Economics TOK

Today we had a special Economics TOK session, we discussed mostly on the usage and purpose of a model. As economics relies heavily on models as almost all content revolves around content, we were given the following claim that “all models are wrong but some are useful”.

My interpretation of this quote means that all models do not convey real life situations and that when applied to the real world, do not work based on the rules and laws that models come up with. This can be from over-simplification as models normally simplify every scenario into one rule. This rarely works in the real world as there are many factors that influence situations that are too complexed to be simplified into a single law or model. For example, the model of neo-classical and kenesiean model depicts the strength of the economy. However neo-classical and kenesiean base this off of just two factors which is aggregated supply and demand, which is determined by a number of factors. However in the real world, other factors could influence the economy, such as political decisions, state of country, which is not included in aggregated demand or supply. Thus showing that the neo-classical and kenesiean model is only a simplification and a summation of the strength of the economy.

However as the quote suggests, some models are useful. For example, going back to the example of kenesiean and neo-classical model, these models help us students who are learning about economics get a better depiction or idea in order to understand the strength of the economy. Other examples of models that help us understand by not just students but the general public are models relating to natural sciences. For example the Bohr-Rutherford model that shows an atoms structure helped students and the general public understand the structure of the atom. Thus showing the models usefulness even though it does not accurately depict real life situations.

I think that although models are not an accurate depiction of models, they are still useful in terms of educational purposes and general understanding among the public. This shows the usefulness of models in general

 

Comparing Human and Natural Science

Choose 1 question you developed from NS

What caused the volcano to erupt?

How did the volcano eruption impact the biodiversity around the area?

Choose 1 question you developed from HS

What was the towns population economic situation during the volcano eruption?

How did the eruption affect the town below?

Design a research task or experiment to answer both questions (one for each)

NS:

  1. Look at the air composition around the area
  2. The tectonic plate movement around the area (seismic activity)
  3. Look at the biodiversity around the area
  4. Observe the weather and climate

HS:

  1. look at the statistics regarding the town’s economy, demographics, migration, biodiversity
  2. compare the stats before and after the eruption
  3. Look at previous cases of volcano eruption
  4. See if the results of those cases apply to this one given the data
  5. Deduce reasons for data not addressed in previous cases

 

What is Art

Today in TOK we learned what is truly art, we defined art by a series of movements that can convey expression, communication and intention that can be not functional. We have a claim and that we should debate whether science is more important then art. I would think that this is not the case as I think that there is different types of information that can be conveyed through the medium of art.

For example, the arts can convey different sets of information, for example human sciences where art can be a source of communication to people with mental disabilities. I would argue that these types of informations is equally as important then information conveyed through natural sciences or mathematics. I would say that there is also a purpose for art as i think art is a way of communication and expression.

Overall, I would think that art is arguably as important then any other of the sciences

Pseudoscience

Today we discussed the difference between pseudoscience and natural science.

I would describe that pseudoscience is the untruthful science where a claim is supported by facts that are manipulated in order to persuade or achieve a goal that the author would like to convey. Whereas in natural or any other science would be facts that would back up a claim or a theory.

I would argue that pseudoscience and “the true” science can be hard to distinguish. This is the fact that our sense of perception maybe unable to comprehend the “truth”. I would say that it would be hard to “find the truth” whereas in different where we find a correlation. I believe that the theories that scientists create do not tend to convey the “real” knowledge rather then a correlation or a relationship with a trend.

WOK Review

Today in TOK class, we summarised what we learned about the Ways of Knowing. We mainly discussed how since each WOK has flaws and is imperfect. How do we continue to obtain knowledge. And today in class we were introduced to Plato’s criteria in how to define knowledge. He classified that knowledge had to meet three requirements. It had to be justified, it had to be true and it had to be believed by the majority of people.

I do feel like the truth element of knowledge is somewhat questionable. As I think that what we view as truth is only the capability that we can find out about what really is “true” in our own judgement. For example in natural sciences, we only see things as the “truth” through correlations on one factor and the other and looking at an overall trend. This is the extent that we can call the truth. However we can assume that this is only a side effect to the real “truth” and that there are hidden factors that we are unable to answer based on our limitations as a species in terms of technologically, or comprehensibility. So I do feel like when it terms of knowledge, I believe that faith has a bigger part then whether the actual piece of knowledge is the “truth”. As I think that as a social species, we tend to believe and to follow other people and by powerful figures and credible sources, we believe that the information we receive is the truth. Where I think that it is mainly from what we believe.

