The theory of knowledge (TOK) plays a vital role in providing students with an opportunity to reflect on the nature of knowledge and the basis used to claim all that is known. It is a common belief that ideas and conclusions must have evidence for them to be considered as knowledge. In the process of creating knowledge, such as when developing new concepts and theories, it is reasonable to make some assumptions than accept particular conclusions which are yet to be proven right (Condoleon, 34).
"Knowledge" referred to in this context refers to an entity (a project) or anything relating to the human conceptual thinking as well as the correspondence theory of truth. In TOK to "produce" something entails bringing it into fourth in an open ground regardless of whether it is an orchards peach and nature's product or the latest model of Samsung which is the human beings produce. On the other hand, the word "evidence" is referred to as an account for something. It reveals an answer to the question of 'why?' and it usually begins with the word because. It mainly encompasses a general way of portraying reasons for a particular event (Condoleon, 34). Also, from the above title, "conclusion" relates to peoples judgments of what something is all about in a general perspective. There are areas of knowledge where there is not enough evidence, and hence we have just gone beyond the evidence to avail knowledge and come up with the conclusions.
Natural Science as an AOK
In analytic philosophy, metaphysical anti-realism is a way of perception that argues that nothing exists outside the mind and that we cannot access a mind-independent reality even if it does exist. In the knowledge of quantum physics and natural science, while we accept the existence of an atom, we have no enough models for their representation given our evidence regarding their nature as well as their behaviour. In quantum physics, atoms are referred to as symbolic entities represented with the algebraic formula, and their existence in physical form is skipped over to produce the knowledge with the conclusions as for the basis of what has been arrived at regarding the nature of the atom as well as what it is. While skipping we go beyond the deficiency in the knowledge issue of what atoms might be. Rutherford's model mainly used in atoms description is just a fantastic piece that does not have any relationship with the atom's reality.
In the AOK for the Natural Sciences, the traditional methods used to produce knowledge are often predictions made based on available evidence observed from the natural world. However, as the development of scientific theories quickly approaches the border of the observable scale - such as the rapid development of quantum physics, theories of the new field overwrite certain principles of classical mechanics. Classical physics theories suggest that objects exist in a specific place at a particular time, but the premise of quantum mechanics instead suggests objects exist in an array of probabilities. "Because the mathematics of atoms or anything else works in producing the outcomes that we desire, we do not care what the nature of the atom is as long as we can produce reliable results or conclusions and can make use of those results or conclusions."(Lennox, 2)
Albert Einstein counter-argued this system of quantum physics. In their debate with Niel Bohr, Einstein argued that "I, at any rate, am convinced that He [God] does not throw dice." Einstein argues in favour of the existence of wave-particle duality of light. In one thought experiment, Robert Einstein proofed that the quantum mechanics was directly inconsistent referring to the Heisenberg principle which could be revealed of its inadequacies through imagining the protons that could be measured both time-wise as well as energy-wise. Robert Einstein made a proposition that if a lid could have been opened on a box containing photons and allowing just one to escape, then its measurements could be taken time-wise through checking on the duration in which the box remained open (Karin, 123). Therefore Einstein disproved the principle of Heisenberg referring to the knowledge of quantum mechanics as inconsistent. Robert could not come into consensus with the idea of quantum mechanics. It reaches a time when Einstein said that there was no way quantum mechanics would involve the belief that there is nothing which can travel faster than light and the entanglement. He termed the whole thing as "spooky action at a distance" (Knorr, 14). Therefore through Einstein counterargument on the knowledge of quantum physics then we are forced to conclude what goes beyond our human evidence.
Knowledge can also be in the form of theories and predictions of the future. However, some predictions are based on the observed evidence such as "the universe will end from a smooth exit from eternal inflation." This was a prediction made by renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, and it cannot be verified through observation as suggested by anti-realism views as humanity would almost certainly be long-extinct by then.
History as an AOK
History provides a large area in which we must go beyond the evidence provided in order to produce knowledge. This is because people in the present time have not experienced almost all of history first-hand or with sensory perception, and instead only read of it through documentation. The same can be applied to the discovery of dinosaurs through fossils. While humans have no actual documentation or first-hand experience with dinosaurs, we continue to reconstruct their fossils in an attempt to produce knowledge of these dinosaurs.
