TOK Essay Titles for Nov. 2021
The TOK essay provides you with an opportunity to become engaged in thinking and reflection. What are outlined below are strategies and suggestions, prompts and prods, questions and possible responses only for deconstructing the TOK titles as they have been given. They should be used alongside the discussions that you will carry out with your peers and teachers during the process of constructing your essay. The TOK essay is a challenging assignment at any time but especially now given the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
The notes here are intended to guide you towards a thoughtful, personal response to the prescribed titles posed. They are not to be considered as an answer let alone the answer to the question(s) posed by the title and they should only be used to help provide you with another perspective to the ones given to you in the titles and from your own TOK class discussions and research. You need to remember that most of your examiners have been educated in the logical positivist schools of Anglo-America and this education pre-determines their predilection to view the world as they do and to understand the basic concepts as they do. The TOK course itself is a product of this logical positivism though efforts are being made to make it more universally embracing.
There is no substitute for your own personal thought and reflection, and these notes are not intended as a cut and paste substitute to the hard work that thinking requires. Some of the comments on one title may be useful to you in the approach you are taking in the title that you have personally chosen, so it may be useful to read all the comments and give them some reflection on how they might be of some use to you towards the title you have chosen.
My experience has been that candidates whose examples match those to be found on TOK “help” sites (and this is another of those TOK help sites) struggle to demonstrate a mastery of the knowledge claims and knowledge questions contained in the examples. The best essays carry a trace of the struggle that is the journey on the path to thinking. Many examiners state that in the very best essays they read, they can visualize the individual who has thought through them sitting opposite to them. To reflect this struggle in your essay is your goal.
Remember to include sufficient TOK content in your essay. When you have completed your essay, ask yourself if it could have been written by someone who had not participated in the TOK course. If the answer to that question is “yes”, then you do not have sufficient TOK content in your essay.
Here is a link to a PowerPoint that contains recommendations and a flow chart outlining the steps to writing a TOK essay. Some of you may need to get your network administrator to make a few tweaks in order for you to access it. Comments, observations and discussions are most welcome. Contact me at email@example.com or directly through this website.
A sine qua non: the opinions expressed here are entirely my own and do not represent any organization or collective of any kind.
The November 2021 Titles
1. Why is it so difficult to identify a clear line between accepted and disputed knowledge within a discipline? Answer with reference to two disciplines, each taken from a different area of knowledge.
Title #1 offers many key concepts which must be identified (deconstructed) in order to proceed. The initial question “why” asks us to provide reasons as to why there are disputes and agreements within various disciplines as to what may be called knowledge within those disciplines. What type of reasons are to be considered and what type of knowledge is meant in the question? To answer the question “why” is necessary because the principle of reason dominates the majority of disciplines and this principle demands the rendering of sufficient reasons: “be-cause”, “the cause is”. So, what is the “cause” of the disputes over what is to be considered knowledge within the various disciplines that you have chosen? This will require some research.
The rendering of sufficient reasons requires evidence which grounds and supplies the base for the assertions being made regarding knowledge in the discipline. Each discipline requires different kinds of evidence. In the natural and human sciences, this evidence will be in the form of mathematical equations which, due to their accuracy and correctness, provide the basis for making statements of “fact”. We believe “numbers don’t lie” and are the surest way in establishing the “truth” of an assertion or a proposition. Numbers, it is believed, are more “certain” than words in identifying and communicating statements regarding knowledge for “words strain, crack and sometimes break, under the burden, under the tension, slip, slide, perish, decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, will not stay still” to quote T.S. Eliot. Could this be because languages are living things while numbers are not and we have chosen to place our faith in numbers? Is it necessary that in order to “know” things we must, in some way, “kill” them first? The philosopher Nietzsche constantly railed against the “mummification” of knowledge.
The “difficulty” we have in “establishing clear lines” is that in the establishment of “lines” we are attempting to set the limits (horizons) of what something is and in so doing define what that thing is. To de-fine is to set the limits of something, to say it is this and not that. The philosopher Nietzsche once wrote: “Only that which has no history can be defined”. This setting of limits is to “frame” something so that the something may be brought to presence before us in time and space, given its horizons. In order to do so, time and space must be measured in units (seconds and metres, for instance) and this is why we are so keen to use numbers when we bring something to presence. Bringing something to presence is to reveal the thing for what it is; this we call knowledge. In making the assertion of what the thing is, we are saying “truth” about the thing and revealing the thing for what it is. The problem is that things are not revealed in their whole truth but only partially. The search for the whole truth regarding things is what the journey toward knowledge is all about and it is because things are only partially revealed that we have “disputed” and “accepted” knowledge regarding them. What we call knowledge is how the things are brought to stand in their presence before us. Do things come to a greater illumination before us with the assertions made by others regarding them?