The most meaningful WOK that I think we should keep is faith. As I think that in our TOK classes, we really had a very in depth discussion of how we think that faith is needed in any knowledge claim or any fact that we study. Especially with how even there is scientific evidence that back up claims and theories, it is important that the receiver/ society have faith in the evidence that backs up theories, informations that we know today. As I made an example before, in mathematics we are taught basic operations and from then on we had faith that 2 + 2 = 4 based on the information we had from our technological and logical capabilities. Even though when there are physical things representing this equation, it could be further from the truth and we only believe that this is solid information.

I think that if we poke too many holes in Ways of Knowing however different AOK’s have different requirements, I think that there is no definite answer as in which WOK is applied to which AOK, and as humans we are not comfortable with the unknown and the fact that we think that these WOK’s are the only way we can receive information and knowledge. It is scary for us to think that all the ways that we know how to perceive information has many different flaws. I think that in general, intuition and reasoning (the two ways of knowing we were taught) help us to judge these decisions that we may not be aware of. For example, we use reasoning, imagination and memory to receive information from maths. This is because maths is conceptual and abstract which requires imagination to grasp a better understanding by relating and linking ideas, memory and reasoning as maths requires logic. Whereas the AOK of natural sciences may require a different set of skills from a completely different set of WOK. So I think that by using logic from the WOK of intuition and reasoning, we judge which AOK is to be used.

 

I think after this lesson, I acknowledge there is a capital T truth and a smaller t truth after these several TOK lessons. However I do find it difficult to distinguish between the two “truths”. As I believe that capital T truth may refer to the actual truth and information that we are able to perceive in general despite our limitations of the way we know things and the technological tools that we attempt to see the truth. And with the smaller capital t truth being referred to how we as a species refer to it as the truth which may not be the case at all beyond or within our World. For example, in Natural Sciences we may think that a causation is linked with a correlation which produces an effect. However this can be counter-claimed as we only use patterns, experiments and attempt to control factors that may be out of our capability. So I think that in general it is very hard to distinguish the two truths as we have limitations as a species and we also have technological limitations that may hinder us from seeing the capital T truth. But I do acknowledge that there are two truths.

 

Faith and Intuition

Today in TOK we had another way of knowledge topic and this time it was Faith and Intuition. We spent most of our time coming up with arguments on whether faith should be part of an area of knowledge. Which is what this blog post would be about.

We came up in groups and first discussed the implications that do not support whether faith should be an AOK.

Faith can be not factual and can be not based on any evidence. For example, religion is a major example of this scenario. A large audience may have faith that Christianity and Jesus condemns homosexuality and non-binary people. As a result faith should not be classified as an Area of Knowledge as there is no evidence or facts to back up what people have faith in. Another point that we listed was that beliefs are not justified and may be based on intuition. As a result this may cause bias views which alters peoples reality from the truth. For example, coming back to religion. Some people have faith that there is no such thing as climate change. Despite numerous evidence and studies (although we can also assume that people do believe in climate change as there is no straightforward proof that humans caused climate change. We only base this claim from logic and studies). Faith also causes differences in opinions which would create unnecessary conflict. For example, religion again. People have argued and fought over which religion is the “true” religion like Shi’ite Muslims or Sunni Muslims. Or Catholics or Protestants and etc.

However we also came up with argument that support that faith should be an Area of Knowledge.  For example like the climate change example above, we do not have 100% proof on any natural science or to a certain extent science concept. Anything abstract and not actually physical needs faith as we do not have the capability to proof theories or ideas based on correlation and patterns which is how we justify things. By eliminating faith as a way of knowledge, we are disavowing everything related to science and maths. Another example of how faith can be a way of knowing is that faith gives us indirect knowledge about human sciences. As what we believe could tell us on who we are as a person which is why psychiatrists tend to do, this area of knowing is giving us knowledge.

In my personal opinion, I think faith should be an area of knowledge. Although faith can be and has a reputation of being non-sensical or based on no evidence. If you think about it, all ideas and knowledge requires faith and that as a species, we agree upon a common idea which is what fuels our beliefs and faith.

 

Imagination/Memory

Role of Imagination:

  • – Conceptualise and visualise hard to understand concepts/ideas in order to be more easily understanding.
  • – Able to get other viewers to understand more from what the speaker is trying to express
  • – However imagination can be altered and unrealistic
  • – Imagination may not convey a true perspective and can only be generalised in order to be applicable
  • – Our imagination can be limited to extend our perspectives to even beyond other’s, let alone different species

Role of Memory

  • – To grasp and effectively recall
  • – However like memory can also be altered and realistic
  • – Memory can be unrealistic and can be also altered by our sub-conciousness

