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TOK Prescribed Title #6: "A skeptic is one who..."

skepticism AoK TOK Prescribed Title
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#1
ipanema

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Hello Everyone

I've seen a post about this Prescribed Title somewhere, however I wanted to ask some questions about the types of AoK that come to mind/how to use them appropriately and usefully in the essay.

 

6. "A skeptic is one who is willing to question any knowledge claim, asking for clarity in definition, consistency in logic and adequacy of evidence" (adapted from Paul Kurtz, 1994). Evaluate this approach in two areas of knowledge.

 

This prompt got me thinking about some of the following topics

-skepticism and it's meaning (how it contributes to the development of theories and ideals)

-the difference between knowledge and faith, and how it applies here (AoK ethics?)

-History and how it has been shaped by skepticism 

-AoK Natural Sciences

 

What are your thoughts on this prescribed title? I'm not sure if the thoughts I have on it are appropriate, or if they relate correctly to what the question is posing.



#2
Award Winning Boss

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What if they just ask but never accept the answers? So a sceptic just denies all knowledge even though the question gives the impression that they'd accept the statement if all those conditions were satisfied. 

 

How has history been shaped by scepticism? What WoKs will you consider? 



#3
ipanema

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What if they just ask but never accept the answers? So a sceptic just denies all knowledge even though the question gives the impression that they'd accept the statement if all those conditions were satisfied. 

 

How has history been shaped by scepticism? What WoKs will you consider? 

 

I assumed though, that if the individual asked those questions stated in the prompt, that they would then weigh the legitimacy of the knowledge claim, and then make the decision whether or not to accept it. I think that there is some form of negativity that is associated with the work skepticism that isn't always true. I think a skeptic is one who challenges ideals in order to gain a more perfect perspective on whatever knowledge claim is being discussed.
As for how history has been shaped by skepticism-- I was thinking of individuals or groups of people that were skeptical of their overruling governments (civil rights movement in America, or something like the bolshevik revolution), or even how old societal beliefs or traditions would develop because of their skeptics (although this may be another AoK?)

The WoK of reason would be something I would discuss-- as well as how intuition may play a role in a skeptic's opinion (even though it shouldn't)


Edited by ipanema, Nov 20, 2013 - 23:18.


#4
Nur Aniza

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I have decided to do my essay on this topic too. But I got confused right now. This question is actually dealing with how logic and evidence is used in two AOKs or it is dealing with scepticism. Can anyone help me?



#5
Candi

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I'm struggling with this question! Can anyone give me some tips, ideas... 


Edited by Candi, Jan 26, 2014 - 19:56.


#6
Jenna26

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HEY!!

 

I have just completed my essay on this question and let me just tell you, i realized that i hate it a bit too late. Anyways, this must be one of the hardest ones to answer.

 

This is how i approached mine: i chose the AOKs of Natural Sciences and Arts and talked about the extent to which this definition can be applicable to those areas. Kuntz's definition has three parts to it " clarity in definition, consistency in logic and adequacy of evidence" You might think that that doesn't apply to arts because, can you really have adequate evidence to classify something as art? or try to figure out what it means?  

 

main part of the TOK essay is to not just simply type it up but expand on EVERYTHING and state how you know it (emotion, logic,etc...) I also talked about how an individual can ever be satisfied if they are constantly being skeptical. 

when can you accept knowledge for what it is and not be skeptical? 

Does Kuntz's definition rectify knowledge, or create knowledge? maybe both.... 

sorry if none of this makes sense, hopefully you got some ideas out of it, enjoy your TOK essay!!! (jk, its death) :'( 



#7
by.andrew

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@Jenna: I think it's "Paul Kurtz", the American skeptic. I hope you didn't put "Kuntz" on your essay!

 

Some of my ideas/brainstorming:

 

WOK 

- Perception: Kurtz says a skeptic asks for "adequate evidence", but what is adequacy anyway?

The ancient Greek Pyrrhonists (precursors to skeptics) doubted their own senses. They said that the truth cannot be extracted because we do not know if what we see is the actual reality. This later serves as the basis for Descartes' famous quote: ergo cogito sum. Perception ties in nicely with many of AOKs if used correctly. For sciences, we can see how observations may be correct/incorrect and skepticism may help filter out false (or at the least questionable) information.

Now consider the other side of the argument - can skeptics truly know anything if they are always doubting? Where do we draw the line? 

- Language: Kurtz says a skeptic asks for clarity in language. We must question what "clarity" means as a skeptic.

- Reasoning: Closely related to axioms. Think of instances where the logic may be valid, but a knowledge claim needs to both valid and true. To what extent can we trust reasoning for knowledge anyway?

- Emotions/Intuition, faith and memory: Some may even argue that these aren't even WOKs. How would skeptics view intuition, etc. as a WOK? Does this expose a certain limitation/value?

 

AOK:

Personally, I think Arts is a very difficult and unorthodox AOK to argue and evaluate the arguments for skepticism. However, it is an interesting AOK, and a really good argument can potentially be extracted. We first need to address what kinds of KIs can come from the Arts, and how this is conceived by the audience. I think the Maths would also be a slightly odd AOK to tackle for this question, because I don't see many arguments that can be made for/against skepticism in the Maths. (This may largely be due to my ignorance)

Natural sciences will most likely be a popular choice because there are so many instances where skepticism comes in handy in the natural sciences. Remember that this also comes at a certain cost. A similar argument can be made for human sciences. Also remember that natural and human sciences have different aims and purposes.

History is a nice AOK for most prompts as well. Many people contrast it with the natural sciences. No exceptions here.


Edited by by.andrew, Jan 27, 2014 - 21:33.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: May 2014, skepticism, AoK, TOK, Prescribed Title