Tok Essay Test: Sense Perception And Reason

668 words - 3 pages

The knowledge question being pursued in this essay is: what role does what we expect to see- or are used to seeing- play in what we observe? What we expect to see greatly influences the observations that we make, as confirmation bias is created therefore we are more likely to accept something as true. It is difficult to make observations with neutrality once bias is formed.
Reason, either deductive or inductive, creates expectations in which bias is present because observations are more easily accepted as true. Deductive reasoning is moving from general truths to specific knowledge, and inductive reasoning is moving from specific details and observations to more general conclusions. Expectations can easily be formed from both types of reason and influence what is observed, as we are more easily accepting of something that we can reason to be true. However, there is false confidence in what we “should” see, as there is truly minimal certainty in reason because of the assumption that the future will be the same as the past when knowledge is always subject to re-examination and change. An example of an expectation raised because of reasoning is the example of swans. In this example, a man studying swans has observed that all the swans he has ever encountered have had white feathers. Since the latter is definitely true, the man begins to assume and therefore form an expectation that all swans he will ever encounter will also be white, because of what he is used to seeing. However, the moment he observes a black swan his statement is shattered and the fallibility in his observations that were so easily confirmed through bias, is revealed. One may say however, that even though confirmation bias is created through experiences and reasoning, that it in fact has no influence on what or how we explicitly observe. It may still be possible to be unbiased in the method of observing and the actual observations if the...

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