Tok Essay: What Criteria Do You Use To Distinguish Between Knowledge, Opinion And Propaganda?"

1246 words - 5 pages

Title: "There are many different authorities, including academics, politicians, global organizations and companies, who make knowledge claims. As an experienced TOK student, what criteria do you use to distinguish between knowledge, opinion and propaganda?"IntroductionThese days, in the information age of the 21st century people in our society are engulfed in the mass media and receive many kinds of information. All this abundance of information raises fundamental questions on information its self. How much information and of what value do we get every day, from either seeing something, being taught in school or just watching TV? From all the opinions and propaganda we are exposed to every day, how much of that has turned into our knowledge? In what way has our knowledge, with the help of propaganda formed our opinion?HypothesisI believe that the criteria for distinguishing between knowledge, opinion and propaganda are:1) To analyze what type of people, in terms of cultural, historical and educational background believe in a certain issue.- This will help to classify different groups of knower(s), provide an insight into the reasons for certain beliefs and give each belief a sort of value or "degree of truth".2) To incorporate as many objective perspectives as possible, on a certain subject, be it a conversation, newspaper articles, books, TV, historical records or even just a rumor.- This will help to draw a more distinct line between the different groups of knower(s) and provide a substantial argument for the justification of one's belief.KnowledgeKnowledge is the information, understanding and skills that one gains through education or experience. It is something certain, a fact that can only be replaced or changed by another fact held as being "truer" or "more true".Why is it that we, students of the IB-Program examine and investigate the term "knowledge" so much in the subject of TOK? In spite of it being in the title of the course I believe there are many reasons for this. One of them may be that knowledge is not a 100% definite word, as so often mistakably perceived by many, when simply checking up in a dictionary. Knowledge is a very powerful and often, dangerous tool humans use and misuse to achieve their goals, either on a local, national or global scale. One of the main reasons for the controversy on truth and knowledge is the fact that knowledge is an abstract term, not tangible which gives it a very general meaning, leaving a lot of room for interpretations. My definition of knowledge is, that it is the truth on a subject for an individual or group, in accordance to the current environment in which it sustains its state of truth.An explanation in form of an example for the statement above is a very old and famous claim of knowledge: "the world is flat".Before people such as Galileo Galilei, Copernicus or Christopher Columbus were able to help prove that the earth was in fact not flat; this statement was conceived to be true and even...

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