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Introduction to TOK - Bits of TOK wisdom & advice

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To every confused soul out there who is yet to start their first year in IB and fear the nice philosophical subject of TOK. This here thread is me explaining to you what exactly this subject is:).

What is TOK?

The Theory of knowledge is a branch in Philosophy which, when learned, enables one to think about and evaluate the knowledge that we gain rather than just accept it as "truth".

In English: we learn how to not be suckers and believe everything we're told :D .

Why go through the pain and agony of learning it?

Well basically, because the IBO says so :yes:

But really, after my IB experience I've realized the point of the IBO actually including TOK as a requirements for Diploma.

When I started writing my World literature assignment and my Historical investigation for English A1 and Islamic History, I found myself making TOKish claims in these essays. In fact, a whole criteria for the Hisrotical investigation (Criterion D: evaluation of the Study) was basically TOK mambo jumbo. So my theory is that the IBO are smart enough (or this could be coincidence) to teach us TOK so as we could produce decent essays when starting to work on our IAs :) .

Though this might be me over-analyzing things due to making a huge part of my life TOK! My point being! it's not useless! so pay attention in TOK class!

What do I have to do after I learn it?

Your TOK grade will be out of 60. 20 marks of this grade will depend on a presentation you will have to do (either in a group or individually- mind each person would have to finish 10 minutes of speaking) on a title which you will discuss in a TOKish manner. The rest of the 40 marks will be awarded to you depending on an essay you will write on what is called a "prescribed title". These titles are given to you by the IBO (try googling for it -for example if I wanted to find the file with the prescribed titles for my year I'd google "May 2007 TOK prescribed title).

There is a criteria for grading your TOK essays and presentations. To write a good essay and make a good presentation, I suggest you read the marking criteria first, then start off. I will have the criteria on here as soon- I'm on holiday, you all cause chaos to my relaxation plan right now :) .

So there it is. The whole package...

Now the point of me being here (after I've finished with my TOK course and IB altogether) is my helping you people get through it as well, and hopefully with much better grades :) .

Stop the BS and help us out already... is probably what you're thinking as you read through this post :) so here's the deal chicks and dudes (yes I have finished IB, and yes I still say chicks and dudes B)): primary step to helping you out is providing you with essay outlines for your year's title. I'm taking the liberty of making may 07 and may 07 title outline myself which you can find here (if all you can see is essay titles in those articles then I probably haven't gotten the time to post the essay outlines on there yet :) -it's a work in progress).

If you are a candidate for a different session and want advice on some essays, then post a thread in this forum and me and other members (who we'll have soon :) ) would love to give you some pointers :) .

General wisdom:

Ethics

Basically the argument in the ethics chapter is whether ethics is a universal thing. Does everyone in the world feel the same way about what is wrong or right? One thing which was universal in ethics was the act of killing or “murder”. Can you think of anywhere in the world where murder is ok? Well there was this one situation where in some villages in India they used to burn the live body of a wife when her husband died… Because they believed that the woman should go on with him or something like that I forgot really. But that’s banned now! Though I think rumor has it that some villages still have that custom. So the only objective ethical right and wrong can be considered “Murder is wrong”.

You have to understand the concept of Ethics. Ethics is defined to different people according to their culture and paradigm. For instance religious people have a value of ethics set to them by their religion. For example Muslims believe it is against their religion to eat pork and drink alcohol. So the wrong and right in their situation is set by their religion, but is it really unethical to eat pork and drink alcohol universally? Not really.. but to them it is. Other people use their “intuition” to define what is right and what is wrong. Like when you’re a kid and you look at the sharp end of a knife you but never touch it, because something inside you says that you shouldn’t do it… even though you don’t really know what it feels like to touch it. Some concepts of ethics are just implanted in us because we were told that this is wrong when we were kids by teachers, parents and other such authoritative figures… and so on… so basically bs about what ethics is to different people.

Then there’s the whole “understanding the reasoning behind ethics”.

This is the example Alchin has in his book:

"Reasoning behind Ethics:"

"Suppose your country is at war. Each individual needs to decide if they will fight, and possibly kill, for their country. Needless to say, there are strong disagreements about the ethics of the was and arguments between pacifists and non pacifists are common. For our purposes, we are interested in the types of disagreement between the two sides, and we find that there are at least two apparent separate reasons for disagreement; these are based in fact and in principle.

