Welcome!

Hello!

My name is Sabrina and this is my learning journey. I have been keeping this blog and documenting reflections as well as responses throughout my high school experience on this blog. Feel free to scroll down and take a look.

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Implications on Accepting Perspectives on Religon

The first perspective is by Harris in 2004. Harris explains that religion is old and not applicable to the 21st century. Since the Bible does not encompass new technologies, it is also not applicable. This claim is fairly narrow minded i that it focuses on Christianity, rather than all religions.

Implications:

  • Sources that are old and not like current times are not valuable. Since Harris believes that the Bible cannot be used to base a religion on because it was created in a time different from the 21st century, agreeing with this also agrees with the fact that any source that is from a time different from the present is not valuable.
  • Accepting the above claim also raises questions about the value of History as an AoK. We may not need knowledge in History is it is not valuable.
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My Definition of Religion

Religion is:

  • a study of why are we here and what should we do while we are here
  • a study of how we should be in relation to others
  • a framework to live life better than we would otherwise
  • a structure that is the root for beliefs and values
  • helps to determine opinions towards AoKs (eg. whether or not you believe in evolution)
  • a belief that safety is in numbers as it allows strengthening and unifying of one’s opinions
  • a simple yet complex faith
  • a well informed, test faith

Some may say that all religions have to have a god, however, this would mean that Buddhism does not constitute as a religion.

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“The value of knowledge is lost when the lines between fact and fiction are blurred.”

I think the quote states that it is important to acknowledge what type of knowledge (fact or fiction) the claim is, similar to acknowledging bias. However, if it is difficult to judge whether or not it is fact or fiction, then the value of the source is lost.

Does the value of knowledge change between AoK’s? , When is the line between fact and fiction blurred? , When is it not blurred? , Does the quote prefer fact? or fiction?

I agree that the value of knowledge changes between AoK’s, because each AoK serves a different purpose. The Arts are effective in creating a different thought process and stimulating thinking, whereas the Natural Sciences help to describe the realities of the world. They help people to come to different realisations about knowledge.

Imagination contributes to the blurring of the line between fact and fiction. This is because the imaginer often bases their imagination of facts to create fiction. Although this may help to increase the amount of information, according to the assumptions of the quote, it will lead to decreased value of the knowledge.

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‘Problems’ of Knowledge Faced by Historians

While there are a myriad of problems faced by Historians, knowledge can still be produced.

I agree that when Historians study historical knowledge, they will encounter a range of problems. These could include being exposed to contrasting opinions and having to decide which is correct, dealing with exaggeration due to people retelling events with emotion, lack of sources, too many sources, dealing with the popular belief and dealing with their own western perspective. To determine the validity of these claims, I believe it is important to consider a range of characteristics, including: how specific it is, how objective it is and whether or not it is time bound. This will help the Historian to identify whether the source is valuable or not.

To neutralize or mitigate these threats to knowledge, the historian can consider a range of sources and avoid assumptions. Most importantly, I feel that a historian should identify the nature of the knowledge claim when they extract knowledge from a source, this way, when they publish their research, readers will be aware of the potential biases. For example, if the historical knowledge was extracted from a judgement statement, then the reader will then be able to take the information with a grain of salt.

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Reasons to Study History

Below are reasons why it is important to study History in the order of most compelling to least compelling:

1) Paul Russell believes that cultures in the present are heavily influenced by historical events. As a result, studying history allows humans to understand the origins of current traditions within society. He makes this claim based on observations of Britain and WWI.

The point that Russell makes is the most compelling to me. I agree with him that present-day occurrences and activities in society are heavily influenced by our past and in order to understand this, we need to understand the past. I think this is the most important reason as to why we should study History. It allows us to understand the circumstances under which our society  has shaped and provides context as to why we do the things that we do.

2) R G Collingwood, a historian and philosopher, believes that history is valuable on an individual level. It can be used to teach individuals about their personality, how that is unique and their human nature. History is the best way to do so as the only way to know one can do something is if they try, therefore, we must look at what one has done to see what they can do.

