Memory and Imagination

 

  1. 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.

Both imagination and memory as a way of knowing are imperfect. Imagination can mislead people on how they interpret situations as fantasy might lead us to imagine things that are impossible for logic to prove. Our memory can be unreliable at times as people have the tendency to fill in gaps of missing information with what they believe is true so that a logical chain is made. Research shows that what we feel when experiencing an event, has more to do with remembering it, even if it was insignificant or worth remembering. Sometimes we may not realize it, but every day we are forming new memories with imaginations, discarding old ones and recollecting those that we thought we’d never see so clearly in our mind’s eye.

To overcome the challenges in history, people started to record history in different forms. Before words were invented, human used oral tradition which is the passing of history through verbal communication as a way of preserving memory. The problem with oral tradition is that it might be biased.  This is possible because of nature of transmission itself. Oral transmission is full of imagination, exaggeration, creativity. Oral tradition does not go very far in the past. The transmission of information depends on the power of memories of successive generations. Therefore human started to record history in written form. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with Sumerian Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC. Through the documents of the written communication top executive can present the information more accurately and clearly. Also, in this communication system information is recorded permanently. So, there is less possibility of distortion and alteration of the information. Natural Science is another area of knowledge that has overcome this challenge. For example, when we were to understand the growth and division of cells, we would first read about the process in textbooks and imagine the movements in the cell in our minds. However, this is not reliable because the picture we have in our mind might be completely different in reality. There is no way of explaining it in real life. The invention of the microscope allowed us to view very tiny organisms and rely less on our imagination.

 

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.

Simply post your thoughts with reference to at least one AOK.

I agree with this statement. An argument can be invalid even if its conclusion is true, and an argument can be valid even if its conclusion is false. We often try to make sense of something through a series of statements using two types of reasoning- deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning.

Deductive reasoning starts with a broad general principle and examines the possibilities to reach a certain conclusion. Deductive reasoning usually follows steps. A common example would be “ Every A is B, This C is A.” The two premises would lead to the conclusion “This C is B”. 

In deductive reasoning, if something is true of a class of things in general, it is also true for all members of that class. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that the argument is valid. An example is shown above:

“All psychological scientists conduct empirical research.

I conduct empirical research.

Therefore, I am a psychological scientist.”

It is assumed that the premises “ All psychological scientists conduct empirical research.” and “She conducts empirical research.” are true. Therefore, the conclusion is true and logical. Yet it is not a valid argument as All psychological scientists conduct empirical research and so do I. However, that’s not what tells us that I am a psychological scientist. I might be someone who conducts empirical research but isn’t a psychological scientist at all.

There are also times when the premises are false but the argument is valid. Consider the following example:

“All bald men are grandfathers.

Harold is bald.

Therefore, Harold is a grandfather”.

In this situation, the generalization is not true but it manages to come to a logical conclusion. The premise is false “”All bald men are grandfathers”, there are grandfathers who are not bald, but the entire argument is valid logically.

Inductive reasoning, on the contrary, makes broad generalizations from specific observations. We often do so in science experiments. We created an experiment to test our hypothesis, we collected data and through the data, we create a conclusion based on the data. Yet, there might be loopholes in conclusions. Here’s an example:

“Harold is a grandfather.

Harold is bald.

Therefore, all grandfathers are bald.”

Both “Harold is a grandfather” and “Harold is bald.” are facts, yet the conclusion does not follow logically from the statements. Even if all of the premises are true in a statement, inductive reasoning allows for the conclusion to be false. 

Sense Perception

Even though there are problems with our perceptual systems, this doesn’t mean that knowledge gained from our senses is completely unreliable.

Discuss this claim with reference to at least one Areas of Knowledge.

*Try to keep this within a few paragraphs.

**Use real examples to back up your arguments

***Remember to explore counter-arguments

Today in class, we discussed about Sense Perception which is categorised under Ways of Knowing. We learnt that there is no direct connection from mind to the subject, instead, it is affected by how our mind perceives and interpret. We would often fill in the unknowns in our minds through our expectations or personal experience in order to understand why something is the way it is. We would often search for meanings and patterns within these subjects. We see things highly subjective as we don’t take account of the context of the subject. We only believe things that we see true. We cannot interpret the world purely based on sight, as the way we perceive things involves the search for meanings and patterns. For example, when scientists do experiments, they tend to only focus on the observations that favour their hypothesis and completely ignore the ones that go against their hypothesis. As different people may perceive in different ways, by using only our sense perceptions to analyze information, it may lead to wrong conclusions.

There may be problems with our perceptual system, that doesn’t mean that knowledge we gain is unreliable. For example, we were taught that something is blue, however in the lens of other, they might see my blue as their yellow. This is something we can never find out. But we all agree that that is the certain colour and we accept them. In terms of Art, different people have different interpretation of an art piece as how we interpret the work is influenced by how we were brought up, our past experiences and expectations. These factors all contribute to how we see it. For example, seeing the colour of blue for some people might trigger sad moments in the past experience while others might trigger calming and relaxing moments. But there really isn’t a “right” or “wrong” perception, as the reliability of this perception is dependent on the individual themselves.

 

Emotion

The arts are all about emotional expression: emotion is the most important thing in this area of knowledge. 

Arguments that support the claim:

Emotion plays a key role in arts.Emotion does not have to be shown physically directly from one person to another, it can be shown through the hours of effort put into a painting or performed through other people. It is a way for people to communicate and express their feelings. A lot of the themes are embedded in the art pieces are the artist’s emotions felt when going through certain experience or their opinion towards a particular issue. In order to understand an art piece, one would often associate it with past emotions. For example, when we were observing painting or photos of bring and open landscapes, it often provokes a feeling of beauty, relaxation, and happiness as we felt the same way from past experiences. Visual images of dark and obscure portraits would typical evokes the emotion of anxiety and fear because people might have encountered unpleasant feeling when interacting with dark.  Another example of emotions found in art is the artwork of Ai Wei Wei.  His artwork shows his anger and criticism towards the Chinese government. Without incorporating his emotions and criticisms into his artwork, Ai Wei Wei would not have been as popular as he is now.  This example clearly shows the emotional expression in form of art is an essential way of expression in this area of knowledge.

Counter-arguments:

  • Although arts may contain emotion expression, it may not be the most important factor. Techniques and styles are sometimes considered the most important aspect. If you attempt to make an art work based only on emotion, not all people are able to understand the message within the artwork and appreciate the work that they produced. For example, people have a hard time understanding the artwork that babies created and their artwork may not be as valuable as the ones created by famous artists. In music, a song can be created without expressions. There are so basic structures that all songs need to follow through, such as having a Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Bridge / Chorus or other combinations. The melody can be randomly created or based on scales.

I agree that arts to some extent require emotion when trying to understanding to artwork or to create the artwork. However, it is not the most important factor, I believe that having the technique to create artwork is the most important aspect. Without the techniques, people will not be able to see the emotions and messages that are conveyed.