All topics can portray a form of truth, though they differ. The arts and sciences are inextricably linked, as science can sometimes explain the beauty of art, and art is often used to convey scientific “truths” to the common man. Only the arts can wholly address these fundamental truths, and that is why the arts have played and will continue to play such an important role in the history of human existence. Our “truths” are not remote and technical invoices on things that have occurred; they are statements that elucidate and probe deeper into the human psyche.

There are those who argue that artists have a special responsibility to convey the truth. This responsibility derives in part because the impact of their work gives them unusual power, but also from the special position of art – at least the visual and maybe of the performing arts in transcending language. Why, in any case, is there a need to find truth in art? We end up diminishing the truth by searching for it, rather than finding it within oneself.

In both of the aforementioned essays, it is stated that knowledge is produced through art thus displaying an ultimate truth. There are multiple truths conveyed, both human and scientific. It is believed that the artists have a higher place in our society as a result of their increased inability to prove and portray information and knowledge about our very existence. However, the second essay adopts a somewhat cynical view on trying to find meaning within art, claiming that by chasing the truth we diminish it.

Art: Practicing TOK thinking

“Without the group to verify it, knowledge is not possible.” Discuss


  • In this claim, it states that individual information is not to be considered knowledge, but rather only shared knowledge. This relates back to the idea of shared vs personal information (exactly what it sounds like; shared amongst a group of people vs only verified/known by one person). However, I do not agree with it. I believe that there is value within the knowledge of the individual that is not impacted by the cognitive biases of the others present in their surroundings. Humans are consistently open to error, therefore it cannot be decided for every context that only shared or individual information is accurate, but rather smarter to accept the value within both.

In the arts there are a variety of different type of information, classified mainly into two; logical and creative. The logical side of information is concrete facts that can be incorporated, or ignored, as the artist wishes. The creative is, alternatively, a source of information that stems from ones own imagination or perception of the world around them, rather than a concrete set of facts that dictate our universe.

All claims in art are open to being shared and discussed. All who view and create art come equipped with their own set of values and beliefs, leading them to have differing opinions from one another. This is, what I believe, to be one of the many beautiful aspects of art; the diversity. All claims are open to suggestion and discussion as there is no one right or wrong answer, but rather a selection of answers to debate and play around with to gain a desired effect.

What is Art?

  • Unlike The Arts, Science tells us something valuable about the world.
  • Science is concerned with the world around us, therefore on some level it does inform us of valuable information about the world around us. However, is this to say that only scientific knowledge is valuable? Is our own morality, best conveyed through artwork as stated in the article, not of any importance to the general populous? For example, in the article it states that ‘When standing in front of Ai Weiwei’s work for example, we might develop a different sense of knowing about corruption and human rights than simply reading a newspaper about these issues.’ . This is a clear statement of how artwork can be used to convey information to us about the world around us. Therefore, while this claim is true (in the sense that Science tells us valuable information about the world as it is information based solely on the world around us), it is not to say that the Arts do not provide this same level of importance, if not greater, of insight into our world.

Intro to NS

Reflecting on our discussions in class, and with inspiration from the TED video, what
distinguishes Natural Science from other AOKs?

Unlike many other AOKs, science is often confirmed by several large groups of people before being accepted as factual. As Naomi Oreskes states, we often ‘fall back’ onto the Natural Sciences as they are viewed as being more factual than any other AOK because they are concerned with the world around us rather than being subjective to human nature, as many of the others are. A problem within this however would be the same as with logic; induction. Many complex theories are formed as a result of an observation, which is then proved with the presence of empirical evidence. However, as with logic, the framework being present to structure the argument does not guarantee its accuracy. It is interesting to see how what is considered as being the most factual of all the AOKs is not necessarily any more reliable than, say, the Arts.

