TOK: Truth in the Arts

4 Dec , 2018  

Read the two short essays and the chapter reading below.



Chapter Reading

  1. Summarize what the main point(s) of the two essays into one short paragraph each.
  2. How do both of these essays reflect what is presented in chapter reading about truth in art?



In the first essay provided by Martine Powers, it explains the power of Art compared to other areas of knowledge, including literature, science and history. Arts are more subjective in nature compared to these, but they still tell a very powerful story and actually tell factual information from a human perspective, which validates the experience even more and makes the story more personal. The essay explains the truth, and how although Arts do not have as much literal or factual truth as other areas of knowledge, truth can be defined in the arts as more than veritable information, but information on how events were perceived by humans and the impact it had on humans.

In the second essay, it explains the different definitions of Truth, as in many works of Art, the truth is displayed factually, like the images of objects, such as guns and bullets to explain violence, but that might always be the truth. There are many different angles an artist can take, and each artist can choose to omit certain details of a scene or include certain details of a scene. Every single person has their individual mind and perception and will look at a scene based on their beliefs, attitudes and ideologies. The essay concludes with questioning the need for finding truth in works of art, and how relying on Art for truth can actually diminish its value.

In the chapter reading, in the beginning, it reflects ideas discussed in the second essay about how photographs may not always display truth, as they could be manipulated and made to reflect an individual’s attitudes, values, beliefs and ideologies. The chapter reading also states that photographs also only capture one fragment of reality, as in the next second, the photo would change. However, paintings could not be digitally manipulated, but are made to reflect one’s imagination and visions, and would not be a mirror to real life, which relates to the second essay, about art not needing to display truth. The chapter reading agrees with the claims made in the second essay but does not agree with the claims made in the first essay. In the first essay, they stated that truth in the arts was how events were perceived by humans and the impact it had on humans, but in the chapter reading, it states that there is no truth in Art, but lies made to help us understand the truth, which was stated by Picasso.


TOK: The Arts Part 2

23 Nov , 2018  

Without the group to verify it, art is not possible.

Discuss this using an explanation, example/evidence, counter argument and synthesis.


Art requires authority. Authority can be considered as an overarching group/ organization, but could also be peers and the Art community as a whole. These two figures would determine the accurate definition of what Art is, not by the written word, but by the context of the Art piece. Context must be given in order to truly understand whether the creation that is shown is Art or not. For example, an Art piece’s context could include the fact that it was made intentionally, not accidentally, which would be a key figure into believing if a piece is truly Art. If there was no group or provision, Art would be considered a “joke”. There would be nothing about it, just another word for “everything”. If everything is Art, then there would not be any Art at all. If I made a dent in the wall, that would be Art. The trash in my garbage bin would be Art as well. For something to be considered Art, there must be group verification, or else the word would lose all meaning, and Art would not be possible.

However, Art can also depend on the perspective of oneself. Realistically, there is no Art organization that looks at every piece of Artwork and decided whether it is Art or not. Except for important pieces, there is no community that verifies each piece of Artwork and decides whether it is Art or not. There is no group to verify it, yet there is still artwork everywhere. If there are no authority figures, how is Art possible. Well, it only depends on perspective and perception. A known fact of Art is that it is extremely subjective, and that would hold true in this case as well that Art depends on the artist’s perspective to feel if it is Art or not. The artist would have a gut feeling which would indicate whether he believes what he created was actually Art or not. No one else could look at that artist’s artwork and decide whether it was artwork or not, as they do not have the thinking behind it. The artist could easily say that he believes his work is Art but would know that it is really is not, which would not make the work Art. Since it depends on the author’s perception of Art, Art could still be possible without group verification.

I believe that Art could function and exist without group verification. After all, there is very little group verification in the first place. Of course, Art could lose all meaning without authority, but if the Artist really believes that his work could be considered Art, he would place it out there and help form the respected Artistic world that we see today.




TOK: Introduction to the Arts

22 Nov , 2018  

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

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

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


The Arts do not tell us something valuable as it is purely subjective. There are too many interpretations of Art, and everyone would have a different opinion on what Art is and what each means. For example, one person could interpret the Mona Lisa as a self-portrait or someone else could interpret the Mona Lisa as symbolism for the olden times. There are just too many directions to go with the Mona Lisa that it won’t tell anything valuable or concrete. Science can tell valuable things about the world. Science is the opposite of Arts, in that it is mostly objective. Mostly everything in Science is concrete and is supported by evidence, and many studies do tell us something about the world. For example, a study about why eating vegetables prevents cancer would be extremely valuable, and would actually be beneficial to everyone.

