Natural Science – Methodology

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

This quote mentions that in science, there is an essential balance between two contradictory attitudes, one where there is an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre they may appear, and secondly, the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new; and through this is how deep truths are created from deep nonsense. This helps us understand the methodology in Natural Science because when someone first observes an area of the natural world, they have to approach it with an open mind in order to fully comprehend and start to make hypotheses about it before conducting experiments. Furthermore, one would have to take account all old and new ideas and theories in order to critically observe and examine the area of the natural world, thus working towards developing conclusions after looking at all areas that need to be covered.

What is Karl Popper’s theory of Falsification?

Karl Popper’s theory of Falsification disagrees with what people usually think, he suggested that bold hypotheses¬†should be made and can be falsified by evidence. He believes that¬†scientists should go out of their way to¬†find evidence that falsifies their hypotheses in order to refute them and not to find confirmation to support them. For example,¬†scientists¬†may come up with a hypothesis saying that all swans are white, then continue to look for evidence that supports that. However in Popper’s theory, these scientists would have to go looking for black swans, and not to continue¬†looking for white swans.

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

Most people view Natural Science because most people believe that¬†new theories and ideas are created by building upon old theories and ideas, and creating new ones that support and confirm the ones made before. However, Popper states that ‘Science is all about Falsification, not confirmation”, as it is a series of conjectures and refutations, and he believes that the best that scientists can do is to try and prove their hypotheses wrong and fail, thus making Popper’s theory of Falsification different from the way most people view Natural Science.

Natural Science – Scope and Application

Create your own definition of the term Natural Science based on the TOK questions and dictionary definitions.

Natural Science is a system of knowledge that involves the study of the physical world and its phenomena, and include areas such as physics, chemistry, biology, or geology, but excludes social sciences, and abstract or theoretical sciences. This involves observing objects or processes in nature and using the Ways of Knowing working together, such as reason and imagination to create a prediction. Then through the process of understanding, generalized statements, principles or scientific laws can be developed about the natural world that can be shared amongst individuals to create shared knowledge.

Who is the Natural Sciences map metaphor for?

The Natural Sciences map metaphor is for those who interact the natural world, which helps them understand and have a sense of the physical world around us, which could allow them to create generalized statements, principles or scientific laws about the natural world. It can also be for those who want to manipulate the natural world, as the map metaphor would help them understand and comprehend the natural world, allowing them to develop methods to change it to perhaps fit a concept or rule.

What questions in Natural Sciences is it answering?

The Natural Sciences map metaphor can answer questions such as:

How is our natural world like?

How is our natural world viewed? Can it be viewed in one perspective?

What hypotheses, generalized statements, principles or scientific laws can be developed about the natural and physical world?

How is the map skewed in Natural Science to help us answer its questions?

I believe that map is skewed in Natural Science in the way that it gives us a limited view on how the natural world is actually like, as different people have different opinions and come up with various contrasting theories that allow one to question how they see the natural world. It allows us to realize that we cannot really view our natural world through one viewpoint, as there are copious amounts of statements, principles or laws that can be generated from the map to help us answer questions about our natural world.

Intuition

What is intuition?

Intuition can be seen as the unconscious processing the brain undergoes when it first sees something. This can be the first instinct that comes to mind, and this initial thought can come easier through prior knowledge, beliefs, and experiences. Intuition can be thought of as more personal knowledge, as what one might think is accurate through the way they perceive the instinct, it may not be the same amongst a shared community.

What is System 1 and System 2 thinking?

System 1 and System 2 thinking are two contrasting modes of thought. System 1 thinking is¬†your brain’s first instincts, and the mode of this thought can be automatic, effortless, fast and ineffable; whereas System 2 thinking is when your brain takes more time to think about the instinct, and this mode of thought is more controlled, effortful, slow and effable.

How could you incorporate System 2 thinking into TOK?

System 2 thinking can be incorporated into TOK because a lot of the knowledge questions we get require some thinking in order to come up with a conclusion. We might initially have an answer to the question, but we have to take more time to understand and process the question to come up with a suitable response. Additionally, System 2 thinking can also be used when coming up with knowledge questions from the knowledge claims, as knowledge claims can be more of a System 1 type thinking, as it is taking claims from the real life situation, however, when creating knowledge questions, the thought is more controlled, effortful, and slow in order to ask a question that leads to the bigger picture.

Do you trust your own intuitions? Why or why not? If your answer is ‚ÄúIt depends‚ÄĚ, then on what does it depend?

