Adrian’s Healthy Habits

Fitness

Take part in a physical activity 3 times a week.

Food

Include at least 2 servings of green vegetables per day into your diet.

Drink 1-2 litres of water everyday

Sleep

Read a hard copy of a book/magazine 30-60min before bed.

Welcome to your iFolio

Your iFolio is a school provided web space that you will use throughout your time at CDNIS. You will use your iFolio to define your learning goals, show your learning journey, reflect on your learning and how you have developed your Approaches to Learning skills, share your best work and celebrate your achievements.

Your iFolio, in time will provide a better picture of who you are as a learner and as an individual. You are therefore highly encouraged to personalize your iFolio. You can start off by selecting one of the 60+ themes available.

Before you start using your new iFolio, follow the steps below to change the ‘Home’ link within your navigation menu to point to your site:

1. Go to your Dashboard menu options (link will open in a new tab)

2. Expand the ‘Home’ menu item by clicking on the downward facing arrow

Home Menu

Change Home Menu Attribute

3. Append the URL to read http://sites.cdnis.edu.hk/students/your_student_number, where your student number is in the form of six digits e.g. 012345 (you can find your student number on your library card)

Home URL

Home URL Link

A final note, please bear in mind that your iFolio is a publicly accessible space, and ensure that the content you post and the language you use is appropriate.

Feel free to delete this post from your Dashboard once you have finished reading it!

Featured image used in this post by Nathan via Flickr Creative Commons

The Truth in Art

Essay #1: Art vs Science

The essay mainly describes how like science, art is also able to convey information about the human experience to the audience. This is because there are simply some things that cannot be expressed in a mathematical equation or a scientific hypothesis, but are better off expressed in some kind of art form.  For example the effects that the Vietnam war had on the Vietnamese people. While a historically objective recount of the events of the Vietnam war and it’s effects could provide us with a picture of the war, an image similar to that of Nick Ut’s image of naked children running away from a napalm attack crying provides us with a much better idea of the horrors that the Vietnamese had to endure throughout the Vietnam War.

Image result for vietnam war images

Essay #2: Art and Truth

In this essay, we look at the relationship between the truth and works of art. In the most obvious case, factually true statements can give us correct information about things like historical settings. Many people think that another example of truth in art can be found in photographs, since you cannot fake anything in a raw-unedited photograph. However if a set of pictures is published showing only part of the story. For example in a violent protest, the photographer can either focus on the violent demonstrators or the harsh police. Furthermore wouldn’t the photograph’s caption also tell a story? Leading us to ask, was the story every really ‘true’ in the first place? Overall I believe the essay is trying to say that truth and knowledge do not necessarily need to be outright labelled, in order to prove that they are present in the arts.

After Reading the Related TOK Chapter

The content of the 2 essays that I read reflect the content of the TOK chapter, because both talk about how there are multiple ways of defining truth in art and how truth in art is different from truth in science. It also reflects how both essays suggest that the knowledge in art is inherently for an aesthetic, emotional, moral or other intellectual purpose. The chapter also reflects how in both essays, the knowledge gained from the arts is purely subjective. The knowledge that one person gained from one piece of art, may be different then the knowledge that another person gained from the same piece of art.

What is Art?

Claim: There is no real purpose for the arts.

After reading this link on whether knowledge can be found in works of art, I believe that art does have a purpose in our lives in more ways than one. In the article, it says that art helps to give us conceptual knowledge of our own concepts (ie personal feelings, mental states, etc.), moral knowledge and knowledge of alternate possibilities. Art can help to transfer a great deal more information than we care to give it credit for, because it also helps to deepen and enhance our aesthetic experience of the world. A debatable topic that could take up hundreds of words and is full of complex analogies, can easily be answered in a piece of visual art.

Another purpose for art is to entertain, and this purpose is especially prominent in art forms like film, tv, dance, etc. While entertaining they can also broaden our perspectives and our knowledge, exactly like how the article describes. Take the popular anime series Steins; Gate for example. It serves it’s purpose to both entertain the audience, and to open their minds to the possibility of time travel and it’s effects and/or consequences.

However one could claim that art has no real purpose if the audience cannot interpret the art piece. In everyone’s lifetime, everyone has probably seen at least one art piece that they look at and have absolutely no reaction to. Take the famous painting the Mona Lisa for example. Unless you were a professional artist/ art critic, or have extensive knowledge regarding the arts. Most people would probably just look at the painting and not feel anything except maybe disappointed and underwhelmed.

