Websites can be made and published by anyone so the information on them could nonsense, or it could be true, we normally judge a website on how logical the information sounds and how the actual website looks. For example information on a BBC website would be taken in to be true much more easily than that on Wikipedia because the BBC is known to be trustworthy and has built up a reputation of being trustworthy, whereas most people know that anyone can edit Wikipedia so the information could have come from anywhere.
What we commonly do is cross reference different websites until we get a consensus of the truth, but is this trustworthy? Well for most people it is, but saying that, in the past people believed the world was flat because that was the consensus of the majority, and then when Galileo said it was round he was going against the consensus, so was seen as obviously false, yet we know he was correct. So not even cross referencing can’t give us the truth when it comes to websites, we just have to accept the truth of the moment, even if it could be wrong.
I consider the most logical and repeated knowledge on the internet as trustworthy. A source of knowledge which we use to keep us updated on the world around us is the media, being Newspapers and T. V. The knowledge we get from the T. V is normally easy to swallow, it seems logical and, apart from the weather, is trustworthy, we can normally “see” the news, even though its secondary perception we assume it hasn’t been altered and is real. However with Newspapers what you read isn’t always trustworthy.
Different people read different papers, Tabloids, such as “The Sun” are viewed as being less trustworthy, tending to make a bend the truth on stories, and contain sensationalist stories to sell more paper, they tend to be “easy reading” be favoured by less academic people, whereas Broadsheet newspapers, such as “The Daily Telegraph” are viewed as more truthful, publishing stories on politics and world occurrences, being read more by academics.
Although some newspapers now contain “Broadsheet material” in a smaller tabloid format. I tend not to consider the media as immediately trustworthy, and tend to look for consensus in the news, for example when I saw on the news that Michael Jackson had died (I know this is quite irrelevant information) I didn’t believe it at first, until I saw it was in the papers as well, and on other channels. Personal experience is one of the things that people consider most trustworthy, but can we even trust that?
Our eyes trick us, sometimes we “hear” noises at night, we feel pins and needles, all of these things are personal experiences but they aren’t always true. But we do learn a lot of basic things from our personal experiences, like if you touch fire you feel it burn you so you trust that fire is hot and can burn things as you have experience of it firsthand. But our experiences can be controlled, as we saw in “The Truman Show” all of his experiences were fake and controlled, but to him personally, until he realised it wasn’t, it was trustworthy.
If you saw a car crash you might claim one driver was at fault, but three other people may claim it was the other driver, then you begin to doubt you own personal experience as if the consensus is against you is your experience trustworthy? Were you mistaken? You begin to doubt your own senses. I consider my personal experience to be quite trustworthy but I look to other sources to back it up. The authorities are the people who control our society, so surely they must be trustworthy? But just because someone’s in a position of power that doesn’t give them instant validity, it gives them credibility but why?
We assume that to have gotten into a position of power people have to build up a reputation for being truthful and honest, or at least good at what they do, so if the prime minister says the recession is over it must be right? Or are the authorities just the same as us, they’re just people using primary and secondary knowledge just like us to reach new knowledge. Authorities just propose the ideas for us to accept, they start the consensuses and then leave it to us to agree. I consider authorities one of the least trustworthy sources of knowledge, they normally only ever tell us partial truths.
Another way we gain knowledge is our emotions, if we feel fear towards a situation you trust that it is a fearful situation. If you love someone you know you love them, but even this can be controlled to an extent. Our actual emotions can’t be controlled, but the stimulus to them can, and you can be conditioned to how you react to that stimulus, for example if someone was attacked by a dog as a child you could bring fear out in them with a dog, whereas someone else might feel happy when they see a dog as it reminds them of a pet.
I consider emotions to be one of the more trustworthy ways of gaining knowledge because they “just are” they can’t be fake because they are you and they can only be controlled to an extent, the feeling is still true. I think that on their own no source of knowledge can be trustworthy, its only with a combination of them that we can trust knowledge, you shouldn’t just rely on what you experience, or on what you read, you should mix your experience with what you read, what you feel, what your told and reach your own conclusion of the knowledge your seeking.
But that’s just what I think, that’s my conclusion, what’s yours? Lewis Wade Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.