TOK Essay: Should a knower's personal point of view be considered an asset in the pursuit of knowledge, or an obstacle to be overcome?

Essay by anto257High School, 11th gradeA+, September 2006

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When one is in the process of pursuing knowledge, one cannot help but be influenced by his or her personal point of view. Knowledge is often characterized as a "true justified belief" that is attained through logic, perception, senses, memory, and even intuition. However when one is emotionally involved in the subject, this will undoubtedly affect the person's knowledge. If knowledge is true and justified, it has to be universal and not narrowed down to solely one person. The problem with this previous statement is that it is humanely impossible: how can something be universal for everyone if one uses perception to acquire it? One has to understand that there is no such thing as a "true justified belief" and that knowledge is something that is constantly changing: information that is being disclaimed or built upon present or past realizations. The statement whether a personal point of view should be considered an asset in the pursuit of knowledge or an obstacle to be overcome is relative, since knowledge is not absolute.

There are many forms of knowledge, such as math, science, history, art, etc. In order to attain information on these specific areas, one could use personal point of view, and in others impartial ideas. One also has to question what a personal point of view is: is it only based on life experience or authority as well? A point of view is generated by one's senses and perception therefore can be attained by someone else: authority. Neutral point of view is another factor in order to pursue knowledge: one has to present and attain information with no previous or present biases. The question presented has no black or white answer since there are different areas of knowledge that can be either attained through personal point of...