Theory of Knowledge
September 2, 2014
Prompt: To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture. Does that mean this it is impossible to have objective knowledge?
As children we are immersed in our communities in which we are fed predisposed knowledge that has been passed down and developed within our communities or families for numerous generations. Not until we begin primary, or even secondary school do we start to formulate ideas and opinions of our own. Through schooling and being exposed to the more general world, we are able to acknowledge different perspectives on what is occurring around us and as we grow, we evolve as individual thinkers and begin to formulate our own ideas. However, all this knowledge that we have been accumulating throughout our lives has some aspect of subjectivity in it and therefore, this leads us to the knowledge question: to what extent is it impossible to have objective knowledge? In this essay I will be exploring one area of knowledge being mathematics. Mathematics can be universally applied across cultures, but its methodology is specific to certain cultures. So therefore, mathematics includes both objective and subjective knowledge. Thus, in answering my knowledge question, it is not impossible to have objective knowledge within certain areas of knowledge.
The word ‘objective’ can be defined as “not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.” Therefore, objective knowledge is knowledge that is universal across cultures and that is not influenced by personal beliefs. The word ‘subjective’ can be defined as “based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.” Thus, subjective knowled...
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... area of knowledge comprises of how the knowledge is taught, what implications it has, or even what effect it has on the learner. Accordingly, this counterclaim does not take those factors into account.
As human beings, our knowledge is influenced by our cultural backgrounds because of how immersed we are within them. It is often very difficult for us to have knowledge independent of subjective experience, but in the case of mathematics, this is not always true. Mathematics is considered to include both objective and subjective knowledge because, although it does involve globally accepted theorems and postulates that do not differ across cultures, it also comprises of the methodology by which it is taught. The teachers of mathematics are inherently subjective and thus, share their conceptualization of mathematics, but relate it to their own unique cultures.
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