The last question immediately brought to mind Biologist Richard Dawkin's outspoken popular criticism of continued belief in God's existence, cultivation of religious thought, and substitution of religion for science in the Science classroom .... and the controversy this has stirred up. Is his skepticism "misplaced" in matters of faith? Faith is, after all, something that requires no proof or argument. Knowledge and faith are not the same thing and not to be mixed up.
Perhaps more in keeping with the purpose of the TOK assignment and with questions of knowledge, is the skeptical thought currently applied to the claims of absolutism and "objectivity" of science. One name that pops up is Feyerabend, another Bruno Latour and the immensely popular (but later and older) Stephen J. Gould... No one can deny the power and beauty of science and its ability to explain the universe; but science is, ultimately, a human enterprise, and therefore highly subject to context (political, sociological forces that exert themselves, and even one's gender). Is this insistence that any claim to scientific "objectivity" an example of "skepticism"? I am not sure. But it certainly is the the sort of thinking that challenges the naive belief that science describes the world "as it is", and seeks instead explanations that account for the mediated nature of all observations. Far from diminishing the scientific endeavour, it makes it all the more fascinating and complex. And as Carl Sagan poignantly remarked of science, "it is the best we have."
So: let there be less talk in the Sciences of objectivity and the absolute and more about who does the observing.
You might like this article about how scientific papers about fertilization implicitly rely on models of human romance and gender roles ... Unwittingly. It took a linguist to notice.http://www.northeast...d_the_Sperm.pdf
Anyway, for the TOK, and in particular Q.6, the above might suggest some interesting avenues for research.
Edited by Blackcurrant, Oct 19, 2013 - 18:15.