Welcome to your iFolio

Your iFolio is a school provided web space that you will use throughout your time at CDNIS. You will use your iFolio to define your learning goals, show your learning journey, reflect on your learning and how you have developed your Approaches to Learning skills, share your best work and celebrate your achievements.

Your iFolio, in time will provide a better picture of who you are as a learner and as an individual. You are therefore highly encouraged to personalize your iFolio. You can start off by selecting one of the 60+ themes available.

Before you start using your new iFolio, follow the steps below to change the ‘Home’ link within your navigation menu to point to your site:

1. Go to your Dashboard menu options (link will open in a new tab)

2. Expand the ‘Home’ menu item by clicking on the downward facing arrow

Home Menu

Change Home Menu Attribute

3. Append the URL to read http://sites.cdnis.edu.hk/students/your_student_number, where your student number is in the form of six digits e.g. 012345 (you can find your student number on your library card)

Home URL

Home URL Link

A final note, please bear in mind that your iFolio is a publicly accessible space, and ensure that the content you post and the language you use is appropriate.

Feel free to delete this post from your Dashboard once you have finished reading it!

Featured image used in this post by Nathan via Flickr Creative Commons

Art and Beauty

Do you think that theories such as the elements and principles of design or the Darwinian explanation of art proposed by Dutton mean that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder?

Provide claims with examples in support of this KQ, and counter-claims and examples.

The commonly heard phrase of “beauty is in the eye of of the beholder” means that which one person finds beautiful or admirable may not appeal to another. This to me, refers to how beauty is subjective and there is no objective criteria for this, because it relies on each individual to judge what is beautiful and what is not. For the purpose of this post, I will be focusing on the visible side of beauty and the beauty behind the message of the artwork. However, there are theories against this proverb/claim. Theories such as the elements and principles of design means that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. Firstly, the elements and principals of design are a set of “rules and specifications” that determine how art should be made and the components that need to be evident within the art.

For example the elements of design include:

Colour & Line: line can be considered in two ways. The linear marks made with a pen or brush or the edge created when two shapes meet.

Shape: a shape is a self contained defined area of geometric or organic form. A positive shape in a painting automatically creates a negative shape.

Direction: all lines have direction – Horizontal, Vertical or Oblique. Horizontal suggests calmness, stability and tranquility. Vertical gives a feeling of balance, formality and alertness. Oblique suggests movement and action

Size: size is simply the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another.

Texture: texture is the surface quality of a shape – rough, smooth, soft hard glossy etc. Texture can be physical (tactile) or visual.
Value: value is the lightness or darkness of a colour. Value is also called Tone

While the principals of design include:

Balance

Gradation

Contrast

Repetition

Harmony

Dominance 

Unity

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder as these elements and principals of designed needs to be followed in order for a piece of artwork to be considered beautiful, so it does not rely on the individual to judge the degree of beauty, as beneath this judgement is the individual checking off the requirements under the elements and principals of design to determine its beauty.  For example, in Red Balloon by Paul Klee, this artwork follows the components of the theory:

According to the theory, the artwork displays evidence of contrast with the red balloon with the faded, light colours of the sky to further enhance the balloon. The painting also incorporates lines (buildings), while the artist transformed his experiments in tonal value and line into visual anecdotes etc.. Therefore, this would be considered beautiful as it follows the elements and principals of design, which means that what people find beautiful is based on this theory and not in the “eye of the beholder”.

However, the degree of beauty in a piece of artwork does depend on the eye of the beholder when it comes to the message behind the art piece. For example, in the elements and principals of design, it states that “repetition with variation is interesting, without variation repetition can become monotonous. If you wish to create interest, any repeating element should include a degree of variation.” In the painting “Bird fish” by M.C Esher, it displays the same image of a bird and a fish in the same pattern/order as well:

Even if this painting does not follow the rule that repetition should be “varied repetition”, but the purpose behind the painting would be to provide commentary tool of consumerism and mass production, and this message could be considered beautiful despite not being visibly/physically beautiful.

What is Art

Outline a clear argument in support (claim, explain, evidence)

Outline a clear counter-argument ((claim, explain, evidence)

Claim:

  • Unlike The Arts, Science tells us something valuable about the world.

Deconstructing the claim:

This claim states that Science informs us something that can add value to our lives, while the Arts cannot, as they both contrast with each other in terms of what they can offer to humanity. For the purposes of this ifolio post, valuable refers to being able to provide knowledge to the world, thus adding value to our lives.