An excellent example of this is the Megalosaurus, the first dinosaur described in 1824 by William Buckland. While we had no actual evidence of the dinosaur existing or any eye-witness accounts of its construction, paleontologists still came to a conclusion on what the various partial bones were for, such as the teeth of the Megalosaurus being "pointed and having serrated edges indicating that these animals were large, land-dwelling reptiles" (Howlett, 2). Although not being able to observe the dinosaurs immediately, palaeontologists went beyond the evidence provided for them to make inferences about the dinosaur and produce knowledge. Likewise, the Roanoke Colony provides an example in which historians branched off of the little information that is known to determine possible circumstances. The story of Roanoke Colony is that of the first colony in America which was left behind by John White for a few years. Upon returning, he found out that all of the colonists seemed to vanish without a trace. The only sign left behind was the word "CROATOAN" carved into the palisade that was surrounding the settlement. Despite the lack of evidence, many historians have inferred possible outcomes for the Roanoke Colony; however, none have been able to define the situation conclusively. Still, the inferred solutions to the lost colony can be considered knowledge, as they have been somewhat justified. For instance, one theory claims that the settlers never actually disappear, but moved to the Croaton islands, located about 15 miles from the original settlement. Another theory from one of the archaeologists entails a study on the "tree-ring data" to possibly tell whether the colony was affected by weather changes. The research regarding the weather had a breakthrough because they discovered that the colony was struck by severe drought conditions in the period 1587 to 1589 (Miller, 4). These findings inform us that the drought is the likely cause of the fall of the colony, through killing the inhabitants or compelling them to search for better settlement places. From the discussion, it is evident that history with even tiny pieces of evidence can be used to produce substantial amounts of knowledge by going beyond the provided evidence and making broad conclusions regarding the event.
Nonetheless, at the level of primary research and evidence, historians occasionally find different evidence based on the same happenings. In some areas, contemporary information leads to new inferences. A critical example is a debate regarding the rate of economic growth in England during the industrial revolution. "It was until the period between 1970 and 1980 that interpretations regarding possible economic growth in the future were made. This prediction was made based on data on the wages of the craftsmen. The prediction had been made by Phelps-Brown and Hopkins around 1950-1960. However, the estimates were later revised by Cole and Deane using alternative data acquired from new research on GDP and wages. In the mid-1980s, Harley proposed a more downward estimate of growth figures. It did not take long for because historians soon challenged the revision by Harley. Berg and Hudson are ones who questioned the data and approach used by Harley" (OpenLearn, 1). From this sequence of events, it can, therefore, be correct to say that new data redefines an issue, and it usually opens the possibility of redefining the new data.
In conclusion, while most ideas and claims demand full justification with the help of evidence to be considered knowledge, many AOKs witness the deficiency of evidence for complete justification of a claim. In natural science, there are numerous proofs, but also still there are other proofs which need going beyond their provided proof to be referred to as knowledge. Also, history requires that we go beyond provided evidence such as documentation, in order to justify claims as knowledge. It also demands us to take cover an extra mile when intending to infer events that have hardly any evidence. Generally, the production of knowledge entails going beyond the evidence in order to accept conclusions, even though there are areas that do not require going beyond the evidence to produce knowledge.
Condoleon, Manuel. "TALK THE TOK AND WALK THE WOK: How International Baccalaureate subject teachers integrate Theory of Knowledge in their teaching (Case studies in India, Thailand, and China)." (2018).
Howlett, E. A., et al. "New light on the history of Megalosaurus, the great lizard of Stonesfield." Archives of natural history 44.1 (2017): 82-102.
Karin Johannesson, God Pro Nobis: On Non-metaphysical Realism and the Philosophy of Religion, Peeters Publishers, 2007, p. 26.
Knorr-Cetina, Karin D. The manufacture of knowledge: An essay on the constructivist and contextual nature of science. Elsevier, 2013.
Lennox, John C. God, and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design is it anyway? Lion Books, 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/19/stephen-hawking-physicist-predicted-end-of-the-universe-two-weeks-before-his-death.html
Miller, Lee. Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony. Arcade Publishing, 2001.
"Why Do Historians Disagree? - OpenLearn - Open University." https://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/why-do-historians-disagree. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2019.
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