In the Arts, for instance, a basic question is “Is it Art”? Whether or not something is art or is to be considered art depends, of course, on how art is defined, on the limits established for a work (a thing) to be considered art. These preliminary definitions or limits establish the breath of the scope of the seeing for what that some thing (the work) is. Can other animals, other than human beings, make a work of art? When an elephant swashes a brush across a piece of paper and fills it with colorful strokes, is this a work of art? How one defines art will determine whether or not something is art. Because it is a product of the 20th century, Political Science has had difficulty defining fascism as a modern political phenomenon and is helpless in stating whether corporate capitalism, liberal socialism, or historical fascism is a superior form for establishing and running a state. Here the difficulty lies in the adherence to the “fact/value” distinction and the belief that judgements of value are not useful in describing something as it is.
In the Physical or Natural Sciences, one could question whether the tree the botanist views is illuminated in its truth, its presence, to a brighter stage than the tree beheld by the poet. The nature of the beholding is the key to how a thing is defined and, therefore, made one’s own while it itself remains its own. (If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what then is the beholding?) The accepted viewing and the challenging of this viewing occurs on the theoretical, not the experimental level. In the history of the viewing that is Physics, we could not have the paradigm shifts of Galileo/Newton or Einstein/Heisenberg (quantum physics) without the challenging of the viewing that had become the “accepted” knowledge of those who worked and investigated within those fields. Physicists still attempt to challenge the findings and conclusions of quantum physics while attempting to search for evidence of the truth of Einstein’s viewing of the world.
2. “Knowledge gained through direct experience is powerful but problematic.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
What is the type of “knowledge” gained through direct experience? What is “direct experience”? In your science classes you are asked to do “experiments” in order to have direct “experience” of the knowledge that has been handed over to you. We could call this “knowledge by acquaintance”: you are familiar with what is being discussed and you can claim knowledge of the topic because you have become familiar with and determined the outcomes and seen the outcomes of the experience (experiment) yourself. But is what you have gained truly “knowledge”? In order to determine whether or not it is so, it is necessary to go back to the grounds of questions that have determined how you will view the world of the experience that you are to undergo. When we touch a hot stove for the first time, the knowledge that we gain of the pain that results is not problematic. We will not touch the stove again if we are rational. We were told by our mothers “Don’t touch the stove”, but we had to find out for ourselves, right? This type of knowledge, the voices of our mothers, is knowledge from authorities or the shared knowledge given to us by the communities we happen to be members of.
The example provided may seem trite, but it contains the core of what are called “knowledge problems and issues” in TOK. You are constantly told to “Show, don’t tell” when you write your essays and make your exhibitions. “To show” means that you are required to bring to presence before others evidence for the judgements you have made regarding the experiences or situations which you have claimed to have undergone and what the things are that are to be considered. Those of us who would like to consider ourselves sane ask for evidence that our political enemies, our neighbours, are really lizard-like aliens who prey on the blood of children and worship Satan in evil cabals. Or that California wildfires are the result of Jewish space lasers in the control of the Rothchilds and George Soros. Those who make such claims are unable to provide such evidence, of course, and yet they stubbornly cling to their beliefs in the judgements that are made regarding our common experience of these things i.e. politicians and wildfires. At the root of such stubborn clinging is the desire for power, whether it be the need for “self-empowerment” by being seen as a member of some group who believe themselves to be downtrodden by history, or for political power by being seen as a member of a faction within their communities.