Whenever the word “knowledge” comes up, it is often related to scientific knowledge, or mathematical knowledge, topics that have an objective criteria to be based upon. This is because of concrete evidence and an easier “right” or “wrong” judgement to pieces of knowledge from the sciences such as the number of valence electrons in the element of silver for example, where there is one answer to this query, which is what is meant by “easier” to judge objectively. However, of course it is not true to say that there couldn’t possibly be a “right” or “wrong” to the Arts, but it does contain a subjective aspect in this area of knowledge, making it more difficult for one “right” answer. Because of these complexities related to the Arts, it can be said that the Arts are unable to provide us something valuable (in terms of knowledge) about the world.

Firstly, scientific knowledge is testable, because it is based on facts about the world and thus provides us direct knowledge related to the atmosphere that surrounds us. Scientific knowledge can be measured and collected through observations and experiments. For example, in order to find the reasoning behind why the colour white is a result of all the colours of the rainbow. In the 1660s,  Isaac Newton started a range of experiments containing sunlight and prisms. He showed that clear white light was made up of seven visible colours. By scientifically setting up our visible spectrum (the colours in the rainbow), Newton established the path for others to test with colour in a scientific manner. In contrast, if someone were to find out the reasoning behind how we perceive colour through the Arts, this would not be valuable as it would not provide us knowledge as a solution to this question. The Arts could describe how colours appear, the symbolism behind those colours, but would not be able to provide the mechanisms as to why this occurs.

On the other hand, the Arts can provide us something valuable about the world. For example, it can give us moral knowledge. The Arts can make and shift our perspectives on what is “right” or “wrong”. For example, Ai Weiwei’s work can provide us a visual image about human rights and the corruption of society. Yet, it can also make us feel emotions towards these images, helping to justify or even shift our morals and views of this world. As we may perceive art with powerful pre-conceptions of our own morality that we have already established, nonetheless art can simply strengthen our moral knowledge.

Science vs Pseudoscience

It is unsurprising when we hear that experts in Art can’t always agree what ‘is’ and ‘is not’ Art.

We might say that the distinction between what ‘is’, and what ‘is not’ art, is not always clear.

Similar to the question of what is art, the distinction between science and pseudoscience is also not clear.

Analyze this claim.

It is often difficult to distinguish between science and pseudoscience for the properties they both contain. Firstly, science is about testing claims that is based on evidence. Pseudoscience however, is about claims without evidence that cannot be tested but are still being considered as being based off of a scientific method. The confusion here, is how claims in pseudoscience are still being considered as branching from the scientific method without concrete evidence, however, the reasoning behind this is “logical” to some extent as considered by some. The main difference between these two topics is that science has to do heavily with a set of proven principals, which is usually there to aid in explaining phenomena and facts. Pseudoscience on the other hand, is for people to put forward concepts or ideas, by presenting them in aspects that significantly follow scientific principals, however, do not measure up to scientific scrutiny. What this means is the weighing of certain evidence, designing and creating experiments, evaluating options, generating hypotheses and putting them to the test etc.

An example of science would be the explanation of why hair turns white/grey due to the reduction of pigment.  Science explains that hair gets its pigment from melanin. And because as hair is being formed, melanocytes inject pigment, the melanin, into certain cells containing keratin. Throughout the years, melanocytes will have a continuous affect of injecting pigment into the hair’s keratin, causing it to have a colourful hue. With age comes a reduction of melanin. The hair turns gray and eventually white. This is a form of inductive reasoning, where you make specific theories, to make conclusions or claims about what appears to be true. For example, if you observe and construct a hypothesis of how hair turns white as one’s age increases for 10 trials, then you may conclude that this would be the case for every human being.

On the other hand, an example related to pseudoscience would be hypnosis. Hypnosis has been famous for reducing stress, anxiety or pain. It is a way for deep relaxation, however, this subject is open to suggestions. The “scientific theory” for this was that mesmerism was said to involve a “magnetic fluid” or a type of special force with the title “animal magnetism”. There are theorists that claim the effects that hypnosis has on certain people. They induce that it is a changed state of consciousness or hypnotic trance in which very suggestible people obey the hypnotist in their won will and behave in ways that are uncharacteristic. For example, remembering forgotten events, forgetting actions that they  have just committed and obeying post-hypnotic suggestions to play out some embarrassing action when given the cue to do so. The counter claim to this would be that these effects are a result of role playing or suggestibility. Pseudoscience in fact, cannot be “proven” with inductive reasoning or deductive reasoning, as there is not solid, concrete evidence to “prove” anything at all, but just claims that may have “evidence” related to the scientific theory.