It may be that both sides have the aim of minimizing the amount of overall suffering, but disagree as to how to achieve this goal. The non-pacifist may argue that the way will actually prevent more suffering than it causes; the pacifist may say that the war will increase the overall amount of suffering. The disagreement is about 'facts' and is open to settlement by evidence (although the evidence may be very difficult to obtain and interpret). On the other hand it may be that the pacifist is uninterested in the overall suffering - He believes in the overriding sanctity of life and thinks that killing is wrong under any circumstances, even when it reduces suffering. If we ask him why he believed this he says, "For the same reason as the non-pacifist wants to minimize suffering- I just think it is right". This disagreement is of a different type; is is one based in principle, and it is hard to imagine that evidence will solve the dispute."

This is just to show you how people reason with ethics and I really couldn't put it in my own words.. So make of it what you want

Egoism: the theory of ethical egoism is that people tend to "bend" the rules of what they think is right or wrong for the sake of their own happiness- in the long run. A good example of this is the whole idea behind telling a "white lie". Is lying wrong or right? then why do we tend to do it and claim that our lie was harmless because it was a "white lie". However it is not completely immoral, in the sense that actions which would not make you happy in the long run would not be considered as "ethical egoism", so stealing-killing-cheating would not be considered under that category.

Altruism: contrasted to egoism is altruism, which is basically to sacrifice our own interests for that of others.

Utilitarianism: since altruists and egoist are basically maximizing someone's utility (egoists their own, altruists for others) there is another ethical theory which suggests that Utilitarianists maximize their own and others utility. But since we can't measure happiness, it's uncertain as to how to achieve such an equality...

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Now that was actually very interesting and it does tell a lot. I have often thought ethics to be confusing because it's such a broad thing to discuss with many different views and opinions but when I read what you had written, some things become more clearer. So thank you so much!

Your first example was really interesting (the thing with murder) as it made me think of other situations as well. For instance, that murder is wrong is a general accepted ethical value but when it is right/wrong is very debated. For instance, in some countries, death penalties or even lynching can be put on women who cheat on their husbands or such thing as well as who is it that decides all these - er, what can they be called...norms? The 'a hand for a hand, eye for an eye' is a common expression used in other countries and laws and may require death pentalties but the executioner - are they considered to be following ethical laws or not?

One thing that has often been on my mind is whether ethics can be formed by traditions or prejudice. I need to think more about it though because I often confuse that part with ethics, morals and reasoning. :yes:

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Then there are situations when on one hand you're doing some good for someone, but is it necessarily ethical? Take my TOK presentation, for example. It's on the technology of the saviour sibling where parents have a designer baby for the purpose of being a stem cell and bone marrow donner for an older child who may have leukemia or some other cancer that can be cured with stem cell implants. Yes, they're doing this to save their older child, but is it 1) fair to younger child to be born for such a purpose and 2) to be born simply to be exploited of their body parts without ever being asked whether they want to donate anything or not? Or are they supposed to let the older child die without trying at least, anything and everything that could cure the illness, first?

In the end, it's mostly about choices, isn't it? There's also self-interest and selfishness in ethics as well. We did some exercises in TOK when we did ethics. If you were given a choice to save 100 other children or 1 of your own child, who would you save? Of course, it's all well for us to sit here and hypothesise and put ourselves in that situation but we aren't parents, we can't really know what it's like. Like, in my class, a majority said they would choose to save 100 other children. But then we went to ask our other teachers who were parents, and they all said firmly that they'd save their child over those 100 children. Is that unethical, that they disregard the lives of 100 children for their own child? You tell me.

Or take ethics in the business context. A lot of people say business ethics is an oxymoron but it's still now a compulsory area of study for all business majors. If you are a manger of a company of hundreds, thousands of employees, do you make decisions that satisfy and is good for those hundreds of employees or do you make decisions that would benefit the company? There is now a thing called the triple bottom line in business management - profit, ethics and environmental-friendly. Before it used to just be profit, and you make whatever decisions you need to make to maximise your profit. But now, obviously there is more awareness and study into ethics. But the dilemma is still there - good of the company, thus the existence of your job, or the good of hundreds of employees? Because in the end, if the company is not doing well, everyone loses. Right?

As for prejudice and traditions...well they help in shaping your values, don't they? Thus I think they would have an impact on your ethical thinking. Take Jews in WWII. Hitler was very much prejudiced against Jews wasn't he? Then I'd think in his mind, his actions to eliminate all Jews out of Germany was "ethical" in that he was making more room for Aryan Germans.