When we are speaking of knowledge and its problems, whether it be knowledge by acquaintance or theoretical knowledge, it is important to distinguish and determine what type of knowledge we are talking about. When we are in the science lab, it is perfectly appropriate to question the theoretical knowledge that is being handed over to us: from where are the origins that brought about the seeing in this way? The type of questions asked will determine the kind of knowledge we are seeking. If we ask the question “Why is there more crime in the United States than in Singapore?” we can hope to find an answer to this question through scientific research. We have direct knowledge or experience of the data but problems arise when and how that data is interpreted. No scientific research, however, will answer the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” When the Jock’s intellectual girlfriend asks him “Why is there air?”, to an extent he is being correct to respond “There’s air to blow up volleyballs and basketballs; that’s why there’s air”. The Jock’s world and the world of his intellectual girlfriend clash for each requires a different viewing and interpretation of things and thus a different experience of the things.
When we ask about the knowledge gained from “direct experience”, its power and its problems, a very complex process is going on which, at most times, we are unaware of. We have direct experience of things in most waking moments of our lives. What is it that determines its importance for us so that we take possession of the experience and make it knowledge for us? All of us have different preferences for different things and place their importance in a hierarchy. Many of you have demonstrated this hierarchy of importance by your course choices for your IB program of study. But clearly, your world of being a student is only one aspect of who you are. You are also a son or a daughter, a Canadian, a Chinese, an Indonesian, an American and so on. In your virtual worlds, you may inhabit or hide under other guises. Because you inhabit a variety of worlds, various direct experiences of the overall world itself will either draw your attention or be ignored by you. Your knowledge will be limited by which worlds have been given to you and by the worlds you have chosen. How deep your knowledge of those worlds will become is something for you to determine.
3. “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact” (Arthur Conan Doyle). Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.
The quote from the writer of the Sherlock Holmes tales expresses a deeply disturbing thought and begs us to ask the question “What is reality?”. What, in fact, is a “fact”? That today is the 5th of June, 2021 (at the time of this writing) is a supposed fact. But here in Bali, the calendar is some 78 years behind our Western traditional Gregorian calendar. Both calendars are correct; they express facts but the facts are different because the interpretation of time is different. One calendar is based on the moon; the other is based on the sun. But both are based on the motion, movement of these celestial bodies.
What is time? What is space? All of what we call “facts” are determined by an interpretation of these two phenomenon for we need to place things in the concepts of time and space and make them stand fast so that they can be defined and their limits set: “here and now”, “there and then”, “here or there next week”, etc. To make these determinations, we use “units”, numbers. Time is composed of seconds or nano-seconds, something which is measurable and calculable and these units are uniform in themselves. Space is measured in centimetres, or other units of distance which are also uniform. We use these units of measurement in order to gain some control over time and space and the things that occur within them but in order to do so we must make time and space uniform first.
When we speak about the possible “deception” of facts, we are speaking about how a thing appears, how a thing comes to stand in its presence before us. In Physics, for instance, the difference between the classical physics of Aristotle and the modern physics of Newton is that what is actually apprehended as appearing and how it is interpreted are not the same. For Aristotle, nature is the change of something into something else. How a body moves, how it relates to its place (space) has its basis in the body or thing itself. The body moves according to its nature. An earthy body moves downward; a fiery body moves upward. Why? Because each body has its place according to its kind and moves towards that place. The motion of bodies occurs in a straight line and is incomplete. The motion of the stars and the heavens, however, is circular. Linear motion is incomplete; circular motion is complete and eternal. Thus Plato can say: “Time is the moving image of eternity” and we can construct our calendars according to the movements of the sun or moon.
In Newton’s First Law of Motion, all natural bodies are of the same kind (mass) and celestial bodies are not superior ones. There is no priority of circular motion over linear motion. Linear motion is decisive. Every body can be in any place; place is no longer where the body belongs according to its nature but only a position in relation to other positions. Why the moon moves in a circular motion and not a linear motion is what must be accounted for. Newton’s answer is gravity. With the experiments of Galileo in Pisa, both Galileo and his opponents saw the same “facts”, but they interpreted those facts differently and made the same “direct experience” visible to themselves in different ways. This viewing, as quantum physics shows us, impacts the how of the thing that is under observation comes to presence for us; our viewing has an impact on the thing. What Galileo thought in advance about motion was the determination that the motion of every body is uniform and rectilinear when every obstacle is eliminated from hindering it. Such an occurrence as a lack of hindering does not occur in “reality”; it is not a “fact”. But the conclusions arrived at are: all bodies are alike; no motion is special; every place is like every other place; every moment is like every other moment; every force is calculable only by the change of motion it causes and results in change of place. Nature is everywhere uniform and becomes subject to a mathematical calculation that is itself uniform.
