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In What Ways May Models, Simplified Representations of Some Aspect of the World, Help or Hinder the Search for Knowledge?

Autor:   •  October 3, 2012  •  Essay  •  916 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,058 Views

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A model could refer to several things; in general, I believe it is a system which simplifies and organizes more complicated ideas and details. It's a basis for organization and helps to clarify and categorize everything. But are models helpful in our search for knowledge, or do they limit our scope of learning?

Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification; specifically alpha taxonomy refers to the classification of organisms. This helps because discoveries can now be organized and endangered animals can be kept track of. Many animals have become extinct in the past and in most cases, we have no knowledge of their habits and behaviors other than the word of mouth and unorganized notes from zoologists. There was no organized method of collecting information and sharing it between the scientific communities. This raises the question of the reliability of information we assemble from earlier periods; how do we prove that supposed facts gathered from the past are indeed true? If there was no real organized system, how can we be certain that there was any basis or truth behind what was recorded? However, now with a database, it's easier to keep track of and monitor other animals.

However, even with a classification system, there are bound to be some organisms that don't fit into the categories. When these are discovered, where do we put them? They are put into a group but in several cases, they may not necessarily fit. So can't it be argued that the system prevents us from perhaps creating a new group when necessary and confines us? It is possible that the newly discovered organism deserves a whole category of its own, but because of the model that has been set, we are hindering the prospect of gaining new knowledge.

Language is a model that simplifies communication in the world; it is a system words, signals and gestures to convey a thought. Language has unified the human race and created a means of communication between people. However, it can be argued that the language of English, for example, does hinder our ability to convey our opinions. Personally, I have felt myself say several times in the past that ‘I can't find the words for it'. So to what extent can it be said the creation of words to converse is a hindrance to expressing our notions? But isn't it also helpful to a large extent as it creates a basis of at least some form of communication? Also, research suggests that more than 70% of communication is non-verbal, or body language, according to BBC. So the generally accepted system or model of communication aids our ability to correspond with each other. However, there is always a barrier when it comes to translating between languages. Being a multilingual myself, I know that a phrase or expression in Hindi for example, may not exist in English. This makes it difficult sometimes to effectively convey what I am saying. This brings


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