Three Sources of Knowledge – TOK

There are eight ways of knowledge people use to gain a better understanding of our surroundings. These ways of knowing are: emotion, reason, imagination, intuition, language, faith, sense perception, and lastly, memory. All of the eight ways of knowing are all very important and they all play a role in our lives. Given this, one has to ask “which sources of knowledge are the most important?’ which then arises the knowledge question of “To what extent can a source of knowledge provide us information on whether what is in front of us is true?”. I believe sense perception, language and reason are the most reliable sources of knowledge.

Sense perception is a very reliable source of knowledge because; although our senses can be deceived, either by perspective or something else, which affect our interpretations of our surroundings, they are something which provides us an immediate connection between us and what is out there. Sense perception contributes to the formation of shared knowledge because mostly everyone can see, touch, smell, taste and hear. By combining all of our senses with others, we can gain a greater understanding of the world because we can combine all of our perspectives to come to a more extended solution. A good example of this is the elephant and the blind men. Even though these blind men did not recognise that what they were touching was an elephant, through the combination of all of their opinions gathered through their sense of touch, they were able to gather a better understanding of the thing that was in front of them.

Language is also very prominent as without it no one would be able to gain knowledge on the information and discoveries written or spoken by previous generations. Language provides a “bridge” between the source and the receivers, such as the philosopher and the society. Through the use of language, people have been able to communicate and pass down knowledge so that future, for example, scientists are able to expand and continue investigating further the previous knowledge communicated.

Lastly, reason is one, if not the most important source of knowledge because it can be easily used to evaluate knowledge. Inductive and deductive reasoning can, through the use of information or facts, come to a conclusion on whether the hypothesis or the big idea are true or not. Reason plays a prominent role in shared knowledge as through the use of once again, deductive and inductive reasoning, scientists or researchers can come to a “true” conclusion, which in the end will be beneficial for society.