Title 3 – TOK Essay May 2017 KQ 5 : To what extent the historical development in Science be judged by standards of different time?
The nature of ‘Evidence’ , both physical evidence and testimonies , has its influence on the story or the description of the historical event. Text evidence is produced intentionally and thus more susceptible to deceit, (mis)representation and sort of selectivity that is controlled by the writer. Material evidence is more candid and egalitarian in its presentation but requires more interpretation to elicit its meaning.
The facts of history do not exist for any historian till he creates them as there is a contrast between status and use of facts – facts as real situations (exist in the past)and facts as true descriptions of the real situations(exist in the present). In the inevitable act of interpretation , are the things discovered or invented ? If the facts are discovered , they serve as epistemic given and there can be a bottoms up approach for reconstruction and justification but if the facts are reconstructed , there is an unavoidable influence of current beliefs on new evidence suggesting a web like top down model.
The distance from the historical events and the time elapsed after the event allows more data to appear , more dispassionate , more disengaged perspective to arise , thus having a mixed epistemic effect . The further in time , hazier the view but more objective and less involved is the author and interpreter. The evaluation of historical evidence is complicated.