I believe that I can only trust my own intuitions at certain times. When it comes to expert intuition, it is something I have experience and am familiar with, allowing me to be more knowledgeable in that area, thus making my intuitions more trustworthy. Even though intuition is typically the first instinct that comes to mind, and it should be automatic and effortless, if it is expert intuition, I would know more about this area of knowledge, therefore my intuitions would be more reliable to a certain extent. However, when it comes to situations where I am not that familiar or have less experience with, it would be better if my intuitions were not trusted, as I am less knowledgeable in that area.

Is intuition a convincing justification for shared knowledge?

Similar to the previous question, I believe it depends on whether the shared knowledge is in an area where the whole group is an expert in because if this group were all experts in a specific area, their intuitions would be more reliable and trustworthy, thus making it a convincing justification for the shared knowledge. However, if the shared knowledge is in an area where the whole group is not an expert in, it could be moral intuition rather than expert intuition. This is where beliefs are formed through the influence of different environments, and instead of having their intuitions based on what is accurate in that area, their intuitions could be based on the different combinations of moral values each individual has, thus suggesting that the intuition is not fully a convincing justification for shared knowledge.

 

Memory

How do you define memory?

When the lesson first started, I defined memory as: Memory is the ability for the mind to store and remember information, and be able to recall something from the past.

As the class progressed, we played Chinese Whispers, where a sentence had to be memorized by the first¬†person and it had to be passed on to three other people who don’t know what the original sentence was, and had to count on their memory to remember what the previous person said. After this process, I defined memory as:¬†Memory¬†is the ability where¬†the¬†mind takes in the information, and repeats and understands it¬†in order to store and remember¬†it, allowing it to be recalled even when it is from the past.

After discussing Joshua Foer’s talk about memory, I edited my definition to:¬†Memory¬†is¬†the ability where¬†the¬†mind takes in the information, and goes through the process of understanding and making¬†strong connections to one’s experiences¬†in order to store and remember¬†it, then allowing it to be recalled even when it is from the past.

Lastly, after listening to Radio Lab’s podcast about Memory and the Rat, I learned that there is the possibility of making a memory not exist, after the discovery of a pill that can allow a person to slowly forget and not recall details of the memory if they take the pill while they’re talking about that specific memory. After this, I was able to define memory as: Memory¬†is¬†the ability where¬†the¬†mind takes in the information, and goes through the process of understanding and¬†making¬†strong connections to¬†one’s experiences¬†in order to store and remember it through¬†protein structures forming in the brain,¬†then the memory can be¬†recalled even when it is from the past.

Should we trust eyewitness accounts? What do you think?

I think we should trust eyewitness accounts to a certain extent, as they are the people who experienced the scene first hand, thus have the ability to remember it. For example, in news reports, they interview eyewitnesses who were at the scene, and ask them details about what had happened. However, we cannot fully trust eyewitness accounts because if¬†we don’t process and make strong connections, the mind can easily forget that memory, or specific details can be easily forgotten.

Language

What are the characteristics that you feel best describe language. Why?

Out of the six characteristics of language, I think the one that best describes language is that it can be changed, extended and developed to account for new situations. This connects to the different languages we speak around the world today because language was created by us to represent some sort of meaning. However, as time passes, the languages have been changed, extended and developed in order be more expressive¬†for the¬†new situations in our current world. For example,¬†some words in Latin have been extended and developed to be used and have a meaning in English. Additionally, the English we write and speak¬†today is different to the English that was used in Shakespeare’s time, as some terminology and structure¬†are harder to understand when we read¬†his plays now.

Another characteristic that I feel best describes language is that it has to be meaningful, so that it expresses thoughts and wishes, evokes ideas, and connects with the world. When brainstorming characteristics of language, I always thought that meaning was an essential aspect, as¬†we use language to express our thoughts and feelings through words. For example, in Literature, we use language as a form of communication that allows us to understand what¬†are in the character’s mind and their emotions. This can be brought into real life as well, as we use language¬†as a form of communication to understand other people.

 

What might be some of the weaknesses of language?

A¬†potential weakness of language is that¬†things may be interpreted differently according to one’s¬†culture and how their language expresses the idea. Another potential¬†weakness of language is the chance that not everything can be expressed through language. Even though language is a form of communication to understand others, there could be thoughts or feelings that we personally feel but can’t be put into words. For example, it is difficult to explain conceptual words, such as “love” or “peace”, as¬†there isn’t a perfect word to express the thoughts and feelings associated with it¬†due to the infinite meanings from finite symbols in language.

 

Do you think that language changes the way you think and therefore perceive the world? Why and what are the implications of this idea?

