Essay on Active Experimentation And Passive Observation

Essay on Active Experimentation And Passive Observation

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Active experimentation and passive observation are, and have been, key processes in the development of knowledge for humankind. For many people, knowledge that has been gained through active experimentation is often perceived as clear, precise and reliable due to the official publishing and confirmation of hypotheses. Passive observation on the other hand, is when one does not experience the event personally but learns from others’ experiences - it is therefore perceived as being more subjective and dependant on what each individual takes and understands from that experience. It is open to changes in as these experiences are shared from person to person. Both active experimentation and passive observation have produced vastly furthered knowledge for humankind; however, there are other methods of knowledge production which must be considered, such as active observation and passive experimentation, which play key roles in the production of knowledge.

Firstly, active experiment and passive observation have to be defined before understanding how these methods result in knowledge gain for a person. Passive observation is defined as when a person is not experiencing an event first hand but observing it nonetheless, and gathering knowledge from that experience. An example of passive observation was when Sir Isaac Newton witnessed the initial trigger into his study of gravity – a topic I have learnt about in my IB Physics course. Sir Isaac Newton passively observed the falling of an apple from a tree, and he questioned why apples always fell perpendicularly to the ground; which in turn sparked interest into his theory of gravity.

On the other hand, active experimentation is the process of actively experiencing an event and gaining kn...


... middle of paper ...


...nowledge – particularly within the Natural Sciences. Without the ability for active experimentation of hypotheses derived from observation, humankind would not have developed as exponentially as we have. However, passive observation and active experimentation are certainly not the only methods, which have allowed for the production of knowledge, and themselves have limitations. Imagination, passive experimentation, active observation and innate behaviour, are other key methods. The way in which we learn and discover cannot simply be attributed to a basic binary proposition of knowledge production – we continually learn through complex and interesting methods. Furthermore there are still parts of our brain that have not yet fully been understood by modern science and medicine – possibly leaving us a lot more to understand about the way in which we produce knowledge.

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