Sunday, October 01, 2006

Well, was I right?

I stumbled upon this on a teacher blog I read occasionally...


"There is a story of the new recruit at an engineering company, fresh out of college, who was given a circuit to analyze on his first day on the job. He worked on it for most of the day and then brought his solution to the manager who had assigned the task that morning. The recruit placed his solution on the desk and waited eagerly for a response. The manager looked at the paper and then filed it. The recruit lingered for awhile and then said, 'Well was I right?'

The manager was shocked. He asked, 'Why would I pay you to find answers that I already know?'”

Just thought you might enjoy this...
I'm sure many of you fall into a similar trap.

The question is...
Why, as students, is verification so often needed when searching for answers to the questions that you are challenged with?


Big E said...

Well, I suppose that has to do with what the commonly excepted definition of what a student is. A student is a person who has the primary position of acquiring knowledge. The teacher is, as such, the bestower of knowledge. As knowledge is a properly justified true belief, in order to gain knowledge we must seek authoritarian justification for our beliefs to be true..
Of course there are those of you who may point of that students are, in the Socratic sense of the word, far more than mere "aquirers of knowledge" Those people may point out that that students purpose is to more generally explore the world in which they live, and that it is their teachers job to facilitate just such by guiding them in the right direction. Regardless, I believe that generally speaking people have the inclination to want their beliefs to be true, and thus be knowledge . I cannot really back this up; it is a phsycology claim as it deals with human nature and I am not a phsycologist. In anycase, I believe this leads us to a new, slightly refined question:
Why is it that we feel the need to justify our beliefs as knowledge?

Vvyynn said...

Do I detect a challenge in my power of always being the first to comment? Well Big-E it on, E. Anyhoo, to answer your question, meaning the newly defined question for I believe E answered it well (Note: Not Big E, only E. Yes, what are you going to do now? E?).

I believe that we as TOK students feel that we need to justify our beliefs as knowledge in order to prove it to be knowledge. However TOK is not the world, thus let us examine why "us" as a people need to justify our beliefs. I think that we need to justify our beliefs to satisfy our egos. We want to know that we are the undistputed champions of truth, and that we are RIGHT. Why? Why do we feel that we must be right? Well, I believe that this is a concept that if imbedded into our skulls as westerners: The idea of "winning". It has always been told to us that if you win, you are good (after all, what Disney movie ends with Fluffy Bunny getting devoured by Grumpy Grizzly?), and conversely that winning is (more or less) EVERYTHING. Thus, to justify our beliefs as true, we are proving to ourselves that we are the "Good Guy", that we are the keepers of all that is true and good in the world. This therefore satisfies our egotistical purpose, and makes us feel good. When we feel good, we are more apt to be healthier, or what-not.

So, there's my answer. I don't feel like summing it up, but It was more or less a rant from a man who has onoly won one thing in his life.

devin said...

I agree with Vinny on the egotistical nature of our upbringings and how that plays into our seeking of truth, but I think there is another aspect that is more important in this case: the human race's insatiable urge to find order and useful meaning in what we perceive around us. We try to find uses for objects and ideas that come across our path, for if we cannot use them then we cannot have understood them. And our urge to understand our environment is what brought us up above the other species on this planet.

How does this relate? Well, if we come across an idea that we can relate to and we believe in, we want it to be true because if it isn't, then we have failed at our instinctive task of understanding. If we cannot prove that this idea or belief is true on our own, then it is only natural to seek outside aid to prove it true so that we may be subconsciously satisfied.
Like all psychological arguments, however, this is most assuredly not "truth" in itself, because we can't prove anything about ourselves as a species "true" due to our inherent bias towards ourselves. So another answer that would work just as well as the above in this case would be: "We seek to justify our beliefs as knowledge because we do"

Cian said...

Not to mention that as IB students we are conscious of our grades, and what heppens to them when we get something wrong.

Vvyynn said...

Happens, Cian. Happens.

No I am not a hypocrite.