May 26, 2021
Question 26: Does our knowledge depend on our interactions with other knowers?
Object 1: The Trump’s tweet
This image is a tweet by former US President Donald Trump. In this tweet, Trump points out that mail voting can be fraudulent, and in fact, it was done in California. First of all, Trump’s tweets contained a lot of false information, and other politicians and experts demanded Twitter to fact check his tweets. However, some people believed Trump’s tweets to be true. In fact, when Trump tweeted that the presidential election was fraudulent and shouldn’t be forgiven, those who thought the tweet was true rioted in protest and even died. However, it is not clearly indicated whether there was any injustice.
From this example, Trump’s knowledge can be seen to influence the knowledge of others. We know that misinformation can be spread on social media, such as twitter. This is easily accessible to anyone who has access to the internet. At the time Trump tweeted this message, he had 88.7 million followers. Twitter marked this tweet with a warning, for his followers to fact check this information. Many of his followers decided to take actions based on his baseless tweets, which eventually led to 4 people dying (including 1 police officer) and 453 people being arrested.
Therefore, in social media, our knowledge sometimes depends on our interactions with other knowers. Even though most people did not believe what Trump said to be true, there was a small proportion of his followers who believed him enough to take action based on the trust and belief they had in him. Hence we can conclude, that in this case knowledge is based on our interactions with others.
Object 2: History Essay
This image is the history essay which is written by me. In this essay, I wrote about why Japan surrendered in WW2 in Japanese. I wrote that Japan surrendered because the US dropped an atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, when my history teacher returned it to me, she stated that the reason why Japan surrendered was actually because of Russia planning an invasion.
History is taught using books, stories and sources. The same story can be told in a different way from different scenarios. I have been taught this topic in history both in Japan and England. In Japan I was taught that the key reason why Japan surrendered was because Russia was planning an invasion, however in England I was taught that it was because of the atomic bombing.
This leads us to question which reasoning was actually more accurate. History can easily be rewritten using different textbooks, sources depending on the bias. Thus, even if we based our knowledge on the people who were physically present at the time of this event, we would be able to confirm the accuracy of this event as people are naturally biased and therefore history will be taught with a bias.
Object 3: Japanese Textbook
This image is the one of the analysis written by me about the story called Yamanashi by Kenji Miyazawa. This analysis is written using the template presented in a Japanese literature textbook for students year 8. In this analysis, I have described what the writer may have thought or felt as he wrote this. This analysis says the writer might feel sad or angry however, we could not know what the writer really thought and felt when he wrote it.
It depends on the other my knowledge and understanding of the story and who I empathise with the characters. As there is type of template to answer these questions in the text book and our analysis has a certain structure. We are forced to imagine what the author might be thinking here, even though we have never spoken or met the author.
Therefore, it can be seen that there are many interpretations of this, even though only the author knows what the author actually thought. This suggests that there may not be any correct knowledge there.
In conclusion, I think our knowledge depend on our interactions with other knowers.