It is clear from the above example that the “deception” regarding “facts” lies in the viewing and how this viewing determines their interpretation and how they are and will be interpreted. There are no “alternative facts”; there are only alternative interpretations of the facts that are given to us. When a USA senator states that the events of January 6, 2021 were not an insurrection but an ordinary day in the life of the American government, when he himself is shown cowering in fear when these “tourists” were attempting to storm the floor of the Senate, then we as sane people must reject this interpretation of the facts in light of the evidence given to us, and as “tourists” avoid putting a visit to the US Capital on our itineraries. In the Human Sciences, the use of statistical data is an area where “deception” regarding facts comes to the fore. In political polls in the USA, it appears that reliability is an issue because many respondents are lying and their words and actions are not congruent. The world of social media is also one where deception, lies and fraud necessitate the condition of anonymity and a healthy skepticism with regard to the assertions made by other people in those various communities. This begs the further question: why is truth under such a great attack at the present time?
Facts and their interpretations rely on their contexts and on the prevailing viewing that dominates the community where those facts and their interpretations predominate. This is what is meant by the word ethos. In our everyday worlds, we move about within an opinion of the way things are. We go along with the way that the world shows itself. We orientate ourselves to others that we are with within the world through holding opinions, but we demand from ourselves and from others evidence that the opinions that we and they hold are justified and true. Opinion motivates us to speak to each other and express an opinion, and it is in expressing these opinions that our humanity is revealed and it is this that distinguishes us from other animals.
4. “Areas of knowledge always rely on a systematic process of trial and error to aid the production of knowledge.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.
What is “the production of knowledge”? Production is a “showing forth”, a “bringing forth into presence” of some thing. In other blogs on this site, I have tried to show that this “showing” and “bringing forth” is what the ancient Greeks referred to as “truth”, aletheia. The “process of production” attempts to achieve “perfection”, a state of being complete and correct in every way. This bringing forth that attempts to achieve an end of completion and correctness results in a “work” whether it be a work of art, a drama production, an experiment, an algorithm or app, an essay or an exhibition. Help with the “production” of this “work” is probably why you are consulting this blog at the moment. You have a number of ideas, materials, and resources ready-to-hand that you will use to carry out this “work”. If you are wise, you will use a process of trial and error (that is, drafts) to achieve a level of completeness and correctness that will bring the work to the highest degree of completeness and correctness of which you are capable.
You will notice, though, that prior to your going forward and proceeding to bring your work into view, you will already have an end in view, a purpose which will pre-determine how you will view the ideas, materials and resources that you will gather or have gathered in order to “systematically” bring this end about. This systematic process of trial and error is what has been called “technology” in the Optional Themes for TOK on this blog. (https://mytok.blog/2019/09/30/ot2-knowledge-and-technology/). It is the “knowing” (logos) and “making” (techne) that is grounded in the principle of reason that determines the methodology necessary to bring about the kind of end or work which you wish to bring about. The principle of reason (“nothing is without (a) reason”), particularly the principles of causation and contradiction, are the grounds of all those concepts that we can call “systematic”.
The title states areas of knowledge “always rely on” the systematic methodology of trial and error in order to produce knowledge. Of course, when we hear the words “always rely on” we are skeptical of the truth of the statements that contain them. We try to find exceptions to this “always”. Certainly, there is no problem in the Natural Sciences. They rely on the trial and error method of experimentation in order to prove their hypotheses, propositions and premises to be true. The discoveries and disclosures of the results will be handed over to others in the form of mathematical calculations. The experiments must be repeatable for others in order for the evidence shown to be seen and verified by others and demonstrated to be true. The experiment follows the viewing and the viewing determines how the experiment will be set up and what procedures will be followed.
The great revolutions in the Natural Sciences occur when a change of viewing occurs. From Plato and Aristotle to Galileo and Newton to Einstein and Heisenberg, it is the change of viewing in relation to the things that are which brings about a fundamental change in what human beings conceive themselves and knowledge to be. Charles Darwin’s viewing of the priority of modification and natural selection brought about a great upheaval in how human beings viewed themselves and the other species surrounding them in the natural world. These changes of viewing the world were the result of a prior “systematic process of trial and error” in order to account for the things as they were beheld by these great scientists. From the viewing of these great scientists, vast amounts of knowledge have been produced by others.
