TOK: Imagination and Memory

by 042690 on September 22, 2017

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.

I think that the main AOK that has developed in a way to overcome the imperfections of imagination and memory is the natural sciences. In the natural sciences, we note down observations during the experiment as we observe them and use precise tools to record data we have collected. This overcomes imperfections as memory as scientists are not relying on memory further down the road when discussing these observations (as their memory might be incorrect or might not remember exactly what happened) but instead are relying on observations that they recorded when the experiment happened, which likely increases the chance of the observation being exactly as how the scientist saw it during the experiment. In the natural sciences, we rely on our imagination to come up with hypothesis before the experiment. However, scientists know that this is just their prediction for the experiment and will not necessarily always be true. Once the experiment has been completed, the hypothesis will be verified and this is where the imperfection of imagination will be countered. Scientists will comment on whether the hypothesis is valid or not and as a result the imagination that the scientist made prior to the experiment will be verified.







TOK: Reason

by 042690 on September 14, 2017

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.

Sometimes, this can be true but this is not always the case (this depends on the Area of Knowledge). For example, take the general statement related to medicine that “Drugs are harmful to humans”. Through deductive reasoning, we should not take drugs because they are harmful to us. However, some drugs that we take can help us feel better (pain killers or antibiotics) and we need to take them when we are sick. This shows that the assumption that we have made is not necessarily true, because some drugs do help us, but the overall argument is true in most cases. We shouldn’t take drugs whenever we want to, but if required (for times when we are sick), they can be very helpful. This point shows that the validity of an argument is independent of the truth or falsity of its premises.

However, there are times that the validity of an argument is not independent of the truth or falsity of it’s premises. For example, in the AOK of the Natural Sciences, you could be conducting an experiment where you get highly reliable data that has a strong correlation and that you can prove with scientific reasoning. However, it would likely be incorrect or considered invalid if it was not close with what others in the scientific community had come up with on their own. Your reasoning might be perfectly accurate for the data that you have collected, but if it is not corroborated by an outside source, the data is less likely to be considered as valid.


TOK: Language

by 042690 on September 9, 2017

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


Personally, I disagree with the statement above. I do believe that vagueness and ambiguity of language can limit the production of knowledge but this is not always the case. For example, we can look at the AOK (Area of Knowledge) of The Arts. In lots of cases in the arts, ambiguity of language rarely limits the production of knowledge, and sometimes, it could possibly be a benefit. The Arts are often used to express our emotions and feelings which are hard to put into words or quantify. As a result, what we do is use ambitious words that convey a similar meaning to what the feelings that we want to convey. For example, in poetry, some poetry can be intentionally ambiguous so that the poem is open to interpretation, and different readers will interpret it differently. This is because due to different readers having different experiences, beliefs, cultural identities/backgrounds and more. This is where this ambiguity might be a positive. Each reader is able to develop his or her own view about the poem and everyone can gain knowledge by sharing these views with each other and explaining why certain people see certain things certain ways.

The classic example where vagueness or ambiguity of language might limit the production of knowledge would be in the AOK of Mathematics. In mathematics, ambiguity of language can limit the production of knowledge. Math is almost completely numerical and as a result, ambiguity in language would mainly come up in language used to describe problems or the different types of notation. Math has a specific term for each operation and calculation that must be done ( such as multiply, divide, expand, rationalise). This is so that mathematicians can remove all ambiguity in what they are doing so that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done in order to get the correct solution. For example, people would normally say multiply 7 by 4 (7*4) instead of accumulate 7 and 4 or proliferate 7 and 4. All three words have the same or very similar meaning according to the dictionary, but mathematicians specifically use the word multiply as it is universally used and as a result, people know exactly what to do when they are told to multiply something.

A final way that language can cause ambiguity can be seen from an activity that we did in class called “Crime in Addison”. In this activity, half the class were given a sheet of paper describing crime as a “virus that was plaguing the city of Addison” with some statistics and the other half of the class was given the same sheet of paper with the same statistics, the only difference being that crime was “preying on the city like a beast”. Both sheets of paper had eight identical options on how to tackle the issue. Because the wording was slightly different, the options chosen from both sides was also slightly different. We saw that those who had the sheet of paper that described the city of Addision as being plagued by a virus chose more long-term options as the article made it seem that the “plague” was already there and the town now had to do something to prevent it from getting worse. We also saw that those who had the other sheet of paper interpreted that the high rates of crime had not arrived yet but were arriving soon (like a beast stalking it’s prey). As a result, they took more of a short-term approach by picking solutions that would have an impact immediately and try to prevent the “beast” from entering the two all together. This little activity shows us that the even though the same facts and statistics have been presented, a few subtle language changes (such as the metaphors used in this activity) can alter our perception of an event entirely.

In conclusion, language should not be completely written off as a Way of Knowing (WOK) but like other WOKs, it does have it’s advantages and disadvantages and is better suited to be used in certain AOKs.


TOK: Emotion

September 4, 2017

  Emotion plays a key role in our daily lives and it is a part of us that impacts the decisions we make and shapes our judgement of certain situations. Claim:  A good historian strives to be as unemotional as possible, this is the only way to write accurate history Some may agree with this claim […]

Read the full article →

TOK: Sense Perception

September 2, 2017

Our minds don’t allow us to perceive the world as it really is, but instead, as how we are engineered to perceive the world (through our experiences). While there are problems with our perceptual systems, that doesn’t necessarily mean that knowledge that we gain from our senses is completely unreliable. For example, how we see […]

Read the full article →

Gestalt IB Retreat Reflection

August 30, 2017

On August 17th, the class of 2019 (Grade 11) went to the Gold Coast for the 2017 IB retreat.  The goal of this retreat was for us to build bonds with other students and teachers and to prepare us for the next two years. The most memorable part of the retreat for me was the […]

Read the full article →

TOK: Being ‘Right’, Knowing and Explaining

August 15, 2017

Is being ‘right’ a rather objective affair, or is it more complicated than this? Being ‘right’ is definitely not an objective affair but however there are certainly some instances when it is. Being ‘right’ almost always is subjective. Of course, there are certain times when everyone will agree that you were right. For example, there […]

Read the full article →

Grade 10 Service As Action

May 10, 2017

I completed my service as action where I organised a cricket program for underprivileged students at a local school and taught the students how to play cricket. This was also my MYP personal project.   How did you become more aware of your own strengths and areas for growth? I grew through this service as […]

Read the full article →

Healthy Habits: Final Analysis

May 7, 2017

Goals: Level 1(Food): Eat a Healthy Breakfast At Least 2 Times A Week  Level 3(Sleep): Get 8-10 hrs of quality sleep at least 5 times per week. Level 3(Fitness): Walk 10,000+ steps per day   Were you able to continue with your selected habits for the entire semester. Explain. For the most part, I was comfortably able […]

Read the full article →

Health and Wellness: Exercise

May 7, 2017

I set a goal for myself to take 10,000 steps every day three times a week. I was unable to accurately measure this because I never had a step measuring counter when I played different sports so therefore I was limited to only measuring my steps when I walking around as supposed to doing sports. […]

Read the full article →