As a result, I believe that art does have a purpose in our everyday lives. However this purpose is only ever truly realised if the audience is able to understand and interpret the art piece themselves, if they can not, then the art piece loses value and simply becomes in all intents and purposes simply something that takes up space.

Competing Theories in Natural Science

In TOK we discussed the claim: “With claims in science, there is always a trade-off between accuracy and simplicity.”. Personally, I agree that the more simplistic something is in science, the less accurate it will be. For example if I simply describe my apartment to be 1135 square feet, than you do not gain any accurate image of what my apartment looks like other than it’s dimensions. However if I said that my apartment has 3 bedrooms, a bathroom between two of them, a kitchen, a living room with all sorts of furniture, then you will have a more accurate image of what my apartment looks like.

Another simple but real and applicable example is induction in science. If we test for whether metals will expand when heated, and we test, and see that Metal A, Metal B and Metal C all expand when heated. We usually then conclude that since metals A,B and C all expand when heated, that all metals will expand when heated. The only problem with this is that we do not know this to be a universal fact, because we actually have not observed that all metals will expand when heated. Therefore while our conclusion that all metals will expand when heated is simple, it is not 100% accurate since we have not tested whether all metals will expand when heated. 

This is a good example of “Occam’s Razor”, which is a problem solving principle that states when there are competing theories, the one with fewer assumptions is the best. “Occam’s Razor” also shows the preference for simplicity in the scientific method

However the trade-off between accuracy and simplicity may not always happen. For example we take Newton’s second law (F=ma), where mass and acceleration is constant. It is both simplistic to use and accurate in finding the force of something if you know it’s mass and acceleration and that these stay constant.

Facts and Theories in Natural Science

Claim: Science is objective and descriptive, while the arts are creative and interpretive.

In my personal opinion, I believe that the above claim about the arts being creative and interpretive is pretty spot-on. The entire goal of the arts is to allow individuals or groups to express their ideas creatively, even though some other people may misinterpret the artists intentions. A good example of this is the Mona Lisa, a famous piece of art created by Leonardo da Vinci where the purpose of some of the paintings aspects are a mystery and up for interpretation.

However the claim about science being objective and descriptive may not necessarily be true in all instances. In our TOK class, we participated in a activity where we were aspiring “archaeologists digging up a new fossil”. When piecing together the bones of the unknown creature, we called upon prior knowledge of animal fossils, we looked at other groups arrangements of the bones and discussed with them about possibilities regarding the creatures identity and we searched through a booklet of other animal bones in order to find similarities to help us identify the creature. However this is not objective science because throughout the process, we were hindering the production of knowledge through our own personal confirmation bias. None of us knew whether our fossil was a previously undiscovered species or not, but we did not consider it in our investigation and thus was blinded to the possibility. This may also be done with professionals in the actual field, who because of confirmation bias may arrange the bones so that they fit the description of the bones of previously discovered species instead.

In conclusion, art and science are not that different in this aspect. Both may require the artist or scientist to draw upon past experiences, past knowledge or pre-established knowledge in order to fill in the uncertainties that they face in their respective fields.

Pseudoscience

In all honesty I believe that the distinction between what is/is not art and the distinction between what is science and what is pseudoscience are two different things. This is because art as a subject is all about showing ones perspective and ideas  and is suppose to spark debate between two or more points of view. In conclusion, saying that the distinction of what is art and what is not art is not always very clear is accurate. However could the same be said about science and pseudoscience?

Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs or practises that are claimed to be factual or based on the scientific method, but are actually not based on any hard evidence and not constrained by appropriate scientific methods. However the distinction between pseudoscience and real science is different to find since it is littered with definitional disagreements and the categories are too broad and fuzzy to solidly determine what is pseudoscience or not. In science we have the scientific method where we observe things in the natural world and then find further evidence to support our observations, in order to eventually create a general theory or formula. A famous example of this is Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution where he observed the differences in different species of finches, then collected more evidence which eventually led to his theory. Pseudoscience is notorious for doing the opposite of the scientific theory, where it starts by having a general theory and then starts finding evidence of that, and sometimes refuting contradictory evidence. An example of this is astrology (not to be confused with astronomy), where people are designated to be of a certain zodiac and will thus display certain traits. For example a person born from April 20 – May 20 is a Taurus and will thus display the things that a Taurus likes and dislikes. However the problem with disproving that there is no grounds for making such a claim is that it is technically true in a way. You cannot prove that no Taurus does not display the traits that a Taurus is “supposed” to have, because the strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes of a Taurus or of any horoscope is simply too general to not apply to a wide range of people. As a result, people who believe in the horoscope can say that based on this method, the horoscopes are real.