 

Intro to NS

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

The natural sciences do differ from other AOKs for its specific properties. Natural Science is different from other AOKs as it is a wide-ranging area of knowledge that has overlaps with the human sciences as well. However, it does deal with the natural physical world such as physics, biology, chemistry and geology. Natural sciences also deal with our own physiology such as medicine for example. One tricky topic is if our behaviour is considered to fall under the category of the natural sciences or human sciences.

When it comes to technology, it is usually discussed apart from the natural sciences as this is how we apply science, not necessarily science itself. The main part that differentiates natural science from other AOKs is that it is based on observation and based on using reason and imagination. Using prediction is also a huge part of the natural sciences on top of understanding the material as well.

I will be discussing the difference between natural science and human science as this seems a little more difficult to distinguish between as they are both facts. The differences between natural sciences and human sciences for example is that natural science is more concerned with the comprehension of the natural phenomenal that is based on observational and experimental evidence. However, in the human sciences, it is more concerned with the interactions and relationships between people and society. The natural sciences deals with inorganic and organic things, while the human sciences deals with the interconnectedness and relationships between people.

Identify any potential issues or questions that may arise when you consider your definitions.

Some potential issues that may arise when I consider the definition of natural sciences is how technology is made, that whether natural sciences is more involved in this process or if human sciences is more involved, as you would require both in this process. Another questions that may arise when we consider these definitions is the specific aspects of that natural sciences that can overlap with human sciences, and whether they help or hinder one when acquiring knowledge. The issue of how prediction is an importance aspect in both the natural sciences and human sciences can also arise when differentiating between them. As they both require educated guesses in order for progression and development, such as predicting the success of a company by using the SWOT analysis as a business tool in the human science of business management, and producing a hypothesis to test whether one chemical would impact the reaction rate of a dependant variable. So in this aspect, it would be more difficult to differentiate between the two as predictions do play a big part in both categories.

Faith and Intuition

Distinguish faith and intuition as WOKs.

Faith defines as having absolute trust or confidence in something/someone. A common misconception is that faith has to involve religion when this is not the case. Faith simply indicates a close affiliation or belief in some entity, organisation or even a movement. For example, having faith in certain politicians or a parent. A knowledge question that arises from this way of knowing is “Is it possible to understand and practice religion without faith?”. Intuition on the other hand, defines as the capability to comprehend something instinctively, with the lack of conscious reasoning. It links to the way of knowing of emotion in the sense that it helps guide us towards knowledge without conscious reasoning, but differing from emotion, it does not relate to going into another psychological state. In a way, it can referred to as a way of knowing that is “purer” than emotion, as it is going with your “gut feeling” and immediately becoming aware of something. Intuition is linked to the area of knowledge of ethics as it depends on this to decide if a decision made by this WOK is the “right” or “wrong” choice to make. For example, someone could have an intuition about not getting into the car to go to the supermarket because they have a “gut feeling” that something bad would happen (car accident etc.) if they did. This could relate to their ethical background and the values that they were taught when growing up.

Present a simple outline of the basic ‘problems’ of faith and intuition as WOKs

The basic limitations of faith as a WOK is the certainty of faith and how it prompts us to believe what we want to be true.

Certainty of faith:

Our beliefs are not always true, meaning that it is possible to know that something is not true later when we believed that it was true before. Knowing in a way is a state of mind. In a time when we know that something is true, we believe this with great certainty. However, the act of knowing something does not necessarily mean that something is in fact true. A belief that is strongly experienced or acknowledged has a possibility of being false. The feelings that we experience towards a subject may be real, but the reality they point to does not mean it is true. For example, you may believe that you are helpless or worthless to society in a time of depression. Despite the fact that you know you are, you may not be. People that commit suicide because of depression have significant faith in their depression thoughts and ideas. Beliefs that are faith-based are what they are, they cannot be corrected through experience or thought.

Prompting us to believe what we want to be true:

Research shows that people tend to interpret ambiguous knowledge in a perspective that benefits their own interests. Our beliefs can sometimes be self-serving biases. This means that because we want to maintain or enhance our self-esteem, giving credit for success of our own abilities and efforts but also to ascribe failures on external sources. For example, a student that desires a good grade on a test that he/she had worked hard on but receives a poor grade could put the blame on the teacher for having difficult questions to preserve self-esteem.

Intuition has the limitation of:

Intuition based systems are not able to do long term predictions. Intuition is unable to do high precision predictions. They are also not as productive because they are unable to create new knowledge by implementing mechanical manipulation of the existing theory as there isn’t anything existing that is a “theory”.

Intuition also needs prior experience in order to use this as a way of knowing. Intuition is gained by learning, and it is beneficial if one person encounters the exact/same situation once more. Without prior experience that has the exact situation, one has to make a generalisation of a previous “example” experience so that they could guess what the “resulting” event will be which is why intuition may be a disadvantage when it comes to acquiring knowledge.

