TOK final Draft
IB Diploma Program
Session: May 2020
Theory of Knowledge
Does it matter that your personal circumstances influence how seriously your knowledge is taken?
Word count: 1,624
Many things impact our human relations with others. Our minds naturally make connections and associate ideas. So, if someone introduces a cue to you, a word, a smell, or a symbol, your mind often starts down an associative path. And we can be sure the initial cue will color a knowledge that waits at the path’s end and all this happens outside of our perception. One can only make its choices and decisions based on the best information that we have, because the way is not always easy or clear to have a knowledge about something, no matter what choice we make or what we know, we will always have adverse circumstances. Our personal circumstances can have a huge impact on our knowledge, it can limit our performance, personality, or influences how people consider us and our knowledge.
First of all, personal circumstances are the conditions in which you live and situation of a person which affects his views, outlooks and attitudes with regard to himself, others and life. Our personal circumstances include our social position, financial situation, level of education, achievements, abilities/ inabilities, culture and society that we are from. While knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or education.
In this essay my goal is to demonstrate that I agree that it does matters that our personal circumstances influence how seriously our knowledge is taken. I will support my statement by referring to the three areas of knowledge Natural Science, History and Arts. First, I will show the relationship between our personal circumstances and our knowledge then I will show its impact on knowledge.
On one hand, there are many ways in sharing our knowledge such as our memory, emotions and even logic. Knowledge has always been connected to one's own experience and sometimes belief. When it comes to religion, people are more driven towards the characteristics of behavior. People might believe that knowledge can affect their decisions to a certain extent. For example, history has given us many stories and truth about various incidents and happenings around the world but not all people might believe it. Since we haven't seen much of the historic events, we believe that the stories related to great leaders give us lot of knowledge to act on. This justifies that a great idea can come from anywhere and it is based on people's knowledge. Some people believe that knowledge has no connection to our personal circumstances because one can know things without forcibly relating to it but just from learning it. For instance, when it comes to arts, the artist does not always have express his or her feelings, they can sometimes draw or paint things that does not have any relationship with them, they can do it just for entertainment. Also, an artist does not need knowledge or concept in order to produce art, only imagination and creativity is needed. However, nowadays, when it comes to knowledge, people are more likely to ask for evidences which shows that the person is well qualified to get a job or to be taken seriously. Which is also applicable for arts. Although, arts as i said earlier is more about delivering a message or expressing feelings, some people still thinks that academic knowledge is still very important in order to demonstrate qualification and excellence of their work.
Natural science does not also relate to our personal circumstance because it is precise and objective and it use to study the physical world. For example, in math “1+1=2” we do not need our emotions, culture or religions to believe that this language is true. Because the language of math is universal meaning that everyone, can relate or understand it no matter who you are and where you came from. Moreover, some people still think that natural science does relate to our personal circumstance for instance, in Biology, when scientist are testing new medicines, they tend to use animals instead of human because it is forbidden to do experiment on human, which some people think that it can affect our personal circumstances because certain religions might be against the fact of using animals for experiments. However, some people would still think that there is link between our personal circumstances and natural science because they are among the areas of knowledge and that knowledge has always been contribution from experts and shared knowledge such as our memory, emotions, and even logic.
On the other hand, our personal circumstance has a huge impact on our knowledge, moreover, the abilities of an individual consist of intellectual, physical and self-assurance characteristic owned by an individual defines the behavior of the persons in personal and social life. These personal factors which influence the individual behaviors and knowledge can be of two types: biographical characteristics such as age, gender, religion, experiences, intelligence, personality, values etc. and environmental factors such as employment level, salary/ wage, available to technology, physical facilities at the work place, leadership language and concept .For example, a native French speaker trying to speak English, it is obvious that his accent is different, and there are some words that he won’t be able to pronounce so the fact that our accent or our fluency in a certain language influence how seriously our knowledge is perceived by others is a huge concern. Indeed, mostly based on external parts of our identity. Subsequently, this will affect how someone’s knowledge and understanding will be taken, knowing that our accent is not the most reliable way to judge the volubility of our knowledge. Many people might be affected insofar their abilities are assessed tone inferior. Even though some people’s knowledge is unfairly judged due to their poor miscommunication can happen at any instance. For instance, there are difficult words to translate from a specific language to another, and it becomes unavoidable to compare somebody’s knowledge. It is relevant that our brain makes us have judgements towards other people’s history based on their religious beliefs, our level of intelligence which is challenged. Nowadays it is hard to be respected and considered on an intellectual aspect based on our status, for example, in a company where a meeting is held for important decision to make in some projects, the administration couldn’t find the best solution for the project, while one of their cleaners was emptying the bin, he heard about the problem and decide to share his thoughts about the situation. Although, his suggestion was way better than the administration’s, they tend not to take into account his knowledge just because of his personal circumstance as a cleaner. It is also the same thing when it comes to some gender issues, because in some patriarchal society, men are the master of the house and decides everything without women concern. Women are voiceless, under-mind and classified as housewives, for instance, when a father wants to give his daughter for marriage, the mother can’t do or share her opinion about it because she is a woman and her role is to listen and accept things without saying a word. It is even worst at the work place where gender inequality is highly present because men are tended to have high positions such as manager or a director while women are the secretaries and in the reception areas, although they have the same diplomas, men are better paid and more acknowledged than women. And this shows the effects or the impact of our personal circumstances on our knowledge. As we said earlier for arts, that we don’t need knowledge or concepts in order to be an artist because arts is all about transferring feelings or deliver a message but nowadays, in order for people to take your knowledge seriously, you will have to show concrete proves such as certificate, CV or a diploma that shows that you are highly qualified for the job.