TOK Journal Post #5

by Michael on October 22, 2018

Claim: Knowledge in the arts is clearly story-like, whereas knowledge in natural science is clearly map-like.

Map like knowledge is defined as literal knowledge, where the knowledge gained is based purely on facts and reality. It is shared, objective knowledge in which anyone can agree on, because it is solely based off of facts and evidence. Story like knowledge is the opposing counterpart of map like knowledge, where the knowledge gained is more ideological and doesn’t focus on facts and statistics. It is defined as humanly meaningful knowledge and is particular among an individual, a culture, or a society.

Knowledge in the arts is much more story like than it is map like. Art is defined as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” Just from this definition alone it is clear that knowledge in the arts is story like, as it states that knowledge is created through a human’s creative skill and imagination. This means that it is within the individual himself to determine what knowledge is in his artwork, and not everyone may interpret his art the same way that he does. An artist may have his own experiences that are reflected in his art, but not everyone will have shared that same experience as him. An example of this is in music. A composer can mix and match melodies and rhythms to his own taste, but not everyone may enjoy the melody and may even think it sounds bad. This is story like knowledge as different people are interpreting the music in different ways, which means not everyone can agree that it sounds good or bad.

Though knowledge in the arts is primarily story like, there may be some map like knowledge within it. In music, two notes played together, which is called a harmonious interval, can be considered either consonant or dissonant. Consonant intervals are described to be pleasant and agreeable, whereas a dissonant intervals cause tension and desire to be resolved into consonant intervals. This shows that there is a science behind music, as it is the relationship between the frequencies of two notes that determine whether it is consonant or dissonant.

Knowledge in natural sciences are much more map like than it is story like. As the natural sciences focus more on factual and statistical study in order to produce knowledge, it is something that people can agree on, as it is based on real life evidence. One scientist can conduct an experiment by himself, and another scientist can conduct that same experiment and obtain generally the same results. An example of this is that the boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius. If everyone in the world were to measure the temperature in which water starts to boil, everyone would obtain the same result in that the boiling point of water is 100 degrees. This would only be false if there is a change in the environment in which the experiment was conducted in, such as a change in altitude level, but those who experience the same change in environment would produce the same result.

Knowledge in natural sciences, however, may involve some story like knowledge. An example of this is the model of an atom. Scientists in the past have produced their own interpretation of the model of an atom in the past, but they did not have access to modern technology, so they couldn’t produce an accurate model. To this day, technology has not advanced to the point where it is 100% certain of what is in an atom and what it is made of, so there must be some ideological knowledge involved in producing the model of the atom.

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