Present a simple outline of the justifications for faith and intuition as WOK

However, there are definitely justifications for these ways of knowing despite their flawed areas. Faith gives motivation. In the area of knowledge of the natural sciences, it is supported by the belief that the universe is well ordered and that human beings are able to uncover and comprehend natural laws. The scientific advancement is surprisingly driven by people losing faith in theories held before and finding faith in new theories. Intuition, speaking in relation to the natural sciences for example, is justified as a scientific approach needs vast collections of data and consistent gathering of information to control and look over choices or decisions. Scientific information is based on past information as well, and intuition would help make these decisions when acquiring knowledge about certain topics.

Language

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

If questions arise naturally, articulate them.

In class, we discussed about whether the vagueness and ambiguity of language would always limits the production of knowledge. Language defines as “the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way”. However, this “method” varies for different types of people around the world as they have been brought up differently.

What differs the most roots in their culture, traditions, religion etc. This is due to the geographical separation between certain groups of people, and depending on where they grew up, they were taught to follow certain beliefs and rituals that eventually make up language. Humans are required to communicate if they want to innovate, explore creativity or to develop. But if language is so “vague”, does this automatically mean that it would always limit the production of knowledge? In speech or writing specifically , vagueness is the imprecise or unclear use of language. And especially in these forms of communicating, production occurs frequently. However, the vagueness and ambiguity of language does not necessarily mean that this limits the production of knowledge although it is sometimes limiting. If language is more general and less specific when communicating from one to another in order to produce knowledge, then this gives a general idea to the knowledge producer but leaves the precise meaning to the receiver’s interpretation to further produce knowledge.

For example, in Vagueness as a Political Strategy (2013), Giuseppina Scotto di Carlo sees that vagueness is “a pervasive phenomenon in natural language, as it seems to be expressed through nearly all linguistic categories.” In short, as philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said, “Vagueness is an essential feature of the language”, and also suggests that in the area of knowledge of history or the arts (linguistic categories), vagueness is required as it can be a persuasive technique used to appeal to the respective target audiences. So therefore in this case, it would not limit the producer of knowledge as a result of the vagueness and ambiguity in language, but would provide them a new technique on how to convince their audience to achieve their purpose of producing their claims/thoughts.

However, the counter-side of this argument would be that need in oratory of the specific example, either in place of or immediately following the general statement, cannot be too strongly urged by generalisations/vagueness. In one of George Ade’s Forty Modern Fables a man has certain stock phrases which he uniformly uses in all discussions in relation to the areas of knowledge of the arts, literature, and music; and the moral is, ‘For parlor use, the vague generality is a life-saver.’ But for the public speaker, generalisations are useless for either imparting or impressing his thought; a single concrete example has far more convincing and persuasive force.”

Moreover, vagueness and ambiguity are both limiting and practical when it comes to producing knowledge, but it is important to remember who this is aimed at and who the target audience receiving this knowledge is, as this is what determines the extent of the advantages of using vagueness as a tool in language.

Memory and Imagination

Memory and Imagination “Cheat Sheet”:

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.

There are definitely limitations when it comes to the ways of knowing of memory and imagination. Imagination in the theory of knowledge, defines as the capability or action of creating new ideas, images or concepts of external objects that are not evident to the senses, or/and the ability of the mind to be resourceful and creative. Imagining is about projecting oneself into the situation of another, and then perceiving of one’s own opinions and beliefs in that situation. This is why imagination is composed of pretend opinions and beliefs that are run off-line, detached from their usual perceptual inputs and behavioural outputs. Memory defines as the cognitive processes where past or previous experiences are kept. This, again, has the limitations of differing for every person as not every single person would remember the same event the same way.

However, despite the limitations that both these ways of knowing may have, they have developed in such a way as to overcome them. For example, the moral backbone of literature is regarding the entire query of memory and imagination. Imagination was elevated to a place as the highest faculty of the mind. This juxtaposed noticeably with the traditional disagreements for the supremacy of reason. The Romantics had the tendency to define and to present the imagination as humanity’s eventual “shaping” or creative power, the estimated human equivalent of the creative powers of nature. Imagination is not a passive power, but it is dynamic and active with various functions and purposes. Imagination is the main capability for creating all art. In a more general sense, it is also the faculty that aids humans in constituting reality, as we not only perceive the world around us, but also in part create it. Imagination also unites reason and feeling, it allows us to see the “what if” through our “what have been”s through our memory. Imagination allows humans to reunite differences and opposites in the world that shows appearance. The reunion of differences is a main ideal for the Romantics.