Or at a much less extreme level, if your family harbour a grudge against someone, you may see them as a good for nothing scoundrel who deserves to be punished (for whatever reason) and you would be more willing to cause harm to them, wouldn't you?

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One thing that has often been on my mind is whether ethics can be formed by traditions or prejudice. I need to think more about it though because I often confuse that part with ethics, morals and reasoning. :lol:

well they're kind of interrelated.. morals are your ethics aren't they? and read the las part I updated about the reasoning involved in ethics :D

sorry I just got the PM from enter sandman back :huh:

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yes ethical is relative, it's relative to culture, paradigm, belief, opinion... etc. :P

kinda an easy question to answer lol I mean there's nothing mych more to say than what is already in the ethics thread :) unless you'd like me to write it for you :blush: (I'm joking, of course I won't don't even dare ask!)

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Guest Nizzy

“The Country of the Blind”

“Knowledge is the small part of ignorance that we arrange and classify.”

-Ambrose Bierce

The short story by H. G. Wells, “The Country of the Blind” was an interestingly suitable start to Tok because it reveals somewhat of the truth about the whole theory of knowledge. This is a story about a camp guide named Nunez who stumbles down a hill at night and falls into a village surrounded and sealed by mountains. The story behind this village is that a natural disaster hit this village, 3 centuries ago, which resulted in the formation of these mountains that isolated this village for the rest of society and caused them all to become blind. Over the years, the civilization’s sense of sight disappears and was replaced by the development of unique ways of using their other senses. Nunez enters this village with the idea that he will be their “One-Eyed man King,” rule them, and bing them all to reason. Instead, he is regarded as a freak, and is not accepted in the society unless he takes his eyes out to cure him from his abnormality.

Through the use of a short story, Wells uses the civilization of the country of the blind to represent the reality of mankind. These blind people don’t know anything about the world beyond the surrounding mountains, and assume that anything past that point is simply the end of the world. They refer to their village as “the world” since they aren’t aware of the happennings of the world beyond these barriers, and therefore convince themselves that their world indeed is the whole world. They also disagree with the fact that people can see because they learned to overcome any inconvenience after a few generations and regarded it as something rational. Simarly, we, society in general, regared any strange idea or anyone else who they find is different from themselves as abnormal and simply incorrect. However, the truth of the matter is that people in general never actually know what is correct or incorrect. They simply assume that a dominant idea or trend in their society is the correct one, and eventually base their whole belief systems and ideologies on what they percieve to be the truth. As a result, people who dare to be different, or percieve the world through totally different eyes than the rest of society are socially ostracized and viewed as abnormal, similar to the case of Nunez.

Tok is a class that challenges the ideas of knowledge and truth that have dominated our lives since our childhoods. By presenting us with this story, we’re able to view mankind as the ignorant side and see the story through the eyes of one man who had correct ideas but were different from the dominant ones and therefore was disregarded. By witnessing the story through the eyes of the outsider, I began to rethink my whole justification of knowledge vs. ignorance. The idea that knowledge, in reality, may actually be a term people use when justifying their beliefs. Finally, the idea that knowledge, in some cases, may simply be a form of ignorance.

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Dictionary definitions and Hypothetical Questions

I've seen topics questioning the usefulness of both Dictionary definitions and Hypothetical Questions. I strongly disagree using both. The TOK Essay is an essay to describe what YOU think! Define everything yourself. Dictionary definitions are marked in stone, while your opinion is subject to change. Asking hypothetical questions are also a big no no, because 1) its a waste of words which can be used more carefully elsewhere, and 2) the essay is not necessarily a conversation with someone else, so instead of asking the questions, answer them. Even if you are trying to make a point, just be straightforward.

I hope this kind of helps the people who haven't written their ToK essays yet (shame on you, unless you are in 11th grade right now :) )

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We haven't done Ethics yet, but one question occurred to me. You know the moral dilemma we did in TOK? One example I remembered was about the pregnant women blocking the only escape hole, and preventing 20 people from getting out alive. Should we put bombs on her and blow her away or let all 20 people die and drown and let that women live? (Note, no other wall is thin enough for an escape, even with a bomb)I think it is wrong in the first place to let a pregnant women go through a small hole. But... Ethics... Morals... I also remember that our teacher added what if the women was a drug addict and a criminal? Would then make it easier to blow her away? What if it was your parent and you had to either defend for him/her, or say last good bye? Do you guys think moral or a good conscious is built in ourselves or we learn them as we grow up? I think it is built in. Genetics...