I think that language changes the way you think and therefore perceive the world. There are many different languages that are spoken in the world, and they each have their own characteristics that make them unique. For example, the way sentences are phrased in English are different from French, and the tone and pronunciation of words differ. Therefore, switching between languages can arise differences in thoughts and ideas. When thinking through the perspective of different languages, you will be able to perceive the world differently, as the way something is depends on the lens you are looking through. With my personal experience, I have the most experience and spent the most time with the English language, as I speak this at home and at school, and through this, I mainly think in this language, and can express my thoughts and emotions. However, occasionally I would think in other languages such as Mandarin or Cantonese. When it comes to these secondary languages that I am not that experienced with, the way that it was taught to me affects the way I perceive the world, hence showing that the way language is taught and learned can affect the way an individual thinks and perceive the world.

Reason

In your own words, explain the difference between deductive and inductive logic.

Inductive logic is to make general rules or conclusions based on a limited number of observations, and it is typically the reasoning used in the AOK of Science. For example, the swans I have seen are white, so that means all swans are white. On the other hand, deductive logic is generating a conclusion based from a series of premises, can provide us with certainty, and it is typically the reasoning used in the AOK of Maths. For example, from a series of premises it can be said that all female are mortal, and Daphne is a female, therefore she is mortal.

What are the problems with each of these kinds of logic and what we can do to overcome some of these problems?

The problem with inductive logic is that it does not provide certainty, and it can be because of how limited your experience may be, as well as how we assume the world is a regular and predictable place, hence what happened today can happen tomorrow. Continuing from the example above, experiences can be limited as European swans are white but Australian swans are black, therefore showing that maybe all the swans I have seen are white, but that does not necessarily mean all swans are white.

The problem with deductive logic is that the premises usually come from inductive logic which provides uncertainty, and the certainty we get only cares about the structure of an argument, not if the conclusion is actually true. Continuing from the example above, all female are mortal, and if Johnny is a female, therefore she is mortal. However, Johnny is a male name, thus showing that the conclusion is not actually true, but because of the structure of the argument, this is what can be said.

Rabindranath Tagore said that ¬†‚ÄėA mind all logic is like a knife all blade ‚Äď it cuts the hand that uses it‚Äô ‚Ķ what do you think he meant by this?

Through this quote, Tagore mentions that a knife being all blade would cut the hand that it uses it, meaning that the blade would injure whoever is using it. He uses this as an analogy for the mind, as he is trying to say that a mind that is only full of logic would just confuse the brain itself, and could possibly injure it. This could be because if a mind only thinks through logic, it can lead to fallacies that can cause overthinking and eventually the logic would affect ones reasoning, thus leading to them think and perceive the world in a way that would only confuse them.

Sense Perception

Do you agree more strongly with perceptual realism or perceptual relativism?

I agree more strongly with perceptual relativism over perceptual realism. During this TOK class, I learned that with our active sense perception, we are able to think about what we see in the world compared to other people, rather than passively perceiving our surroundings because of what other people say is true, as we have our sense of hearing, smell, taste, touch and see. I agree that our senses generally give us knowledge of the world around us, but I think that our senses can be misleading, as I believe the world can appear different to me than it can be to someone else, and there is not really a way of knowing objectively what the world is like in itself.

IB Retreat Reflection

From August 17-18, all the Grade 11’s went to the Hong Kong Gold Coast for our IB Retreat. This was a really fun experience as I was able to learn about the IB DP programme¬†through the various activities and talks we had. I was also able to bond with my¬†peers through being able to spend time with the friends I already know, as well as the random roommate selection, which allowed me to bond with people I don’t know very well, and get to know them better, thus make new friends.

One of my favourite activities from the Retreat that¬†I really enjoyed was the Crossroads refugee simulation. I found this the most interesting, as I did not know what to expect going in, but after the simulation was over, I learned a lot more about the world we live in today. During the simulation, we were split into groups as that was our family, and had to make paper bags with only limited amounts of newspaper and glue made out of flour and water. We had to sell 10 paper bags to store owners¬†to earn money, and use that to pay for the expensive rent and food and water prices to the landlord.¬†There were also resources that could have benefits for our family but at a high cost that most of us couldn’t afford. I remember I felt quite stressed when folding the paper bags, as we had to make more in order to earn more money for our family and whenever we didn’t have enough money we had to give up other items that we had like shoes or¬†phones. However, I learned that in reality¬†people have to give up their children or their bodies to pay the high rent cost. I was able to¬†be put in the shoes of people in poverty, and experience the feeling of having no dignity or pride, and having a sense of injustice, as each round got harder and harder. The discussions we had after that reminded me that what we did was a simulation so we knew it would be over, but in the real world, this is happening¬†everyday in people’s lives, and is almost a never ending cycle. This has taught me that even a small difference can make a big change, and no one is too small to make a difference, and overall this was a great experience that I have learned a lot from.

