TOK Reflection: Map Like vs Story Like Knowledge

I this past TOK class we examined map like and story like knowledge, and how these two types of knowledge relate to the areas of knowledge of science and the arts. Map like knowledge uses equations, formulas, or more quantitative knowledge, while story like knowledge is obtained using qualitative knowledge such as tales and parables. The prompt for this reflection regarding these two types of knowledge is “Knowledge in the arts is clearly story-like whereas knowledge in natural science is clearly map-like.”

I would agree that scientific knowledge is more map like then knowledge in the arts. Natural Science disciplines such as chemistry, physics, and biology, which we study in school, often require formulas to be applied to come to conclusions/find solutions, which is a characteristic of map like knowledge. Also, knowledge and information in science in most cases is testable, another characteristic of map like knowledge. Testability is a characteristic of map like knowledge as map like knowledge makes reference to maps, which can be tested by going over the same terrain multiple times. False theories in disciplines that follow map like knowledge can also be disproven by a single finding.

Knowledge in the arts would in most cases be story like knowledge, mainly because it is extremely difficult to quantify knowledge in this area of knowledge. It is also very hard to critique art, as everyone has different interpretations of the meaning behind art pieces, and also have different preferences in art, whether it be different preferences in music, visual art or architectural design. This would relate the story like knowledge as claims in story like knowledge are much more difficult to prove wrong, because they deal with unique persons.

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