In the Arts in most cases, there is a “systematic process of trial and error” that the artist goes through in order to bring forth the work that she has in mind in all of its completeness and correctness. Many artists are not satisfied with their work once it is finished because it lacks this completeness and correctness that they originally envisioned in their minds when the work is finally brought forth. If you “work out” in the weight room or on the practice pitch, on the basketball court or in rehearsals for the school drama production, you are constantly going through a process of trial and error in order to develop your knowledge and skills in order to bring your body to its highest level of perfection that you are capable of in order to bring about the end that you have in view so that this end can be the best that it can be.
In terms of looking for an exception to the “always rely on” in the Arts, we might look to the example of Mozart and his music. Mozart claimed that he received his music “all in one look”, complete, correct and perfect. His manuscripts which have come down to us show no corrections or edits, which is a remarkable achievement. His “viewing” allowed him to compose the overture for the opera Don Giovanni in one night at one sitting, or so we are told. In considering this example of Mozart, we might want to reflect on and consider the manner in which we view the world. Mozart’s viewing is a “receptive” viewing by an individual of eminent knowledge and skill. Its reception requires an acceptance of what is received, the gift given. His only freedom is to choose to accept or reject the gift. Many artists claim that their art does not come from them but is given to them. In their works, they are “makers”, not creators. The creating belongs elsewhere.
5. “If all knowledge is provisional, when can we have confidence in what we claim to know?” Answer with reference to two areas of knowledge.
Why and when is all knowledge considered provisional? Or is it? The word “if” is a subordinate conjunction in English grammar. A subordinate conjunction is an incomplete thought and the use of the clause “if all knowledge is provisional” indicates that the clause is dependent and provides further information to add to the sentence’s main idea “confidence in what we claim to know”, signaling a cause-and-effect relationship (“if…then”) or a shift in time and place (“if…when”) between the two clauses. That all knowledge should be considered provisional and conditional creates a disturbing situation for our understanding of our being-in-the-world which would be made clearer by our changing the subordinator “if” to “when” so that the dependent clause becomes “when all knowledge is considered provisional”. When all knowledge is considered provisional, what then? So an appropriate response to this title will consider the if and the when in its response. Is all knowledge provisional? Is reason provisional? If so, then when did this occur and why did it occur? What becomes of our “confidence” in such “knowledge” and from where does this confidence arise? Certainly, the current attack on truth founds itself upon the “provisionality” of what we think knowledge to be.
Knowledge is sometimes considered provisional because it is part of a whole and we cannot gain knowledge of the whole because we ourselves are part of it. The word “provisional” arrives into the English language around the 1600s. This was around the same time as the new discoveries in the modern sciences by Galileo and Newton, and in the philosophy of the German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz. Leibniz is considered to be the creator of finite calculus in mathematics and what is known as the modern insurance industry. Why are these two creations of Leibniz not co-incidental but related in their grounds?
The word “provisional” comes from the Latin root provisionem, “a foreseeing, foresight, preparation, or prevention.” Our modern viewing of the world is a mathematical projection of that world (algebraic calculation) developed from a plan initiated beforehand to commandeer and control the objects of the world (by understanding the cause-effect relations of objects and their forces) and to overcome any contingencies that would hinder that domination and control. This mathematical projection is what is known as transcendentalism. It is the projection of human thought over and beyond the objects of the world so that the thought creates the object and “knows” it. We know more about the things we make than those that we do not make. The human mind makes the object. (Kant) Or as the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, one of the founders of quantum physics, said: “What we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning. Our scientific work in physics consists in asking questions about nature in the language that we possess and trying to get an answer from experiment by the means that are at our disposal.” The development of the plan or system (which is mathematical in nature) helps us to maintain “confidence” in what we feel we can claim to know. We can see here the connection between the creation of finite calculus and the creation of the insurance industry. Insurance is the foreseeing and preparation in case of contingencies and allows one to have “confidence” in their willing and actions in the world.
In modern Physics, for example, we know that there is a gap between the macro-physics of Newton and the sub-atomic physics of relativity and quantum physics. The discoveries of sub-atomic physics overturn the findings of Newtonian physics yet we know that they both operate on the micro and macro levels. We see the principles of quantum physics explain the behaviours of celestial bodies within the vastness of the galaxies and their movements through space in astrophysics, and we see the operation of the principles of Newtonian physics in every waking moment of our lives. At the moment, we are unable to determine where these two views of the world meet so that their truths will illuminate and not contradict each other.