Natural Science

After learning about the Natural Sciences in TOK and after watching a very interesting and educational TED Talk video,  I have relearned why the common people should trust the evidence provided by Natural Science (unlike what some people nowadays may think) and also learned about what Natural Science is and what it is not. FYI when I talk about natural sciences, I am referring to the sciences that deal with the natural world like biology, chemistry and physics. Basically what natural science is, is the science of the tangible and observable world, so even things like gravity which is observable is included in the natural sciences.

Compared with other Areas of Knowledge (AOKs), natural science is different, because it is the only AOK that requires it’s knowledge to be deemed plausible by an external group of well-versed scientists and has it’s knowledge built upon the progress and works of previous scientists. In AOKs like the arts, ethics and possibly human sciences, knowledge and the evidence of it does not have to be put under the scrutiny of an external party of other people who are also well-versed in that AOK. In mathematics and history the knowledge that is accepted is either not very flexible or is not the product of the work of the people who researched the topic beforehand.

However, this is not to say that the natural sciences is a full-proof method to understand the universe in all of it’s wonders and mysteries. This is because in natural science, scientists have to make a lot of assumptions when creating their “rules”, formulas and theories. Furthermore scientists also try to adjust their theories and formulas to fit the general pattern, and they do not know for certain whether these general patterns that they observe are applicable to all corners of the universe. On the other hand, this is the best method that we humans have right now to help us make sense of some of the great unknown.

Faith and Intuition

As WOK’s, Faith and Intuition are similar in some aspects and different in others. Knowledge that is derived from faith is often simply widely accepted without need for any prior knowledge or reasonable deduction, whereas knowledge derived from intuition is often based on past experience or a “sixth sense”. Both of these WOK’s have the capacity to be useful and problematic to people when it comes to knowledge.

Knowledge that is derived from faith can provide people with an answer to commonly unanswerable questions such as “Why are we here?”. The answers to these questions provide society with moral guidelines and provide people with a sense of purpose and clarity. However faith can also be problematic, because there is no real proof that the knowledge derived from faith is accurate. For example most religions believe that there is a higher being, whether it be god, jesus, allah or some other higher being. However there is no real proof that these beings exist, which does suggests that the existence of these higher beings may simply be something the human mind made to cope with the vast unknowns of the universe.

Knowledge that is derived from intuition can be justified because in some cases, it allows people to be somewhat of a harbinger in that it can allow people to foretell what is to come. This is useful because it allows people to be ready in a moments notice, without an immediate need to be. For example if you see a glass teetering at the edge of the table and you see someone nearby who is unaware of the glass and whose elbow is almost touching the glass, then you intuitively know that the person will knock the glass off the table and send it crashing down to the ground. The observer to then position himself in a way to catch the glass if it falls, or to move the glass to a safer position beforehand. However knowledge garnered by intuition is also a gamble in a way, because it is not always 100% accurate. Take the above example for instance, there is only a possibility that the person will knock over the glass. It is just that there is a high probability based on the observers past experiences and prior knowledge, that he has come to the conclusion that the person will knock over the glass.

Memory and Imagination

Claim: Despite the imperfections of imagination and memory as ways of knowing, the Areas of Knowledge have developed in such as way as to overcome them. Discuss this claim with reference to at least two AOKs.

 

Basing knowledge solely on imagination and memory is not societies ideal way of getting knowledge, because there are many problems that come with using imagination and memory to attain knowledge. For example when trying to build a case in court, sometimes lawyers utilise eye witness testimonies to make their points. However this is not the ideal since people’s memories are not always precise and there are bound to be limitations to what the human mind can accurately recollect, meaning that eye-witness testimonies are always subject to bias which affects the reliability of the knowledge derived from memory. Furthermore knowledge gained from imagination is, in a way, a kind of extrapolation of all your prior knowledge to create new knowledge. While this may be useful in some areas, it is still just an extrapolation and therefore it does not take into account other external factors that may affect the results.

