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My name is Aaron Au and I’m a student at Canadian International School of Hong Kong. This blog contains everything that I’ve done both inside and outside of school that I believe is important to share and impactful towards the community. Feel free to take a look. Thanks!

Human Sciences: The Nature of Knowledge

What problems confront social scientists when trying to explain/interpret their data?

There are so many factors that can contribute to an effect that it is incredibly difficult to pinpoint on the main impact. For social scientists, this may be difficult as there will be a variety of answers as to what ‘they personally’ believe is right. Furthermore, a lot of these judgments are based purely on data of the specific reason and overlooking other possible factors. In addition, when they are fighting for what they believe is right, there is a certain extent in their argument that it is biased.

What do the various explanations for the decrease in crime rate suggest about the nature of / difficulties with explanations in the human sciences?

That it is incredibly difficult to determine what is the one clear/true answer for the trends. Every reason can technically be supported as long as some sort of evidence is used to communicate it.

What strengths might story like knowledge have over map-like knowledge?

Story-like knowledge is more open to interpretation from various answers rather than map-like knowledge as it is usually concrete. For large trends, this may be better because it considers all the factors that contribute to how or why something happens rather than just one reason used to justify it all.

Mathematics and Systems

How may the math nomenclature (system) that you use affect your understanding of Maths?

It depends on one person’s understanding of how to use and apply the system. For example, when solving problems there may be multiple methods of finding the solution, however, what works best for the person is subjective. Even though the Hindu-Arabic system (modern) may be disliked by some, it is the most common therefore most reviewed which can be a variable in making one’s understanding of maths much more solid. But again, it just takes practice and one can become excel at maths whether they use a system that they prefer or not. The only difference that could be affected is how quickly they do it.

Math #1

Explain what is a Mathematical Axiom?

By definition, an axiom is a statement that is regarded to be self-evidently true without the need to be supported by evidence. In mathematics, axioms are essentially the foundations for all ideas and theories. For example, in the increase of numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5…), there is always an increase of 1.

What is a Mathematical Proof?

It is a convincing demonstration used to support an argument, provided by evidence acquired within mathematics.

Arts #2 (TOK)

What is the methodology behind the lightsaber as a piece of Art?

 

Artistic creation as a result of knowledge requiring imagination and creativity

 

often using reason to create imagination and creativity

  • but lucas wanted it to be futuristic so he added the light and reflecting tape.
  • plus the extra weight to make it look legit

Emotional interaction with an audience

  • symbol for life (not originally used as a weapon)

Relationship between art and technology

  • digital technology improving during the 70s-80s.

WOK – The Arts

Self-definition of the Arts

  1. Branches including various areas that are revolved around the ideas of creativity. It can be applied to many contexts but more commonly, visual or social arts including music, painting, theatre, language, literature, etc.
  2. Art is a grouping of topics that use various forms to express ideas and thoughts. Due to its nature of subjectivity, it could be argued that anything is art. Though there doesn’t necessarily need to have a meaning behind the work, as long as it uses human creativity to some extent it is art.

 

Film / TOK (HL Session #1)

Claim: If a piece of work is not beautiful, or provide a positive aesthetic experience, it is not art.

Explain what the claim means

  • The claim is saying that in order for a piece of work to be considered as art, it must first fulfil the requirements of ‘beautiful and aesthetic’. Vice versa, if the piece of work doesn’t provide those who look at it with a positive idea or experience, than opposed to art, it may be called something else.

Articulate arguments supported with evidence and examples in support of the claim

  • Lots of famous art galleries contain paintings that are not contemporary. This is because a majority of people prefer to believe that art has intentionally deep meaning behind it, the work rather than made randomly or being incredibly abstract.

Consider any real-world implications for accepting the claim ‘as it is’

  • The problem with this claim is that there is no set idea of beauty as it is a subjective idea that we as individuals interpret differently. Therefore the claim that something is art would be meaningless since everyone would have their own belief of what is art and what is not.  

Articulate counterarguments supported evidence and examples against the claim

  • Art is defined as the expression of creativity and imagination. This means that anything that is regarded to be within this boundary which technically has no limit, can be considered as art.Therefore it does not mean the piece of work has to be aesthetic, beautiful, or convey a positive experience to be considered as art.