Another activity I enjoyed from the retreat was talking to the alumnis. I liked talking to them because I was able to learn a lot more about the DP programme as they have been through it before, and I was lucky to be able to talk to an alumni who knew a lot about the arts since she took theatre, and since I am taking visual arts at a higher level, I was able to learn more about what to expect in the arts. After talking to them, I learned that DP is not just a ride in the park, and is different than what we were used to in the MYP, hence I know that I have to put a lot more effort to do well these next two years.

During the second day, there were a lot of seminars led by our teachers, and they were all special and interesting in their own ways. One of the seminars that challenged me was Mr Tyrrell’s, as it made me question about our existence and our thoughts and whether they are true. He made us think about the way we perceive things in the world, and tried to get us to try thinking of nothing, which was pretty hard to do, as our brains are working and we have many thoughts that we can question about on a daily basis. This is a way of finding our path, as I would have to think deeply about what I want to do, where I want to go when I’m older, and a lot of thoughts have to be taken into consideration to build a pathway¬†that works for me. Furthermore, another seminar¬†led by Mr Smeed that was challenging was learning to accept failure. We played a game where we had to make a circle and not catch the ball by dodging it in a creative way. It was challenging because I am used to just catching when a ball is thrown at me, but it was a good experience as it taught me that DP won’t be as easy as we think, and there are times where we have to accept failure and learn from it to improve and be even better.

Other than Challenge, another one of the Retreat themes was Passion.¬†The seminar about CAS which was led by Mr Hamilton encouraged me to go and do more community service that I am interested in, and it connects to what I learned during the Crossroads simulation, as I want to make a difference in our world even if it’s small, it might help someone a lot.¬†I learned that CAS is not just for the hours and is not something we have to do because it is mandatory, but instead, we should do the service because we enjoy it and are passionate about it, and want to make a difference for an issue we care about. Furthermore, this¬†also ties in with the Taking Action seminar that was led by Ms Safaya, as she showed us that our actions should be about something we are passionate about, and that it can be carried out in a direct or indirect way. This is also a way of trying to find our path, as I want to know what I am passionate and not passionate about in order to create a pathway for the service that I am going to do.

Lastly, I enjoyed the yoga session that Ms Van de Broucke led, as it allowed me to relax my mind and body after all the seminars where we had to think a lot, and it was a good way to put a close to the two days of the Retreat. Overall, I enjoyed the two days of the IB Retreat as it was a memorable experience because I was able to gain a lot of knowledge about the DP programme, create closer bonds with my peers, and learned a lot more about the world around me.

Knowledge Claims and Questions

1st Order Knowledge Claims

  1. Any artist that does not have a gallery is not reputable. (Visual Art HL)
  2. Good literature comes from books. (Literature HL)

1st Order Knowledge Questions

  1. Is it possible to have famous artists who don’t have their works in galleries?
  2. Is it possible to have good literature that does not come from books?

2nd Order Knowledge Claims

  1. Art that is inspiring can only be from famous artists.
  2. Only great literature can come from books.

2nd Order Knowledge Questions

  1. Is it possible to agree upon a definition for art?
  2. Is it possible that great literature that does not come from books?

Personal vs Shared Knowledge

1. Explain the Map Metaphor.

I think the Map Metaphor is a representation or picture of the world around us. It is more simplified than how we usually view the world around us, so that it is easier for us to understand how we can connect ourselves to the world around us. This map can also be designed to help solve a problem, as having a simplified version of something complicated could make it easier for us to understand the situation and find ways to solve it.

2. What is the difference between Personal Knowledge and Shared Knowledge?

I think there is a difference between Personal Knowledge and Shared Knowledge. Personal Knowledge is more of what an individual knows based on their experiences, and includes opinions that may differ from others, as some may have another opinion on a particular topic. This knowledge is also created by what one knows through experience, personal education or research. On the other hand, Shared Knowledge is an opinion or fact that is agreed on by two or more people, and depending on how many people agree, the knowledge is more respected by others. Shared Knowledge also allows more than one person to contribute to the main idea using the knowledge they already have, allowing there to be more perspectives on a certain topic. However, this knowledge can change or evolve overtime as new knowledge can be gained.

3. If you cannot explain something to someone else, you do not know it. Do you agree or disagree with this statement and why?

I disagree with the statement “If you cannot explain something to someone else, you do not know it”. I disagree with this because even though an individual may know something, they may not be able to fully put into words what they know, as it may be difficult for them to explain the topic clearly, due to the different degrees¬†of understanding. However, this does not mean that they don’t know it because they might have some knowledge of something but are not at the level of explaining it to someone else yet.