However there are AOKs that have developed ways to overcome the limitations of imagination and memory, and these AOKs are history and the natural sciences. This is because even though new knowledge is initially conceptualised through memory and imagination, it is ultimately backed up by further evidence of the initial concept. In history we do not know for 100% what something from the past looks like, and therefore we must use our imagination or memory to visualise it. However we are also able to use external facts and evidence to corroborate the knowledge that we derive from our imagination and memory, in order to ensure that the knowledge we are attaining is more accurate. Similarly with the natural sciences, if a scientist has a theory about something that is based on his/her imagination of something, then the theory will require physical evidence in order to be generally accepted by the general public.

Language as a Source of Knowledge

Question: “The vagueness and ambiguity of language always limits the production of knowledge”.

Language is a method of communication between humans that is either written or spoken, and consists of the use of words in a generally accepted structure and convention. Humans constantly uses language to express themselves and their ideas to others, and thus spread their knowledge throughout the global/local community. However there are some drawbacks when one must be careful of when trying to transmit knowledge through language, because not only are some concepts hard to express in language, but the interpretation of language very fluid at times. What this means is that because of people’s different life experiences and what they already know, different people’s interpretation of language can differ from person to person making it hard to find a common base in language to communicate your specific and intended message clearly.

Religion is an Area of Knowledge (AOK) that shows how the ambiguity and vagueness of language can sometimes lead to people having different religious ideals. This can be seen through how christians, muslims and others treat people and situations differently. For example, a verse in the Bible states that “Vengeance is Mine”. Many people interpret this verse as saying that if someone wrongs you, than you have the right to exact vengeance upon the wrongdoer. However what this verse really means is that if someone does you wrong, god will be the one who will provide justice, kind of like karma. As a result many devote Christians may misinterpret this verse and use it as an excuse to exact revenge upon someone, and not allow god to pass judgement upon the individual himself. Therefore, the vagueness of this Bible verse may impede the progress of knowledge by creating individuals who do not think about why they were rejected or wronged, and simply think they are right and deserve vengeance on those who rejected/wronged them without thinking about the circumstances from an outside point of view. In addition, the vast majority of muslims believe that the word jihad symbolises their internal struggles to live a life that abides by the moral codes of the Koran. However some muslims believe that jihad represents an external struggle against those who would threaten the faith or the faithful, sometimes by using arms. As a result of the vagueness of the term jihad, some people have taken it up as an excuse to wage a global war of terror against western society. Therefore the misinterpretation of jihad impedes the religious knowledge of many muslims, because nowadays people relate jihad to islamic terrorists and not it’s true meaning of spiritual struggle.

However the ambiguity and vagueness of language does not always impede the production of knowledge, and this can be seen in the arts. In fact, I believe that the fact that the ambiguity and vagueness of language in the arts is what allows this AOK to be so diverse, impactful and eye-opening. For example, scripts done by playwrights may contain language that is really vague. However this allows for many different interpretations of certain scenes, which allows different directors to convey different meanings to the audience. Thus allowing the audience to gain more insight into different situations, and thus increase their understanding of the different scenarios and reasons for these scenarios. Therefore I believe that vagueness and ambiguity does not always limit the production of knowledge.

Further Questions: (The ones crossed out are answered in above)

  • Do vagueness and ambiguity always limit the production of knowledge
  • Does any kind of knowledge benefit from vagueness and ambiguity of language
  • Is all language vague and ambiguous
  • What is language
  • What limits language
  • What is role of language in producing knowledge
  • Does knowledge require language to be made?

Reason

Claim: Pure logic is only concerned with the structure of arguments. The validity of an argument is independent of the truth or falsity of its premises.

In response to the claim above, I would agree that pure logic is only concerned with the structure of arguments. This is because when making a deductive argument, ones premise can be truth or false and their argument would still be valid. This is because the validity of an argument is only based off of whether the premises are structured in a way that is logical and makes sense. For example if I have two premises, one of which being that martians have green skin and the other being that some tree frogs have green skin, then using logic, I can argue that some tree frogs are martians. While we know that the argument is false, the premise of some tree frogs having green skin is true however the other premise is actually an unknown since we do not know what martians look like. Despite having only one true and concrete premise, the argument can still be considered valid since we logically took in the information of the premises and came to a conclusion. Therefore the validity of an argument is independent of the truth or falsity of its premises.

This type of logic is especially prevalent in science, where scientists start of with a general argument and then through creating/testing premises come to a concrete conclusion.

1 2 3 20
Skip to toolbar