The Romantics highlighted the curative power of the imagination, as they really trusted that it could allow people to go beyond their difficulties and their conditions. Their creative talents could light up and convert the Earth into a coherent vision, to regenerate mankind in a spiritual manner. In A Defence of Poetry (1821), Shelley, an English writer, raised the status of poets: ‘They measure the circumference and sound the depths of human nature with a comprehensive and all-penetrating spirit…’. He declared that ‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’. This could sound a little artificial, but its purpose is to to transport the faith the Romantics contained within their poetry.

 

 

Reason

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.

When someone is trying to explain or gain knowledge in an area, they may try to use reasoning to do so, depending on logic or “common sense” as per say. But how can we determine the validity of an argument or explanation through reasoning? In class, we were taught two types of reasoning: Deductive and inductive reasoning.

Deducting reasoning defines as arguments that move from general to the particular, in which it is a logical process that a conclusion bases upon the concordance of various premises that are usually believed to be true. For example, you are hungry for a fruit to eat. You find a carrot, black beans and a Fuji. You know that both the carrot and the black beans are not fruits. Making the conclusion that the Fuji is a fruit. Another form of deductive reasoning would be syllogism which is written in the form:

A is B
C is A
Therefore, C is B

By putting the example above in this form, it would be:

Premise: All apples are fruits.
Premise: A Fuji is an apple.
Conclusion: Therefore, a Fuji is a fruit.

In relation to the first premise, it conveys that all things that are considered as apples are considered as fruits. For the second premise, it expresses that a Fuji is an apple. The first premise shows a general statement, and the second premise instead, shows a more specific case which is what it means by moving from general to the particular. As the conclusion says that a Fuji is a fruit because of its properties that satisfies it being an apple, does this mean all premises and conclusions are truthful just because the argument is valid? Here is an example in the context of the area of knowledge of religion. All humans believe that the crucifixion of Jesus acts as the atonement of sins. A Buddhist is a human. Therefore all Buddhists believe that  the crucifixion of Jesus acts as the atonement of sins.

Given the premises that all humans have this belief and Buddhists fall into the category of humans, it may be logical to assume that this results in all Buddhists believing that the crucifixion of Jesus acts as the atonement of sins. The argument may be valid, but it may not be in fact true. Buddhists in fact believe in the direct opposite of what this belief describes as. Because conclusions are a result of the premises, if one of the premises are not true, then the conclusion would be false as well.

Inductive reasoning however, is reasoning that utilises specific information and makes a broader generalisation that is considered to be anticipated. It is about making a conclusion based off of observations, although it allows for the fact that the conclusion may be flawed or invalid. An example of this would be if someone were to observe and find that many black labradors were being walked by elderly people. Then they would assume that black labradors are exclusively owned by elderly people. But just because this pattern exists in the situation this does not mean it exists for ALL situations. Another example would be in the context of mathematics. In geometry, a person could see that in a couple of given rectangles, the diagonals are congruent. The observer could use inductive reasoning to show that in all rectangles, the diagonals are congruent. Even if this may be true, the person does not have enough evidence to prove so because of the limited observations.However, inductive reasoning can lead to the creation of a hypothesis, which can be proven true later on.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of deductive and inductive reasoning, and it is important to understand that proving something to be universally true can be very difficult if not impossible, for the amount of diversity that exists.

 

 

Sense perception

In class, we were asked to think about the claim “even though there are problems with our perceptual systems, this doesn’t mean that knowledge gained from our senses is completely unreliable”. When we choose to believe to believe in something, we often base that on something that we have experienced or have seen, as that acts as evidence or validation for our belief. But this method of validation may not always be reliable, as we don’t always see what is true. What I mean by this is that we are limited by our psychologies. What if we were only able to capture that moment instead of processing it? We have seen it, but do we really understand what it actually means/is? Some other limitations of our perceptual systems include how we assume normal text and filter our abnormalities and how our mind can fill in a picture to fill in our past experience or expectation that may not be true. However, despite these limitations, the knowledge gained from our senses is not completely unreliable. 

How do we know something is true? Is it just because it is believed to be universally true? It depends on what we have been told in the past and what we have experienced as an individual or a society. Therefore, even if there are limitations to our sense perceptions, it does not mean that they are totally unreliable. Focusing on the area of knowledge of natural sciences for example. In business, when a company relies on observing the market audience in order to achieve a higher profit when selling their product. Even if it was just by observing, this does not mean that it is totally unreliable. This is because they could use a universally known source to help back up their point of view. For example, according to theorist Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and wants, the business could use this source on top of their own perception to make a decision about the level of needs and wants that need to be satisfied before selling a product or a service.