However by explaining that memory and imagination is a double edged sword, we can still overcome these challenges that every human faces. For example, for memory we can use imagination as a way of knowing to a certain extent. As imagination mainly benefits us by looking at different perspectives and trying to understand and conceptualise easier. We can get the general idea  of concepts through the use of imagination and not rely as much on imagination to look at the specifics. For example, when looking at World War 2 we can imagine what it was like to be a soldier fighting on the battlefront of Normandy and makes it easier to understand the perspective of the soldier. However we should not rely on imagination as we do not what it was truly like to actually be in World War 2 and that imagination does not benefit us if we solely rely on this Area of Knowledge.  For memory, our teacher explained how memory can be used to help us gain knowledge by remembering previous concepts/ ideas that help us build on to our existing knowledge. For example, we need to know PEDMAS and the operations in order to do algebra in math. However just like how imagination or other WOK, there are limitations to memory. As memory is from our perspective our memory may be altered from the truth in order to support biasness or we remembered it wrong.

Overall, I think that just like any other WOK, memory and imagination are both double edged swords when gaining knowledge.

Language

Today in TOK, we learnt about the way of knowing of languages. How it can benefit and hinder our production of knowledge. We especially talked about how language can manipulate your views based on the context. One example that we talked about was how in war, we would use euphemisms such as liberators, freedom fighters, allies etc. to allow civilians or military personal to believe that they are fighting for the “right” side. Another example is “neutralising” comparing to murdering or killing. As by providing a euphemism, it numbs the effects and people can continue to root for the cause that their government is fighting for as it gives motivation and patriotism.

So for today’s task we were asked to apply this statement “The vagueness and ambiguity of language always limits the production of knowledge” and ask any questions that come in to mind and apply this statement into two Area’s of Knowledge. One question that stood out was how do we define vagueness and ambiguity of a language. Can we even quantify vagueness and ambiguity? Who is it to decide whether a language is vague or ambiguous.  Afterwards I asked about are all examples of vague and ambiguous language hinder production of knowledge? Can there be instances where vague language actually can help the production of knowledge? 

Which brought me to think about examples of how vagueness can help the production of knowledge in an area of knowledge. One example I thought of was Natural Sciences, as theories can be quite complicated and when language can be used to construct metaphors and to simplify complicated theories or abstract ideas, metaphors can help boils down into more simplified or familiar comparisons. Another example I was thinking about how art could benefit from vague languages. Especially when artists are trying to explain their ideas or motivations when explaining the choices that they make, by simplifying terms and ideas could help broader audiences understand the artists perspective which leads to interpretation.

I would think that language or like any other concept that we study in TOK is a double edged knife where it can benefit and hinder your production of learning. However from this lesson, it has taught me to be more skeptical, especially about news regarding politics, war, or anything subjective on a broader scale.

Reasoning

Today in TOK, we learned about the way of knowing of inductive and deductive reasoning. Although we may think that reasoning is the most powerful and most accurate, true or error free way of knowing. However, as always in TOK, our whole perception was shattered under 90 minutes. Although it seemed a little hard to grasp my head around, it did make sense eventually. What we learned basically was inductive and deductive reasoning. Basically using logic and what makes sense to us and validity in order to prove one’s point. For example if we assume that the statement below is true that all leaves are trees and all trees are barks. Then we would assume from inductive reasoning that all leaves are barks. This what I would assume the area of knowledge, natural sciences would typically use in order to justify their hypothesis. However this method can be prone to errors. For example in real life, before people assumed that tomatoes were poisonous because people fell ill and died when eating tomatoes. In fact, a chef of George Washington tried to assassinate him by putting tomatoes in his soup because that was general knowledge to everyone at that time. But soon after when the chef discovered that tomatoes were not poisonous. People started to wonder what poisoned them with the coincidence of them eating tomatoes. It turned out that people put tomatoes on plates made from high amounts of lead. This leads to the misconception of how tomatoes were poisonous. This can be applied to how reasoning can be error prone. Scientists knew that when people eating tomatoes, they would die, so assuming that that statement was correct, they thought all tomatoes were poisonous. However it was a coincidence that people kept eating tomatoes on plates made from lead, which was the real culprit.

Which was how I grasped the concept of how the area of knowledge of reasoning may not be so perfect that everyone thought after all.

IB DP Retreat Reflection

From 17th to the 18th of August, the class of 2019 (which I am in) went on a school retreat dubbed “The IB Retreat” at the Gold Coast hotel. It was a memorable and unique experience as there wasn’t such a large scale trip which involved all my classmates. During those two days, we did a poverty simulator in a local charity foundation called Crossroads, had a couple of group activities and watched a movie as a whole grade. I thought the whole trip was pretty interesting and fun as there are only few opportunities where you can hang out with all my friends at the same place. And this trip luckily gave me another opportunity.

