To what extent can we rely on the knowledge provided by human scientists?



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“We think and name in one world, we live and feel in another. ” To what extent is this notion of naming true in different areas of knowledge? To what extent is it evident in your own experience? It is mostly true to say that we name and think in one world and we live and feel in another, especially if we are talking about areas of knowledge such as History or Arts. This thesis is also supported by my personal experience that taught me not to rely too much on words when it comes to personal points of view.

In History, battles, treaties, and decisions, are described with words that give an idea to the posterity of what was going on at the time with accuracy and depth. However, after we are presented with these notions written but the historians, we often put ourselves in the position of the person that experienced them himself, going beyond the historian’s words. For example, we can embody Louis XVI and realize the real life situation, understanding and comprehending the feelings and the pressure that the King had upon himself when he took important actions like those who turned the whole French population against him.

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Consequently this leads us to think that he definitely took silly decisions, but on the other hand they are justified and comprehensible considering that a normal person would have done the same thing at his place. What this process has done is take in information given through words but then analyze them from our own point of view and draw our own personal conclusions, according to the emotions that we felt when we took aside the historians narrations and we started figuring out how different it is to live an event first hand.

In History, it’s particularly difficult to evoke the same emotions felt by the people of the time through a vocal description; in fact, intangible emotions such as fear or stress can be described by words but will never be as meaningful as when they are felt personally. Arts are another good example; in fact, there is not such a way of knowing that differentiates the two worlds as much as Arts do. In Arts, people learn a precise vocabulary, invented specifically to describe a work of art in its tiniest particulars, most of the times non even known by persons that haven’t studied arts before.

Sculptors, for instance, learn this unequivocal vocabulary that allows them to describe the work that precisely that the speaker can evoke a precise image, true to reality, in the audience’s mind without showing the sculpture. Even though this new language has given the artists a way to communicate and describe a work in detail, it is definitely not the same thing to hear a comment on it, despite all the preciseness and flawlessness that the description could have, rather than to see the subject in front of you, as tangible and real as it could be.

Thinking with words might be pretty accurate and effective but experiencing or seeing something yourself is a totally different thing. Reading a comment on arts will never be the same as analyzing it personally, first hand, using your own point of view, because words work well but will never convey the same emotions that a tangible object can convey. In my life, I have experienced a situation that really made me understand the problem of language as a way of knowing.

A couple of years ago, back in Italy, my father was about to buy a new car from a dealer 200 miles away from my city. He was impressed by the description of it, just what he wanted, so he decided to go there to sign the deal. When he went there, the same astonishing car described on the website looked utterly ugly to my dad so he sadly had to come back home, after a purposeless trip. This experience made me fully understand how a description with words can seem amazing but you never fully know what is being described until you see it with your own eyes.

A combination of colors may be perfect on paper, but when you see it as a whole, materialized, you might change your mind. There is no way to describe something without impairing its meaning, because emotions are difficult, if not impossible, to be fully described through words. This is all the more true if we consider personal points of view, in fact two persons might be seeing the same thing but feeling different emotions.

Many people have tried to come up with a language that would truly transmit emotions, but the reality is that sensations can’t be evoked through the use of words, but rather by the actual presence of the subject being analyzed. 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.

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