My Theory of Knowledge External Assessment written in Spring of 2013.

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My Theory of Knowledge External Assessment written in Spring of 2013.

Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

Als PDF, TXT **herunterladen** oder online auf Scribd lesen

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However, intuition may be another valid justification for a belief apart from the traditional four ways of knowing. Considering this, we can ask what is the role of intuition in fields primarily associated with reason such as mathematics and the natural sciences? It could be claimed that intuition is not a way of knowing because it alone cannot help someone obtain knowledge. It is true intuition alone is often faulty, but every other way of knowing carries its own faults alone. Reason has Zeno's Paradox, in which objects cannot move because in order to move they would first need to move half that distance, and before that, a quarter, and so on. Senses can be fooled by illusions. Language results in excessive dependence upon received wisdom, such as Francis Bacon's story of the academicians debating the number of teeth a horse possessed and then announcing it as a mystery owing to a dearth of historical and theological evidence rather than actually finding a horse and counting its teeth. Finally, emotions can be clouded by arguments designed to appeal to them. But intuition can be used as a stepping stone for investigation into a knowledge issue using the other ways of knowing. For example, scientists will formulate a hypothesis before conducting an experiment. Informally, the hypothesis is regarded as an educated guess; there is the assumption of reason. But pure reason will not result in the hypothesis. A scientist using pure reason will spend all her time contemplating what could happen and never obtain any results; so she will consider the possibilities and choose whichever seems likeliest, a task firmly rooted in intuition. After the collection of data, she may try to find a function that relates the variables tested. For instance, when I have conducted scientific experiments, I examine the shape of the curve and consider common functions that could cause the shape. I employ my intuition to consider likely candidates. No function will fit perfectly, of course, so the experimenter must instead consider the closest match. In one experiment relating the terminal velocity of some coffee filters and their mass, I received data that was close to a square-root fit. Upon statistical analysis, the square-root fit was the best fit.

In mathematics, intuition is a way of seeing patterns. Consider the series: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13... The brain will attempt to find the pattern through guessing and checking. Intuition will find likely candidates for the pattern, while reason will allow a candidate to be checked to see if it matches. Eventually, the pattern of the next term equals the two preceding terms added together will be discovered, and then checked and confirmed to be true. Sometimes, a pattern is found for some kind of mathematical phenomenon that matches up to all checked cases, but not proven to be true for every case. For centuries, the equation an + bn = cn was suspected to have no whole-number solutions when n was greater than two, and it was true for every case tested, but not proven until about twenty years ago. In this case, mathematicians used intuition in order to create a conjecture, the mathematical equivalent of a hypothesis. Sometimes conjectures are proven right, sometimes wrong, but they are always based on a mathematician's intuition. In this way, mathematicians may not determine what is true, but do determine something worthy of further investigation. Intuition is also used in the process of integration in mathematics. Integration finds the area under a curve, which is useful in fields such as physics, since you can find the change in a variable (for example, displacement) by integrating the rate of change of that quantity (velocity). Oftentimes a solution in the form of an explicit function is desired (as opposed to a numerical solution with just numbers as output), although it is not always simple and sometimes even possible. To find an integral of a function, one must employ several techniques to change that function into one or more simpler functions for which the integral is known. Which technique to use and how to apply it depends on the judgment of the person attempting to find the integral. Then, consider the quite mathematical game of Go. Two players place stones on a 19x19 board (novices usually play on 9x9 or 13x13 portions of the board) attempting to enclose as much area as possible. Stones or formations formed by stones are captured when completely surrounded by enemy stones. These form the crux of the game, but there are many less important rules, such as a point bonus

to the second player, for his/her disadvantage (a handicap), and a rule prohibiting the two players from repeating the same moves over and over again in an indefinite loop. At first glance, this game appears to be entirely centered around reason and logic. The entire game is just a massive mathematical problem (albeit, one with more possibilities than there are atoms in the universe; one of the most attractive parts of the game is the complexity which arises from the simple rules). And by this logic, computers should easily win at Go. But this simply does not hold true. Currently, the world's best computer Go player, Zen19D has a skill level of 6 dan, a very strong rank, but nonetheless the level of a very strong amateur. Most of Zen19D's predecessors required several stones of handicaps in order to win against decent players, such as one match between a computer against a 5 dan player with a 7-piece handicap in 2010. Consider the difference between this and chess, which already has artificial intelligence that can always end the game in at least a tie. An approach to the game based on pure reason considering every possibility could hypothetically win every time, but the computing power required would be enormous. Humans cannot use pure reason to effectively play Go; we need to rely upon something else. Computers employ a method known as the Monte Carlo method. The Monte Carlo method will take random samples of possible end games from a single move, for every possible move, and the computer then chooses the move with the highest probability of a win. In contrast, human players will use intuition, instinct, and general strategy instead. Humans choose moves through experience and intuition, but the computer will pick the most likely winning piece from an algorithm. Furthermore, this algorithm likely fails heavily if the board is increased by so much as another row and column, as the number of possible games increases. As the size of the board increases, the computing power necessary climbs up exponentially, but humans can make strategy changes without requiring as much. From a practical perspective, obviously I, as a Go player, can't determine the best strategy from examining thousands of random simulations, so I instead come up with a close approximation. I can't say why I make any of the moves I do, or prove it with pure logic, reason, or mathematics; the feeling comes from within with absolutely

no explicable reason. The moves just make sense. Intuition effectively substitutes for reason, then, in Go. If we accept intuition as a way of knowing, we open the door for further questions. How reliable is intuition compared to the other ways of knowing? On its own, it obviously does not fare well, though none of the other ways of knowing fare well alone, either. But can intuition alone act as justification on its own? Perhaps, but perhaps it depends on the consequences of actions based on it and the viability of employing the other ways of knowing. And how does intuition factor into the other areas of knowledge? Though intuition has its flaws, it is a vital process in obtaining knowledge. In fields such as mathematics and the natural sciences, intuition is vital to their complete understanding. Only by employing intuition in combination with our other ways of knowing can we effectively operate.

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