shall attempt to explore the idea of knowledge production.

Firstly, I shall attempt to explore the importance of methodical calculation and logical thinking in producing knowledge in the field of the natural sciences. Following that, I intend to detect if passive observation as such even exists and then compare it to active experiment regarding its level of productivity and importance in creating knowledge. Thirdly, I aim to investigate whether other ways to produce knowledge besides the two afore-mentioned are existing, for example how do sudden clever ideas, so-called brainwaves fit in this pattern?

First and foremost, when one thinks of active experiment, it will perhaps come to one's mind that getting to learn something actively implies a process in which knowledge evolves from experiment, for example in the field of the natural sciences. Everything that involves active involvement and then is reflected can be counted into the process of active experiment,because it gives us a particular knowledge on something. Beyond doubt one might say that reasoning is a strong way to produce this experimental knowledge, since we are able to come up with several knowledge claims through empirical research, which can be more or less justified but reasoned. This can not only imply observation, but experiment and experience as well for instance in taking on projects of practical nature.

When Gregor Mendel discovered the modern science of classical genetics with his laws of Mendelian inheritance, he experimented on plant hybridization with peas in 1856 and used empirical research to induce several generalizations on the chromosome theory of inheritance. Starting with investigations on pea plants whom he cross-bred in the garden of a monastery and then classifying them according to different criteria lead him on to making 2 generalizations, first the Law of Segregation and second the Law of Independent Assortment that laid the foundations for modern science. On this account one might conclude that he played an active role in producing this universal knowledge by experimenting and reflecting on the results.

Subtending this, one could argue that this general concept of producing knowledge requires that someone must first be intended on learning, be able to play an active role in the experiment, be able to possess the required skills to reflect and be able to analyse on the results coming out in order to be able to apply the new knowledge in real life and not everyone possesses all these requirements. Nonetheless this concept exists since the dawn of civilization or even since Stone Age when the primordial men, whose brains were not as highly developed as our brains nowadays, learned how to make fire on their own through experimenting with material like fire stones until they came to the idea to grind them in order to make fire, which clearly signifies the role of active experiment in the production of knowledge.

Coming to passive observation as a way of knowledge production I assume that by this a process is meant in which things and proceedings we are surrounded by are observed with us having no active role and control over the knowledge, but with still being aware that there is knowledge existing that reveals itself through observing and that we interpret for ourself in our...

Bibliography: Arney,Kat. ' 'Are pink toys turning girls into passive princesses ' ' 9 May 2011. The Guardian.
Biello, David. ' 'Fact or Fiction?: Archimedes Coined the Term "Eureka!" in the Bath ' '
8 December 2006.Scientific American.
Dombrowski, Eileen. Theory of Knowledge Course Companion, Glasgow, Bell & Bain Ltd, 2013.
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