3) Austin Thierry, a French historian believes that the study of history can contribute to selflessness and steadfastness which in turn would put our modern day troubles and concerns into perspective. As a result, society may be provided with a sense of ‘security’, ‘confidence’ and positivity in humanity as a result of understanding our achievements.

4) Understanding history allows humans to invalidate assumptions of the present and put present-day society into perspective. In early modern England, the average marriage lasted between 17 to 20 years and ended in most cases due to high death rates in youth. This could be used to explain the cause of high divorce rates now, where modern divorce acts as a substitute for death.

5) History enables the understanding of a society’s roots, which in turn provides self knowledge.

6) Carl Gustavson believes that the study of history can be used to look into the future of mankind.

7) The historian G R Elton believes that the purpose of studying history is as a mean of intellectual training with which to improve our rational skills along the search for truth.

 I agree with Gustavson that there historical events, such as wars, have repeated in the past. However, I do not think that history is recorded in a detailed and scientific enough way to produce reliable predictions of the future. In addition, many variables influence the occurence of an event, because history does not take a scientific account in controlling variables and testing different trials to prove a hypothesis, history is not a reliable source for predicting the future.

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History – “Historical accounts are always incomplete”

Claim: “Historical accounts are always incomplete”

Argument in Support: History is unable to account for the whole  past (as in everything that has occurred before this second). History is also built from the perspectives of multiple historians rather than one narrative, as a result, some details may not be included in the descriptions.

Opposing Argument: If there is only one stakeholder in the event, it is difficult to know whether or not the historical account is complete or incomplete and in that case, it is complete until proven incomplete.

Implications of Accepting this Claim: This implies the mindset that there is always an element of unknown or that something is missing. The diction of incomplete also holds a negative connotation as if there is a need to know the complete historical event. Some may also say this decreases the value of studying history as we are unable to study the whole event.

 

 

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Reflections on the TOK Essay

Today in class we went through some exemplar TOK essays, below are 5 things that I have observed regarding how to be successful when writing the essay.

  1. try to use unique examples, or discuss personal examples, then connect it to the bigger picture
  2. when using examples, it is important not to describe but rather, annotate
  3. make sure to define all vocabulary in the question
  4. counterpoints need to be fully explained and argued
  5. refer to multiple AoKs and WoKs
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Is Art a catalyst for change?

In The Observer’s Sunday May 8th 2005 newspaper, Kwame Kwai-Armah expressed her opinion towards the arts as “Art is one of the greatest catalysts for debate, and debate is the greatest catalyst of change”. 

I believe that through this quote, Kwame Kwai-Armah wanted to relate Art to social movements and how they help to make change. However, I disagree with this. I agree that Art can be used to spike a social movement and may lead to increased awareness towards the issue, however, I feel that it is ineffective at creating change.

Although writing a song or vandalizing a wall with graffiti can help to expose a social issue, it is unlikely that this will catch the attention of the government and even more improbable that the government will want to change their ways solely because of these artworks. An example of this can be found in the disputes between Russia and Ukraine. The Artists Support Ukraine initiative aims to raise awareness about the Euromaidan protests in Kiev through artwork. They want to stand up against advances from the Russian government. A piece of the artwork is by Eric Michael and is attached below.

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Even with all this artwork that is being produced, I feel that art causes people to feel emotion, however it is not powerful enough or persuasive enough to change the main power holders. Since those people already hold immense power in comparison to the artists, it is easy for them to block the art out and focus on their own goals.

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Bali CAS Trip Reflection

For this year’s CAS week trip, I chose to do something unique and out of my comfort zone. I went to the rural areas of North-West Bali to teach young balinese students english. Before this trip, I had never done any teaching and was not sure about whether or not I like interacting with kids.

Below are some photos of me (in the orange shirt) playing with and leading games during recess time at the school.

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