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that's easy, let all the rest go out first then let the pregnant woman through... really think of realistic situations :P

besides how would the pregnant woman survive if she's stuck in a hole? 8-)

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that's easy, let all the rest go out first then let the pregnant woman through... really think of realistic situations :)

besides how would the pregnant woman survive if she's stuck in a hole? :)

Nonono... She went first, and got stuck. She can't get out of the hole anymore, and there is a whole bunch of people behind her. And the water is rushing up behind those ppl. She is stuck, blocking the only possible exit.

The bottom line is, would you kill some pregnant women(Drug-addicted or not makes a difference?) in order to save your life, or your friends's life which might also be at risk?

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all is fair in love and war. and that seems lieka war situation to me, so yes I would. What difference does it make if she was pregnant? it just makes you feel bad because pregnancey is precieved as a miracle, and in that case making it seem holly. But all it is is carying a child. As I said before it's very contraversial, and I wouldn't gie such unrealistic examples in my essays...

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Emotion:

1. The nature of the emotions

a. Include feelings, passions, and moods. Vary in intensity and have a dual nature: internal and external behavior. It is also a mood that continues over a period of time (bad day  angry all day).

b. Inborn, rather than learnt

c. Primary emotions (same in all cultures)

i. Happiness

ii. Sadness

iii. Fear

iv. Anger

v. Surprise

vi. Disgust

d. James-Lange theory

i. Emotions are essentially physical in nature

ii. Bodily changes come before, and cause, emotional changes: if you remove the symptoms of nervousness, you make the emotion disappear. Also, if you mimic the emotions (forcefully shake your leg) you induce these symptoms, or nervousness as an emotion. Forcing yourself to smile, makes you feel happy (entirely chemical change that triggers appropriate chemicals).

iii. Suggests a mechanism through which we can come to know and empathize with other people’s feelings. Ex, talking to someone who is sad, makes you frown, or “feel sorry for them”.

1. When you talk to someone who is depressed, you unconsciously mimic some of the physical expressions of his mood, such as tone and posture

e. The role of beliefs

i. Emotions have mental and physical aspects and can be affected by our beliefs

1. A change in our beliefs can lead to a change in the corresponding emotion. For example, mistaking a rope is snake. Your fearful ,and then you found out it’s just a rope, and the emotions vanish. Thus beliefs, affect our emotions. For example, feeling liberated or free after a prayer.

ii. Humans also have social emotions (ambitious, contempt, envy, jealousy, pride and shame). , as well as primary emotions (look up)

iii. We can anticipate and picture more distant dangers (i.e. death)

f. Emotional energy

i. Emotions provide us with the energy to engage in intellectual activity. Poincare worked on a theory for 15 years.

ii. This does not prove that emotions are ways of knowing

g. Emotions as ways of knowing

i. Emotions play a more positive role in our mental lives. Anxious on IB exam.

ii. Without emotions we would be unable to make sense of the world

iii. Some of our most fundamental beliefs are emotional matters of the heart rather than rational matters of the head. Advocates of African-Americans, LGBT community and AIDs awareness influenced by emotions.

2. Emotions as an obstacle to knowledge

a. Strong emotions can sometimes distort the other ways of knowing

i. Perception- can be colored by strong emotions. Emotional coloring can make us aware of some aspects of reality and exclude others.

ii. Reason- If you hold your beliefs with too much passion it can prevent you from being open-minded

iii. Language- Strong emotion can cause the use of slanted and emotive language

b. Rationalisations

i. When in the grip of strong emotions, we tent to rationalize our pre-existing prejudices instead of reason.

ii. We tend to rationalize when there is a conflict between 2+ of our beliefs (ie a cigarette smoker who knows its bad)

iii. Prejudices lead to:

1. Biased perception – noticing only lazy immigrants

2. Fallacious reasoning – hasty generalizations

3. Emotive language – immigrants don’t know the meaning of work.

c. Irrational behavior

i. Emotions can lead to us making bad decisions – revenge

ii. Stoics

1. Believed that we should live without emotions

2. Advocated apathy (lit. without passion)

3. Emotions as a source of knowledge

a. Without emotions, you can’t make decisions

b. The relation between reason and emotion

i. An emotion that is sensitive to the real nature of a situation is more rational than one that is not.

ii. Showing too little or too much emotion is irrational

iii. Also, on the spectrum solving a math problem is completely rational, while being furious is entirely emotional.

iv. We let our emotions take over emotion. For example, flying is safer than driving. However, we cannot contain our fear and we decide to ride anyway.

