Theory of Knowledge Journals – Perception Unit

Today on Friday September 7th, my friend Radhika informed me about the fact that she knows that a student dropped out of our Physics class. The reason that she knows this is because of her personal experience or empirical knowledge. Radhika independently saw the student leave the class. The physics teacher, Mrs. Drekic, also informed her that a student was leaving the class. Thus, she also gained the knowledge by authority.

Recently, my mother told me that she knows it has been nearly six years since the September 11th terrorist attack on New York City in 2001. There are several reasons as to why my mother knows the written above statement. One is because she lived through this event; thus, she knows it because of personal experience. Another reason why my mother knows for a fact that the September 11th terrorist attack was six years ago is because of authority. The television network CNN [Cable Network News] has declared several times on the news program that the terrorist attack was six years ago.

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When in the outdoor environment of the baseball field at Cameron Heights, I perceived what I could with the five different human senses; sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. This act of perceiving and noticing the surroundings around me occurred twice; once with my eyes opened, and again, with my eyes closed. A given individual’s perception on the circumstances around them can vary greatly for several different reasons. Such as, the fact whether or not their eyes are open. Another explanation as to why the same situation can be interpreted in many different ways is because every individual perceives given occurrences differently.

At the point in time when I had my eyes opened, I could see all of the different trees. I was able to smell the fresh-cut grass, and clearly hear the physical education teacher’s voice giving instructions to students. I could feel the wind blowing at my body and face. While being in the outdoor environment, using my sense of sight, I was not able to taste anything.

While having my eyes closed, I encountered a few different senses then when I was using my sense of sight. I experienced the sense of hearing the wind blowing through the trees, and around my body and face. I was able to feel the heat from the sun shining strongly on my body. Once again when perceiving the environment around me with my eyes closed, I was able to smell the fresh grass. Nevertheless, I was unable to experience anything with two of my senses; taste and sight.

The difference between what I perceived with my eyes opened and closed proves a very important point. It could prove that every single person has a different perception of the same event or action. The point of this exercise could also be alluding to the fact that sometimes when a given person is to perceive or analyze a situation, they have their ‘eyes closed’. They do not have an open mind, or clear thoughts. Therefore, their perception may be faulty, or possibly even as a bias.

The Sense of Smell

Friday September 21st, 2007

Magdalena Nowakowska

The human sense of smell refers to olfaction, which is greatly related to another one of the human senses; taste. Smell is something that is too small to see with the naked eye, among different situations and specific cases, of course. What we as humans smell are really odor particles, which millions of them exist. With the sense of smell, past experience and memory is a key factor. One may be able to physically experience smelling a certain odor. However, at the same time, one may not be able to name this odor because lack of personal and past experiences, as well as memory.

Olfaction and taste together are the reason why we can taste different flavors of food. The human tongue can only distinguish a minimum number of certain distinct qualities of taste. However, the average human nose can clearly distinguish among hundreds of different substances and smells. Olfaction greatly heightens the sense of taste. This was clearly proven in Ms. Easton’s Theory of Knowledge class during a small experiment. Students were not able to distinguish between different flavors of candies with their noses plugged; therefore, proving the fact that smell amplifies the human sense of taste.

The human sense of smell is greatly related to our memory and past experiences. For example, the scent of a flower can remind one of a rose once received from a loved one on a special occasion. Or one may associate the scent of popcorn with an enjoyable evening they experienced at the movie theatres.

Past experiences play a substantial role in ones ability to identify different scents and odors. For example, if a Caucasian North American woman, who was never exposed to any other different cultural foods than the general ones served in America, were to be asked to identify an Indian spice, she would not be able to. The reason for that is because she has never experienced this scent in the past; she has no memory of it, and thus, does not recognize it.

In conclusion, it can be clearly and easily seen that the human sense of smell, olfaction, and taste are greatly connected. Without one of these senses, or a major declination in its ability, one cannot completely enjoy simple pleasures to the fullest capacity. For example, one would not have the same experience of eating a freshly baked slice of pizza, if was unable to smell it. Therefore, the human sense of smell is a crucial function in our everyday lives to complete the maximum capacity of our ability to distinguish all five senses.

The Matrix

Does Reality Exist?

Friday October 26th, 2007

Magdalena Nowakowska

Although “The Matrix” is a motion picture created for entertainment purposes, it is at its core, a film with a moral plot. The reality in this film, that forms the lives of millions of human beings, is not real. The world that seems to be real to most people is in fact a computer generated simulation. However, almost no one knows this fact to be valid. In the true reality, human beings are floating in liquid and nonetheless, to the average person, it seems to be the ordinary world of the year 1999. This is where the knowledge issue of what is real and what is not becomes significant.

Firstly, as a viewer of “The Matrix”, I have an open perspective. When observing the film, I am let in on the truth about the situation. I can see for myself, that in reality, human beings are being both deceived and enslaved. Throughout “The Matrix”, individuals are being constantly deceived into believing things about reality that are not true. The act of deceiving often offends many different people. The reason for that is because many people believe that they want to and have the right to know ‘the truth’ about everything. I believe that keeping others in the dark about some sort of truth is to diminish the respect and authority towards those people. In life, there are a few people who decide which ‘truths’ other human beings can manage and grasp. In “The Matrix” humans were tricked into this situation of being let in on only some truths in reality.

Essentially, “The Matrix” poses questions to the viewer of this film. Doubt is cast on thoughts such as Does reality really exist? And what really is reality. If we see a certain object, and we are confident of its existence, we have to believe and know that it truly exists. The reason for that is because even if it exists in the matrix or a dream, someone is dreaming it or, fundamentally, controlling it. Reality truly is what we make, or believe it to be; one’s own creation or establishment. Therefore, the existence of the matrix is not impossible, however, the fact that it is possible, does not make it real.

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