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Presentation To what extent does context affect our perception?

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That's what I've got so far. My teacher's new to TOK and has limited experience. She says that the question's okay, however I feel that it's not quite right. It lacks specific direction, I feel it is too general and there's no definitive topic of focus. TOK is not my cup of tea, and so I'd really, really appreciate some help from any of you TOK nerds out there!

Many thanks!

nametaken.

Edited by nametaken

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relate it to the generation of knowledge, how can context affect our perception? does it improve, or hinder it? does it make it more difficult for us to see the truth or does it make us more open minded? maybe you could change your KI to:

"To what extent does context hinder/improve our perception and hence limit us from acquiring knowledge?"

or something along those lines.

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I found this extract from the theory of knowledge guide. Read it, it will give you a bigger picture on the topic treated.

Emotion

[Emotion] has the advantage of being open to all, the weak and the lowly,

the illiterate and the scholar. It is seen to be as efficacious as any other method

and is sometimes said to be stronger than the others, since it is its own fruition,

while other methods are means to some other ends.

Bhagavad Gita

Emotions play a powerful role in shaping thoughts, influencing behaviour, and steering the pursuit of

knowledge. While emotions may be a key to self-understanding and to understanding the world, the

extent to which they contribute to both can be explored through a discussion of questions like those

that follow, probing the nature, value, and limits of emotion as a way of knowing.

Nature of emotion

• Can we ever know anything purely through emotions? How do emotions interact with reason, sense

perception and language?

• To what degree is emotion biological or “hard-wired”, and hence universal to all human beings? To

what extent is it shaped by culture and hence displayed differently in different societies?

• What sorts of things count as emotions? Are emotions and feelings the same thing?

• Can feelings have a rational basis? Is “emotional intelligence” an oxymoron? Robert Solomon says

that emotions are “systems of judgments”, and that “virtually all of our experience is to some degree

‘affective’, and even our most dispassionate judgments…can be adequately understood only within

some larger emotional context”. Is he correct in claiming that virtually all sense perception, and

reasoning, must involve emotion?

• Is it possible to experience an emotion, a feeling, an attitude or sensibility that cannot be expressed

in language? Can an emotion, such as love or grief, have its origins in, or be shaped by, language?

• Can emotions be trained? To what extent can we control our emotions, not in terms of how we act

on them, but what we actually feel? Do cultures select emotions to foster and use?

• Are concepts such as solidarity, patriotism and racism examples of collective emotions?

• Is faith an emotion, a feeling, or neither?

Emotion and knowledge

• Does emotion reside in the realm of private knowledge in the sense that it cannot be verified by

others? Can people be mistaken about their own emotions? Can others lead them to recognize

previously unknown emotions?

• Is there any kind of knowledge that can be attained solely through emotion? Is the answer to the

question dependent on factors such as gender, age, culture, and/or socio-economic group?

• Is emotion an essential ingredient of the pursuit or validation of scientific or artistic knowledge? Can

there be creativity without emotion?

• Why has emotion sometimes been seen as a less valuable way of knowing than, say, reason? Or does

the value of emotion as a way of knowing depend on the kind of knowledge that is being pursued?

• Susan Stebbing says, “I do not in the least wish to suggest that it is undesirable for us to be set on

thinking by emotional considerations. On the contrary, nothing else will suffice to make us think to

some purpose.” David Hume claims that, “Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions.”

Is it true that emotions are an essential driver of any purposeful activity?

Linking questions

• What part does emotion play in the acquisition of knowledge? Does the role of emotion vary across

the different areas of knowledge?

• Should emotion play a role in the evaluation of knowledge claims? Are there circumstances under

which, in order to evaluate a knowledge claim, one should ignore or, alternatively, pay special

attention to one’s emotions?

• Is an action morally justifiable if it feels right? What part do, or should, emotions play in the formation

of moral judgments or political judgments?

• Can emotions be classified as good or bad? Can there be correct, or appropriate, emotional responses?

Is it correct to be horrified by accounts of torture?

• Is faith purely emotional or is it possible to provide a rational justification for religious belief? Is

emotion a source of spiritual knowledge?

• Do people act their way into feeling or feel their way into action? What is the relationship between

emotion and experience (for example, in CAS activities)?

• How did your feelings or emotions affect (positively or negatively) your ability to perform, to make

decisions or to reason in regard to particular CAS activities? How did you deal with such situations?

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I also found this quote and thought it might be interesting if you link it to the differing cold war schools of thoguhts:

It is impossible to write ancient history because we lack source materials, and

impossible to write modern history because we have far too many.

Charles Péguy

You should also make sure that you include counterarguments in your presentation. Applied to your case, these should be conditions where context does not affect our perception of history. Remember the IB wants debate and neglects adapting one point of view only. IB wants many responses to questions. Right now, I can't remember of any specific event in history where context did not play a role in its development. If anyone can provide an example of this, please share your thoughts.

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I also found this quote and thought it might be interesting if you link it to the differing cold war schools of thoguhts:

It is impossible to write ancient history because we lack source materials, and

impossible to write modern history because we have far too many.

Charles Péguy

You should also make sure that you include counterarguments in your presentation. Applied to your case, these should be conditions where context does not affect our perception of history. Remember the IB wants debate and neglects adapting one point of view only. IB wants many responses to questions. Right now, I can't remember of any specific event in history where context did not play a role in its development. If anyone can provide an example of this, please share your thoughts.

Thanks for your help. That's the thing...with regards to counter arguments, I can't think of anything. In the case of history, as an area of knowledge, the context is key.

So has anyone got any ideas regarding an example of a specific event where context is not as significant?

Many thanks!

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if this helps at all...

the letter "I" has lots and lots of meaning, depending on the context.

I can mean I (me)

I can mean 1 in roman numbers

I can mean Iodine in the periodic table

I can mean Interest in I/R (Interest Rate)

I can mean Infra in IR (Infrared)

I can mean International in IB (International Baccalaureate)

not very sure if that's what you're looking into, but I hope that at least gives you some ideas.

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if this helps at all...

the letter "I" has lots and lots of meaning, depending on the context.

I can mean I (me)

I can mean 1 in roman numbers

I can mean Iodine in the periodic table

I can mean Interest in I/R (Interest Rate)

I can mean Infra in IR (Infrared)

I can mean International in IB (International Baccalaureate)

not very sure if that's what you're looking into, but I hope that at least gives you some ideas.

Ah, thanks for that. Okay, let me make it clearer....

I want to look at History as an area of knowledge, trying to apply that knowledge issue regarding context within History itself. I was intending to look at the different schools of thought regarding the origins of the Cold War (revisionist, post revisionist and orthodox historians), examining how their context affected their perception of the origins of the cold war. I dunno yet, but I was thinking about giving other examples.

And as a counterargument, to argue that context sometimes does not affect perception, I was considering talking about the Holocaust. Just an idea yet though. In its initial stages.

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