The Arts tell us valuable information about the world and the people in it. Although the Arts may not provide anything concrete, it can still provide valuable information about the people creating the Art, and learning different lenses. With Art and with other’s people’s interpretation, we can view our world through a different lens, which could spark a whole new mindset about the world. For example, if someone watches a play about bullying, they could just interpret as the different ways of bullying, but another person could view it as the way how society will reach its downfall. This will change people’s way of thinking and will inspire them to think a new way, which is how they could be valuable.


TOK: Competing Hypotheses

6 Oct , 2018  

How can scientists decide between competing hypotheses

Develop your response with specific examples and counter-arguments.


There are many different factors that decide whether a hypothesis is more effective than the other. However, hypotheses can be described as arguments/ideas that have not been proven yet. In a realistic viewpoint, I feel that they should be tested primarily, as that is the only true way of knowing if a hypothesis is true or not. However, even if a hypothesis is tested out, there is usually no definite truth to whether the hypothesis is true or not, as it could only be true for the data that has been tested out. It can be argued that falsifiability can work to prove a hypothesis true, but even so, it would never lead a hypothesis to become fully true, as you’re just proving that nothing can prove the hypothesis false. But, this question is assuming the TOK perspective, which means that it cannot be tested out, which leads us to use the different factors involved in sorting this out: Occam Razor’s, Accuracy, and Consistency/Logical Coherence.

Occam’s Razor

Occam’s Razor as a factor to decide between competing hypotheses is a big question mark. It is entirely subjective and involves no objective proof. This would make it difficult to use in the scientific world, as scientists cannot really use “simplicity” as a factor to determine the credibility of one hypothesis over the other. However, if Occam’s Razor was to be used with another factor, it would increase the credibility of the hypothesis and could be accepted into the scientific world. Occam’s Razor states that the hypotheses with fewer assumptions and more simplicity would be preferred. I would have to agree with this as if you make too many assumptions, your argument becomes more of a stretch. For example, the formula x + y =3 would be much simpler than x + y + z = 3, as it involves much fewer assumptions and would, therefore, be much more accepted.


Accuracy is more important of a factor than Occam’s Razor. Data needs to be accurate or else a pattern would not exist. Like Occam’s Razor, if there is very little accuracy in the data, but the hypothesis still has a pattern, it would be considered as a “stretch”, as you’re trying to find some sort of pattern that is not very pertinent. If there is no accuracy to your data, it would be invalid entirely, which would invalidate your entire hypothesis. This also depends on any uncertainties or anomalies. Anomalies and uncertainties play a huge role for validating your data, as if the uncertainty levels are too high or if they are too many anomalies, it would effectively display that your data contains some if any, accuracy. For example,  for displaying data of sea levels during the time of day, a linear line would be preferred to a parabola (even though this is obviously not the case), as it displays a clear trend line in contrast to the parabola, which shows a less pertinent trend. There are no counter arguments to this paragraph, as accuracy is vital to creating an effective hypothesis.

Consistency/Logical Coherence

Consistency and Logical Coherence work together to ensure the credibility of the scientist who is creating the claim. A hypothesis has to be consistent with its points and arguments, or else it would show the author’s misunderstanding of his/her own hypothesis. Even if the author strays away from the points or goes on a tangent, it would show his lack of concentration towards the matter at hand, and discredit his work, even if it may be more correct than others. Other scientists would assume that his lack of sense would be displayed in his data collection, and would lead them to believe that his data must be incorrect. This works similarly to Logical Coherence. There must be logical coherence in an argument, or else other scientists would perceive his work to have lost all meaning. However, people may still believe in the data of someone’s work if they are not consistent or logically cohere. They may have lost respect from other scientists and may not be considered seriously, but their work may still be considered truer than others, and their hypothesis may be the chosen one. Even with this, it would be extremely difficult to be chosen if you don’t have the consistency or logical coherence. For example, if a scientist completed a hypothesis is on pro-global warming, but state that they support Trump’s thinking towards global warming, they have lost all credibility, even though the data they present may be somewhat true.

Accuracy is the most important factor to determine whether a hypothesis would be chosen over the other one and followed by Consistency/Logical Coherence and least of all, Occam’s Razor. A hypothesis needs accuracy, or else it would have no evidence, and would be immediately disputed. Consistency and Logical Coherence are also quite important, but not vital to proving if a hypothesis would be accepted more than the others. Occam’s Razor does work, but cannot be used in a scientific argument, as it must be paired with another factor to work. If a hypothesis has more accuracy, consistency, logical coherence, and simplicity than another, it would be sure to be more readily accepted.