Titles #5 and #6 are really the same. From certainty comes confidence and while we may rarely be certain from a theoretical perspective and view our theoretical knowledge “provisionally”, we act with surety and confidence from a common sense perspective. In our day-to-day lives we could not act and plan without some sort of confidence in our knowledge that the sun will come up tomorrow. We know how to get to school, to find our classrooms, to find our way to the library or the gymnasium. We know these things because we are able to distinguish between things, and we can distinguish between them because we already have knowledge of them beforehand.
As we have been discussing in the other titles here, the modern view of knowledge is that it is dependent upon the social and historical contexts in which it appears or occurs. Such a view is known as historicism. The word “provisional” indicates that social and historical contexts change. The type of knowledge that we are speaking about here is dependent upon the manner of the “vision” or seeing that is prevalent at the time and is subject to change due to various contingencies or chance. The if of the “if all knowledge…” is a very big “if” indeed. The position taken in the quote is that all knowledge is provisional and therefore disposable. What are the grounds of such disposable knowledge so that it may be called knowledge in the first place? Is not the statement nothing more than nihilism when the if becomes when and do we not already act as if the if were when? Is not such action, in many cases, irrational?
6. “We are rarely completely certain, but we are frequently certain enough.” Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.
From where does the desire and need for “certainty” arise and at what type of knowledge is it directed? We need to go back to the 16th century to find some background; and then, we need to make a few observations of what, where and when “we are frequently certain enough”.
The desire for “certainty” arises from two main sources in Western historical and philosophical thinking: 1. the need to ground the mathematical project which was briefly discussed in title #5; and 2. the Christian dogma and doctrine prevalent before and during the 1600s that required the certainty and security of the individual’s salvation. How Protestant Christianity came to accept the account of Nature that was given in the new natural sciences resulted in that phenomenon that we call humanism where human beings are seen as the centre of the world that was seen as a created thing. The new sciences exalted “freedom” and it was in their freedom that human beings would find the certainty of their salvation.
The first thinker to address the problem of certainty in depth was the French philosopher Rene Descartes whose answers to the questions he posed resulted in the beginning of what is called modern philosophy. Descartes began by doubting everything. Descartes does not doubt because he is a skeptic; he doubts because he posits the mathematical project as the ground of all knowledge and seeks for a foundation that will be in agreement with it. This foundation turns out to be the reason expressed in the axioms and principles of mathematical calculation itself. Cogito ergo sum: “I think, therefore I am”. For Descartes, thinking and reason are the same and constitute the very being of a human being. The “I think” of Descartes becomes the ground upon which all certainty and truth becomes based. Descartes inverts the traditional subjectum or what the classical thinkers saw the things in the world to be (a subject with predicates: a book that is green, heavy, on the table, a new book, etc.) into a special subject and so arose the subject/object distinction of Cartesianism. Historically, we call this period The Age of Reason and from this age we proceed to The Age of Enlightenment. These Ages culminate in The Modern Age. In our Age, the only knowledge that deserves to be called knowledge is that achieved through algebraic or mathematical calculation.
In our common sense world of day-to-day activities, this reason also operates. When we deny the facts of reason and the reality that is revealed through the use of reason, we become less than what we truly are as human beings. The European Holocaust, the genocide conducted by the Khmer Rouge, and the endless list of many other human atrocities throughout history were first preceded by a loss of faith and trust in reason and the disappearance of the recognition of the otherness of human beings. As Plato showed, the disappearance of Otherness leads to political tyranny. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the best example we have of this in the English language.
As was mentioned, this title is really the same as title #5. When we cross San Francisco Bay, we cannot be certain that an earthquake of sufficient size to take down the bridge will not occur as we are doing so, yet we are certain enough that we proceed to do so. We all know that accidents can happen and we try to minimize our risks against them. If we are wise, we look both ways before we cross the street. We could not live if we did not do so. Those who are motivated to take risks usually do so because they find their lives too secure and boring to begin with and the element of risk makes them feel more alive. What is being said about human being here?
In reflecting on this question and referring it to the areas of knowledge, you should first discuss the type of knowledge that you are dealing with and the specific examples from the areas of knowledge that address the question.