TOK Task #6 – Memory & Imagination


Memory Imagination
Role in pursuit of knowledge
  • allows one to utilise prior knowledge to further understand something
  • what we learn is the definition of concepts we have previously understand (refined)
  • allows one to understand something in more vivid imagery to understand it further
  • cognitive biases → affects how we understand and know something when we learn it
  • we fill in the blank spots in our memory with ideas that may not necessarily be true/reliable (may be imagination)
  • faults in memory, problems pertaining to memory (e.g. Alzheimer’s)
  • makes it difficult for someone to fully understand non-abstract concepts (understanding of straightforward concepts being deterred by created ideas)
  • distracts from reality
  • fabricates certain facts when understanding/acquiring knowledge
Link between others
  • sense perception: we do not always recall things exactly the way they were when we originally perceived them
  • emotion: can cause a bias when recalling things from memory (e.g. traumatic experiences having influences on understanding)
  • language: one might not completely remember what someone said word for word, which may cause an alteration in understanding
  • sense perception: what we know allows us to experience imagination more vividly
  • emotion: someone’s mood can affect the way they believe or see something, and could potentially cause them to imagine something instead of actually seeing it
  • reason: almost acts like the counter of imagination, as imagination requires more creativity and reasoning may be more factual and straightforward

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 the arts, imagination is best employed to allow one to create something representative of a bigger concept in a visual way that can communicate a deeper message. Furthermore, imagination is also used in the interpretation of arts, where everyone’s individual mind and perceptive abilities derive different meanings from art depending on their personalities, and exposure. Imagination allows people to interpret difficult concepts or abstract concepts easier as it creates a visual aid of sorts to communicate a deeper message. On the contrary, imagination would be much more difficult to apply in a subject such as the natural sciences. In the natural sciences, memory would be a more prominent way of knowing as inventions are usually derived from prior knowledge, which is dependent on one’s memory and understanding. Also, it is important in learning the natural sciences that one understands the root concepts in order to further their understanding so they can apply it in the future. Without this base understanding, one’s scientific knowledge would be quite superficial and not thorough. This indicates that the respective ways of knowledge can not intertwine in between areas of knowledge. However, sometimes, utilising both memory and imagination can be helpful. If the examples of arts and natural sciences are used again, memory allows someone to apply previously learned skills in their art to imagine and thus, create more concepts. In natural sciences, imagination can be helpful when attempting to think out of the box for inventions or thinking about new ideas.

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