With respect to the arguments and counterarguments, outline your own position that provides a sense of ‘moving forward’ or ‘coming to terms’ with the arguments.

  • Art should be seen and understood from a wider and more open perspective. This helps expand and broaden one’s definition of art as opposed to sticking to their own mindset and believing what they wanted to believe.

Link to Presentation

(WOK) Natural Sciences #3 – Historical Development

What were some key events in the Historical Development of the Natural Science?

How they changed the methodology during the process of Natural Sciences. For example the transition between different periods in history (Pre Literate, Natural Philosophy, Scientific Revolution, Present Science).

  1. Issac Newton –> Unlike previous ways of producing knowledge, this led to the scientific method which is still done today. It information relies on factual knowledge that is supported by concrete evidence rather than assumptions or beliefs.
  2. 2 Discovery of Fire / The Wheel –> Led to the motive for people to ‘invent and innovate.’
  3. 3. Religion & Philosophy –> Before science was an actual topic, these two concepts were used by many to encourage their research process and explore new ideas that couldn’t have been explained before.

Is it inevitable that the Historical Development of the N.S.’s has lead us to our current way of doing N.S.? Why or why not?

For each major event that has occurred during the historical development of the Natural Sciences, it has helped to make the methodology of Natural Sciences much more developed and error-free. Though it is still not perfect and constantly improving, it has been very helpful. For example, not using religion as a motive for the work and switching from philosophies to actual ‘science’.

Areas of Knowledge: Methodology

In what ways does this quote help us understand the methodology in Natural Science?

“At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes- an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.” – Carl Sagan

I think this means that in Natural Science, a balance between faith and uncertainty is needed in order to thoroughly confirm and make sense of scientific statements. This means that though it isn’t wrong to try and prove something right, at the same time being skeptical of these ideas is also essential to truly understand the nature of science.

What is Karl Popper’s theory of Falsification?

Falsification is when scientific statements have the possibility of being proven false. An example of one is ‘All swans are white’. Until, another swan of color is seen it can be held as true, but once it is claimed to be false, it cannot. Essentially, Falsification is used to help understand that not all scientific information is true and that there is always (to some extent) a level of unreliability.

How is it different from the way most people view Natural Science?

Natural Sciences (Chemistry, Biology, Physics) are all seen as subjects in which all data related is 100% true. This is often the case because the data is supported by evidence through trials and data collection. As a result, we don’t really question whether the data could be wrong but instead that it’s right. Karl Popper however, believed that nothing is never necessarily 100% right and that everything must have some uncertainty to it.

My Definition of Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences are a group of sciences which are used to better understand how we perceive and comprehend the various aspects of the world around us. However, Natural Sciences should make use of both reasoning and imagination to further make statements or laws about the natural world. The reasoning is needed to create factual and concrete based evidence to support these claims. Nonetheless, imagination is just as important as it allows us to question what we know and as a result uses our curiosity as motivation to further establish these principles.

 

Intuition

What is intuition?

Intuition is a decision made based on self-trust. To have intuition is to agree with your internal feeling and continue with that choice made. It may or may not require some thought, but in the end, all comes down to personal decision.

What is System 1 and System 2 thinking?

System 1 thinking is a fast, unreliable, and instinctive based way of thinking that is usually used during everyday situations. System 2 thinking, is however generally much slower, requires more effort, and used when encountered upon uncommon situations.

How could you incorporate System 2 thinking into TOK?

In TOK, System 2 thinking is required to think out of the box and focus on the larger concepts and ideas revolving the topic. It helps us better understand the context of the situation which is useful in questioning our knowledge.

Do you trust your own intuitions? Why or why not? If your answer is “It depends”, then what does it depend on?

Based on personal experience, I have made a lot of mistakes by trusting my intuition. In that after making the choice, I will quickly regret it. Therefore as a result, I have adapted and learnt not to trust my intuition.

Is intuition a convincing justification for shared knowledge?

Intuition is incredibly subjective and relies completely on one’s self-knowledge.