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TOK Writing Assignment “When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails. ” (Abraham Maslow) How might this apply to ways of knowing, as tools, in the pursuit of knowledge? Ways of knowing embody memory, language, emotion, intuition, sense perception, reason, imagination, and faith, which take part in the process of acquiring knowledge. For instance, language can be considered as a means of exchanging the knowledge with each other and emotion is a way to express our personal feelings and convey the message to other people.
We are able to use hese ways of knowing as a tool to obtain knowledge, therefore understanding the world around us. Speaking of tool, the quote above might suggests that if we only have a hammer, thus it becomes the only way to solve all the problems, which means all the problems are naturally seemed as nails in our mind, even if they are essentially not. In this case, the hammer impacts the viewpoint towards all the problems. That being said, we are likely to determine the things around us, even the world, based on the tool we are holding.
This concept provides an idea that if ways of nowing is conceived as a tool, like a hammer, it will affect how we evaluate the problem first, consequently impacting the way we solve the problems and even shaping the way in which we think about the world around us. Sense perception, one way of knowing, is defined as a mechanism by how we obtain knowledge on stimulation of senses. In simple terms, we use senses to look and feel, in order to understand the world.

Seeing and hearing are two common materials contributing to sense perception, which play a significant role in impacting how we think about the world. An example of it happened to me, which made me strongly feel the power of sense perception on the view towards the world. Since now I am studying in Canada, a multi-culture country, my friends at school are from all over the world, who have different skin and hair color. It is easy to see people of different nationalities, while I am walking on the street.
In stark contrast, it is rare to find people with different hair color in the country where I come from, especially the time when my great grandmother grew up. By chance, I showed my great grandmother the photos of my riends here; she was totally shocked by all kinds of different hair color she saw. She sat stunned for a while and said, “Oh, how come they don’t have black hair! They look completely different from us. Unbelievable, can’t imagine, that’s not true… This is the first time, my great grandmother actually saw people in different hair color and she was shocked by that, even doubted herself at the first few seconds. It is because she thought that everyone in the world had black hair and yellow skin, more interestingly, she has never even thought about other countries in her realm of knowledge. However, for a ninety-eight-year-old person in China, what she saw every day were people with black hair and everything she heard was about the xanthoderm. It is not surprising that she naturally had this viewpoint of the world according to what she saw and heard.
This simple example demonstrates the idea that sense perception, as a way of knowing, has the ability to influence how we look the problem, in this case, the world, and then drawing a conclusion of the problem. Not only the sense perception as a way ot knowing can steer the pursuit ot knowledge, faith also shows its strong effect on it. With regard to faith, it reminds me of a poem I read in my English class. The poem “Limbo”, wrote by Seamus Heaney, portrays a depressive story that a Catholic mother attempted to kill her baby by putting him in the sea in 1970s.
The reason why she did that is because this is an illegitimate infant and she thinks it is the right thing to do based on her strong Catholic faith. In comparison to the Buddhism, they would never put it in the same way, because killing a baby regardless of if the baby is an illegitimate or not can be considered as a sin according to their faith. Catholicism and Buddhism both believe in different faith, which leads two completely opposite Judgments towards the same thing.
In other words, different faiths allow people to Judge differently as they look from the different angles towards one thing, in the second place, leading to make different decisions. Simply put, the concept that ways of knowing could shape the way we estimate problems and coming up with different ways to solve them is verified by this example. Nevertheless, there is a common counterclaim states that the way we solve a problem is based on the problem itself, furthermore how we look t the problems does not change the essential meaning or property of the problems.
Although it might be true, during the process of estimating a problem and solving it, we unconsciously interpret the problems in our own unique way. Hence when we convey those problems or ideas to other people by languages, what they acquire is the personal viewpoint towards those problems, not the problem itself, which means we indirectly change the property of the problems when we deliver them by using the tool we has. This implicates language, another way of knowing, is able to shape ow we look and interpret things around us.
As a foreign student, English is my second language which I am using as a tool to exchange ideas with other people now. I always find that it is really hard for me to translate Chinese directly into English, vice versa. It is because the way we compose a sentence, the structure of the sentence and the order of the sentence constituents are all different. For instance, when we describe an object, we chronically put all the adjectives in front of the object; however, English-speakers prefer to describe an object following with a subordinate lause, which means the important part of the object is actually appearing after it.
As I have been speaking mandarin for almost sixteen years, an entrenched idea exerts a great impact on me as I unconsciously value the things with the description in front of them more than those having the description after them at the time I see or hear them. Since I habitually pay more attention to that, I would somehow miss the part where my Canadian friends are trying to emphasize by using the way they describe a thing, which leads to misunderstandings or estimating things differently.
However, ccording to my situation now, living in an English-speaking country, I should drop my mandarin hammer and pick up the English hammer, in order to nail the right thing with the right tool. All in all, the idea that ways of knowing have the ability to impact how we formulate ideas, derive conclusions, and thus gaining knowledge has been demonstrated by exploring different ways of knowing such as sense perception, faith, and language. Throughout my essay, we are able to conclude we use different ways of knowing as tools to seek the treasure of knowledge and allowing these tools to decide what (1243) kind ot treasure we are going to tind

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