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"In Order To Find Out How Things Really Are One Must Understand The Filters Through Which One Perceives The World." Evaluate And Discuss This Claim.

1496 words - 6 pages

Throughout history, people have tried to answer question "What is the true essence of things and events?" and in order to find an answer to the question different philosophers have proposed different theories. John Locke says that most of our knowledge about the outside world is based upon one's empirical observations. On the other hand, Berkley argues that experiential perceptions do not give the true information about the world, as all physical objects exist only in our minds. Similarly, Plato claims that the physical objects one perceives are just imperfect copies of universal forms and in order to find out how things really are one has to find the forms. However, it is impossible to find a universal way of learning how things really are as in different areas of knowledge there are different ways of gathering and evaluating information and often the filters that influence the results are difficult to recognize.Firstly it should be noted that many aspects of our life cannot are moral and aesthetic assertions and therefore cannot be evaluated to true or false. In this case, 'how things really are' should be considered to mean objective opinion about the events.The main filters influencing one's knowledge about the world are empirical observations, emotions, common knowledge imposed by communities and authorities, introspection and empathy, previous experiences, and language. Almost all areas of knowledge are influenced by one or more filters; and as all filters sum up they can alter the results from the true essence of reasons behind events.One of the biggest questions arising when using observations to get evidence about the world is whether one can always trust one's senses. For example, when looking at a white piece of paper through red glass one would see the paper to be red. Being aware of the fact that colored glass was used, the person would say that the paper was white, whilst not knowing about the optical trick and trusting their senses, one would believe the paper to be red. The same trick was used in the famous book 'Wizard of Oz'. To convince people that they were living in the capital of Oz was built out of emeralds, people were forced to wear green glasses. Having lived all their life seeing everything to be green, people were convinced that the capital was built of emeralds. Thus, it can be said that when people are unaware of factors influencing their assessment, the conclusions they draw from observations can be false.Filters influencing empirical observations are closely related with emotions. If one is in a bad mood, the world around them seems to be grey and sad while when being happy, people see sunshine and colors more brightly. Thus, psychological state influences one's impressions of the world and can alter one's understanding of how things really are.Another major filter of knowledge is communities and authorities. Every person is influenced by argumentum ad verecundiam or appeal to authority. It is believed that when...

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