TOK: Science vs Pseudoscience

28 Sep , 2018  

It is unsurprising when we hear that experts in Art can’t always agree with what ‘is’ and ‘is not’ Art. We might say that the distinction between what ‘is’, and what ‘is not’ art, is not always clear.


The distinction between science and pseudoscience is unclear.

Evaluate this claim.


This claim is an example of pseudoscience. It’s not science, as that has more clear distinctions. There is no clear distinction of what is Art, as it all depends on perception. The claim is entirely subjective, therefore it means that it is unfalsifiable. There is no way to prove that what is Art is false, and there is also no way to prove that what is Art is true, making it unfalsifiable on both sides. There is no way to prove which art is not art, it all depends on personality. Technically, it could be testable, which might have its responses stating that the specific piece is not art, but the argument could be made that it is all a mere coincidence. It also definitely not verifiable, as you can’t verify if Art is actually art. The general opinion towards Art figures that more quality artwork would be considered art, but art with less quality would not be. However, there is no actual scale for what is considered art, so everything would be also actually be considered subjective. Therefore, I would say that there is no general distinction between what is actually art and what is not art, as it is unfalsifiable, which makes it entirely subjective.



TOK: Introduction to the Natural Sciences

21 Sep , 2018  

Consider a claim in history such as: “Napoleon was a great leader”.

Why would such a claim not be considered ‘scientific’?


There are many reasons why this claim would not be considered as scientific. First of all, it already mentions that the claim is from History, which is a human science, not a natural science. As it is part of human science, it could be considered as “scientific”, but since the topic is named “Introduction to the Natural Sciences”, I would assume the definition of “scientific” would only refer to the natural sciences. Even without the History signature, it refers to Napoleon, a human. Of course, to differentiate between natural sciences and human sciences in terms of people, natural sciences can refer to biology and the specific functions inside one individual. Human sciences refer to the interactions between different people and calling him a leader would refer to his leadership skills with other people.

Second of all, this claim is entirely subjective. There are so many different perspectives to this claim, as many different people would view him as a leader, and many people would not. Being “scientific” refers to capturing accurate data or ensuring a valid theory. It is true that science may not always have true statements, but they have the evidence to back up any theories or explanations, while human sciences cannot provide any evidence to point to the fact that Napoleon was a great leader. Therefore, Scientific claims must be able to have substantial evidence and an objective viewpoint, while this claim does not have the ability to have substantial evidence and has a subjective viewpoint, which makes it not scientific.



TOK: Getting to the TOK

16 Sep , 2018  

Starting with a first order (real life) claim from one of your DP classes, explain what second order (TOK) claims it suggests.


First Order Claim – To understand the factors for why Hong Kong housing is so expensive, the consultation of economic experts is required to understand.

Second Order Claims – Key Ideas in the Human Sciences can only be interpreted by people familiar with the topic.

-Different perceptions of a topic are vital to gaining a deeper of understanding of the topic.


First Order Claim – To create an app relating to elementary maths, the developer must go through the Design Process of Inquiring, Designing, Creating and Evaluating.

Second Order Claims- Innovation or creation of a new idea requires the creators to take all necessary steps to complete them.

-Any idea or innovation must go through a series of steps to ensure that it is completed to its full extent.


Articulate the questions that might be interesting/useful to explore in response to the TOK level claims.


-What are the criteria to decide whether a person is familiar with a topic?

-Would different perceptions just confuse the person or would they actually gain a deeper understanding?


-What would happen if the necessary steps were not taken?

-How can we measure if an idea or innovation has been completed to its full extent?

Explain how exploring the TOK question is relevant/useful to better understanding or dealing with the real-life claim.

The TOK questions that I have created ensure the validity of the TOK claims that I have created. There can also be different perceptions to a claim, and with the TOK questions, I have ensured that the TOK claim that I have created is valid. The TOK claims are much broader claims than the real-life claims which help make me understand the real-life claim much more. Since it focuses on a broader spectrum, it can help me understand concepts that pertain to the real-life claim and concepts that don’t relate to the real-life claim but relate to the TOK claim. Essentially, TOK questions ensure the validity of the TOK claims and the TOK claims help people understand a deeper meaning of life, which also helps people to understand the real-life claim that is presented also.




TOK: Language as a WOK

5 Sep , 2018  

“Do the problems of language always limit the production of knowledge?”