Faith and Intuition

Faith Knowledge
  • A belief in a predetermined set of values
  • Complete belief or trust in something or someone
  • Facts, information, and skills all acquired through education or experience
  • Distracts from fact as one can believe in their perceived God over concrete facts because of their own herd mentality
  • Causes an automatic cognitive bias
  • Knowledge is not always accurate, therefore what has been accepted by a community may cause the individual to have false information
  • Can be influenced by the belief of many to reflect others’ values rather than what the individual knows to be true
Justifications as WOK
  • Allows us to look closely at the reasoning behind others’ perspective; understanding religious works, or pious members of society’s teachings
  • All information that we learn is considered knowledge, therefore should be considered as a way of knowing.

Memory and Imagination

Memory Imagination
Role in pursuit of knowledge
  • Allows for knowledge to be contained and kept
  • Can build upon earlier learned subject knowledge
  • Allows for one to expand upon, and participate within an area of knowledge; creativity in art, conceptual reasoning within natural sciences
  • Fill in blank spots of your memory with filler information to avoid gaps
  • Personal biases affect how one remembers a turn of events
  • Human error; faulty memory, Alzheimer’s)
  • Makes it difficult to be logical within AOK
  • Differentiates from reality
  • fabricates certain facts when understanding/acquiring knowledge
Link between others
  • sense perception: Our memory can be altered by time, and a sense we felt in the past may not be kept well
  • language: Through the contrived dennotations of words, one may modify conversations or information heard in their past as a result of faulty memory to keep the purpose of the conversation the same, however change the words used
  • emotion: Our emotions affect the way in which we can reimagine reality; sad people make beautiful poetry to escape their reality, as their understanding of the world around them is of such pain to them that they rely on their distortion of reality to help them live

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.

In History, we use memory as primary sources. These can give us first hand accounts of events that have occured in the past. Although there are often errors within one’s memory, but referring to a larger range of sources, Historians are able to make the distinction between fact and distorted reality.

In the arts, imagination is oft used to create and depict different forms of art. Although imagination is considered unreliable in more logical areas of knowing, in art-based AOK’s it is embraced. One’s creativity stems from their own vivid imagination, and can be harnessed to distort reality in such a way to convey the true meaning of our existence.on TOK Task #6 – Memory & Imagination


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.

I agree with this argument. In my opinion, logic is the thought process and system for determining the framework of arguments. It does not determine whether or not an argument will be true or false, as it is rather a way to structure reasoning rather than a specific truth. Pure logic is reasoning that can be applied to a wide variety of situations, but does not determine the extent to which the argument one makes will or will not be accurate.

As an example, drugs;

  1. Consistent drug use can alter ones brain chemistry
  2. Altering ones brain chemistry can result in long term detrimental effects to ones mental health

Conclusion: drugs are bad.

While this argument is, in fact, logical, it is not accurate in all situations. Drug abuse can, and often is, a bad decision that has harmful consequences, however could the same logic not be applied to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy? Chemotherapy has numerous health consequences, however in the longterm can cure one of their cancer. Therefore, the aforementioned argument cannot be applied to this example without being inaccurate. Furthermore, antidepressants;

  1. The SSRIs John’s psychiatrist prescribed him made him want to jump off a roof
  2. Jumping off of roofs can lead to death

Conclusion: SSRIs lead to suicide

Often Bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed as its more common cousin depression, and the patient is prescribed SSRI’s. Their consistent ingestion of this species of antidepressants can lead to an increased risk of suicide, as a result of the way the inhibitor reacts with their brain chemistry. Is this to suggest that SSRIs are, inherently, bad? No, it is not. It was a human error, that one could apply subjective logic to to question the reliability of antidepressants as a whole.


Therefore, pure logic is not concerned with the accuracy of its argument, but rather the general ideals and reasoning surrounding all arguments.


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

It should be aforementioned that in different regions across the world, different words have very, very different connotations. Take, for example, the word ‘moist’. Maybe it makes you shudder, or mayb;e it makes you moist. If you’re like me, that’ll make you uncomfortable. I was brought up for the greater half of my life in the UK, which most likely lead me to despise said adjective. I should probably give you some context…

In 2016, a least liked word survey was done in the UK. 

Betty Crocker, a famous renowned N’American brand, has this popular selling item.

So what caused this discrepancy in meaning? Cultural, or lack thereof, differences. If even within one language there is such variance, what is to be expected to be lost between two complete opposite languages?