This was definitely one of my highlights during the IB retreat; to hang out with all my friends as they gave us a lot of spare time during the first day of the retreat in the hotel. One activity I did with my friends during spare time was watching a superhero comedy film. This was definitely a highlight as even after watching the movie, we kept talking and analysing of the movie and bonded over as friends. Another way we bonded over was playing video games during our spare time. This allowed us to further develop our friendship between one another over the course of this retreat.

One event that really stood out during the trip in a educational and challenging aspect was when we did the poverty simulation during our time in Crossroads on the first day. We were put into groups which were our temporary “family”. We had to make paper bags out of newspaper as our income and each “week” (which was 10 minutes), we had to pay rent, water, food and optional sanitation. During this simulation, for a brief moment, I really felt like a slum dweller. Where I had no control over my life besides making paper bags to hopefully pay enough money by the end of each week. But after each week, my family would always come short to the minimum requirement to keep us alive each week. Overtime, we needed to sell our valuables that we brought with us to the simulation. In come cases it could have been our watches, phones, even our shoes! It was challenging in a sense that it was really stressful to make enough paper bags each week. But also educational as it taught me that being poor is more then just not having money. It was also having people to look down on you, having stress and worrying about whether we would survive for another week.

With this IB retreat, it has really developed my passion with video games, which allowed me and my friends to establish the Game Development Club in CDNIS, as from the IB retreat, I was able to spend a lot of time with my friends which allowed us to share our ideas to make a club about making video games. I think this really allowed me and my friends to develop our passion of video games and to condense it into a club that we would meet once a week. If it wasn’t for the IB retreat, I think it would take us a lot longer in order to condense our thoughts and ideas, as the IB retreat gave us a lot of spare time for us to hang out together.

Overall I really enjoyed the IB retreat as I think it gave me a very memorable experience and educated me a lot about the world we live in today.

 

 

 

 

Sense Perception

Today is another day where this mind blowing extravaganza continues with the TOK. In TOK today, we learnt about sense perception and how we do not know truly what really is the “real world” based on the limitations of our sensor due to our natural adaptations that helped our ancestors survived. For example, how we truly see colour is just from the perspectives of us, as humans. Where our eyes can miss information that our mind deems “unimportant” or can even interpret information, where in reality it is just an abstract image or object that our mind is so determined to make sense of.

However I think that Areas of Knowledge can help verify or correct us from our “faulty” senses. For example, in mathematics, we can calculate large numbers of objects, people, money or etc. with precise calculations based on smaller measurements where we can firmly confirm that what our senses recognise is true. For example, with measuring populations, it is unreliable if you just look at a jar of candy and estimate how many candy treats are in a jar. But with mathematics and precise measurement, we can know precisely how much candy is in a jar without opening it and with just measurements.

I think its a big concept to tackle but I think in time, I will get used to having this giant bombshell just shake all my beliefs or things I am confident at.

Intro to Ways of Knowledge

Today in Theory of Knowledge, I learned about the different ways of knowing and areas of knowledge. Basically ways of knowing include but not limited to reasoning, language, emotion, instinct, imagination and etc. Basically anything or any method that allows you to gather knowledge. For example, with emotion, it could allow you access of knowledge about empathy, how other’s feel like or unlike you. It could be applied to the Arts (ie. painting, cooking, music etc.) As arts heavily rely on the knowledge of the artist with emotions in order to start a piece/painting/dish. This could also be applied to other ways of knowledge. And today we talked about how different areas of knowledge (ie. subjects like maths, natural science, arts, human science etc.) could be a double edged sword that can help you gain but also be a weakness and limit your ability with bias and stubbornness. For me, I think how you would distinct what WOK with AOK depends on the context. For example, in science, I try to have an unbiased and neutral standpoint and just look at the evidence and facts that science give me. In which I would limit my WOK in emotion, instinct and etc. And focus more on reasoning, language and etc. Whereas in Art, focuses more on an human aspect and less on evidence and reasoning. So I would focus my WOK in emotions, instinct and less quantifiable WOK.

Knowledge and Explaining

Today was our first Theory of Knowledge class. Firstly, this class shocked my belief of how knowledge is disputable and what are the distinctions between knowledge and faith. This class (keep in mind first) shocked me to my core of how even knowledge is disputable. Previously, before this class I always had the imagery of how knowledge is an old, thick and indestructible tree. However as from class discussions, knowledge can be disputed by how we even can view as knowledge. How knowledge can be defined as basic understanding that is agreed upon by everyone and that there is no deny. Or it could just be a fact/opinion that a person views that can not be counter-argued with. Whereas a belief could be countered, or that it could be how that person is able to take counter-arguments and is able to be more flexible in what they truly believe that is “true”. Overall, this first lesson really broadened my mind, but at the expense of losing my train of thought and making my brain turn into goo.