Consider knowledge questions BEFORE you plan

  • Support arguments with real examples
  • Suggest counter arguments or weaknesses
  • Articulate a conclusion that avoids over-simplification


In my opinion, Language does limit the production of knowledge to a very small extent. There are many different ways to interpret knowledge, and each has its own connotation. For example, Scientists view nature according to Biology and Ecology methods, while Artists take in the depth and complexity of the environment around them. Having these two very different mindsets makes it much more difficult to understand the other mindset. Of course, people can have both these 2 mindsets and even more, but one is always greater than ever, as you can only devote your life and career to one mindset. These 2 different mindsets also make it difficult to understand people with the other mindset. For example, Liberal Arts’ students would find it more difficult to relate to a Science student, making it difficult to understand each other, which limits the production of knowledge of each other (human knowledge). However, it can be argued that this barrier in knowledge can strengthen the emotional capacity of a relationship, which means that in this specific example, the benefit of this barrier would be the ability to strengthen one’s Emotion, as the only way you can communicate knowledge to each other would be with Emotion.

Of course, the production of knowledge also may not require language. This can be done through experiences and other Ways of Knowing. For example, using sense perception to feel all the objects around you help to gain more knowledge. If you touch the wall, you can feel that the wall has a certain hardness. Also with Faith, by just believing something, you don’t have to use knowledge but can understand the feeling of having Faith in a certain religion or idea. Some AOKs can also be the same universally, such as Mathematics and Science. Sure, they could be written in different languages, but the key idea of these AOKs and if they were translated would be the same thing. Everyone views Mathematics and Science the same way, as they don’t use that much abstract logic.

There are many ways that Language can or cannot limit the production of knowledge. In the “can” way, Language limits the production of knowledge by not allowing people to understand each other mindsets and not understand how others view the world. However, the production of knowledge may not even require language in the first place, as you can use the other Ways of Knowing such as Faith and Sense Perception to gain more knowledge about the world around you. Some AOKs can also be taught the same universally, leaving no language barrier to limit the pursuit of knowledge.


TOK: WOK and Knowledge

25 Aug , 2018  

  1. a) Outline the role of 1 WOK in 1 AOK in the production of knowledge.

There are many WOKs that can assist in the production of knowledge of AOKs, but I feel that the most significant one is Imagination and Art. The production of knowledge in the Arts is creating artwork, as that artwork would express the knowledge that has been thought into the piece. Art is all about creativity, and creativity comes from the imagination. Essentially, art can only be made from the imagination. People can say that Art can also come from emotion, which is true, but the emotion would be built into the imagination to form the artwork. However, other people might say that art can not from imagination, but a memory. Work can be built from memory, but it would not be considered artwork as there would be no creative element involved. It would simply be mimicking artwork.

  1. b)  Knowing that WOKs are a double-edged sword (they are sources of knowledge and are fallible) how do any subject areas in your AOK guard against the weaknesses of the WOK you chose?

WOKs can be fallible at times, but if they are assisted with the right AOK, they can help guard against their weaknesses. One major WOK that is fallible is Memory. It is difficult to rely on memory, as it is not always right. However, History, the AOK, can help validify the memory. History does not only mean ancient history but can include recent history as well. Recreating the history of the memory can help make sure that the memory is true or false, and can be used as evidence that it was indeed correct or incorrect. Fallibility can also occur with Intuition. Someone’s gut feeling may not always be the right answer, so it needs evidence to back it up. The type of evidence differs with the type of Intuition. Usually, with Intuition, natural sciences provide the evidence necessary to validify the argument. Natural sciences provide the reasoning and the data for the argument, to provide if it was true or not.


TOK: Knowledge and Explaining

20 Aug , 2018  

What do you think TOK is, and why does the IB make you take it?

I feel that TOK will be a very abstract concept that focuses on many different ways of knowledge and how we understand it. It will focus on how we gain knowledge and offers insight into how we know what we know, and where all our thinking is coming from. I think that TOK is essentially Philosophy which is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence. Especially since TOK is “Theory of Knowledge”, it will focus on the knowledge part of philosophy, but delving a little bit into the nature of our reality and existence. I believe that a lot of the content that we will learn will come from our knowledge and understanding when we first born and did not have any knowledge, and how we were able to connect to our emotions and feelings without having the knowledge to explain them.


The IB makes us take TOK as it is an essential part of our lives. Learning about philosophy should be essential at one point in our lives, so the IB prepares us by learning TOK at this point, instead of at a younger age, where we would not understand the course material, or at an older age, where we could build a foundation from TOK, instead of learning it at that point. The nature of our knowledge, existence, and reality is also something that everyone is curious about, which is why everyone has to take it. TOK can also help in many career paths, like therapy or another career in the human sciences, and is also the foundation for deeper thinking and learning which can help in many other IB subjects.

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