4. Intuition

a. The aha moment of insight when you suddenly see the solution to a problem without going through any conscious process of reasoning/ Our 6th sense or hunches about things

b. Core intuitions- All of our knowledge is based on intuition

c. 3 types of intuition:

1. Core intuitions – thinking about the universe, life and fundamental things.

2. Subject – specific intuitions – science and ethics

3. Social intuitions – our intuition about other people, what they like, whether they can be trusted.

ii. Reason- the laws of logic are intuitively obvious.

iii. Perception- We have an overwhelmingly strong intuition that what we are experiencing is reality

iv. Good test – as k/play WHY? Game. Then as if they believe it. This is to test if someone actually has intuition, or is influenced by other factors on their knowledge.

v. Romanticism – emotions only. Think of the book: motorcycle.

d. Everyone has conflicting intuitions – psychological diversity.

e. Romanticism

i. Associated with the emotions in much the same way that there are schools of thought associated

ii. Emphasis on the importance of the emotions for making sense of the world

f. Subject-specific intuitions

i. Our uneducated intuitions in subjects such as logic, mathematics, physics, biology, history, economics, and ethics are at best confused and at worst false.

ii. The aim of education is to help up ‘unlearn’ our native intuitions so that we can acquire a more sophisticated and reliable understanding of the world

iii. Physics – has developed false intuitions. For example, objects don’t just move then stop. They also move in uniform speed. This is intuitly obvious for our generation, but is not always explicit and intuitive, since objects are constantly affected by forces so u don’t get to see the uniform motion.

g. Social intuitions

i. We tend to be over-confident about our own intuitions, especially about other people. And we don’t admit we are wrong, however, it has been proven that intuitions are mostly wrong.

ii. However, the evidence suggests that our intuitions are not as good as we like to think

h. Natural and educated intuitions

i. Expert intuition- the intuition is a product of raw talent and a vast mental database of background knowledge

ii. ‘It is by logic that we prove, but by intuition that we discover.’ –Poincare

iii. To make good ideas one must have a thorough knowledge of the relevant field and unusually good powers of concentration

Language:

1. What is language?

a. Rule governed

b. Intended

c. Creative and open ended

2. Problems with meaning

a. Words are often ambiguous and open to a variety of interpretations

3. Theories of meaning

a. Definition theory

i. Every word has a specific definition

1. Criticisms- Endless circle of words

b. Denotation theory

i. Every word stands for something

1. Criticisms- Doesn’t work for abstract words and proper names

c. Image theory

i. Every word’s meaning is the mental image it stands for

1. Criticisms- You can never be sure someone understands the meaning of a word in the same way you do

4. Meaning as know-how

a. Meaning is a matter of know-how; you know the meaning of a word when you know how to use it correctly

5. Problematic meaning

a. Vagueness

i. Depends on context

ii. Point us in the right direction – impossible to make words precise

b. Ambiguity

i. Can mislead people – fast ~ how fast, its all relative

ii. Can sometimes depend on context, fast – relative

c. Secondary meaning (Connotation)

i. The web of associations around a word – surrounding text

ii. Varies from person to person – unique quality to explain things from individual and unique POV.

iii. Use euphemisms for harsh words because they have more acceptable connotations. Made up command in policeman: “light the path” – when it actually could mean, kill everything in sight.

d. Metaphors

i. Not literally true: Sun was a black hole, sucking in my energy.

ii. Can be determined to be a metaphor through context

e. Irony

i. The saying of one thing to mean the opposite

6. Meaning and interpretation

a. Think in terms of levels of meaning

b. The exact meaning of a word can make a huge difference (manslaughter vs. murder can mean the difference between life and death for an accused person)

c. The meanings of words can be manipulated

d. ‘The murder’s personality test’ study

7. Language and translation

a. Learning a second language gives you perspective on your own

b. Different languages divide up the world in different ways

c. Problems with translation

i. Context- The meaning of a word is partly determined by its relationship to other words, so you must be familiar with other similar words to understand what it means

ii. Untranslatable words- Every language has words that have no equivalent in other languages (such as different versions of ‘you’ in other languages don’t translate the same into English)

iii. Idioms- A colloquial expression whose meaning cannot be worked out from the meanings of the words it contains

iv. Something is always lost when we move from one language to another

1. Ways to fix this:

a. Faithfulness- should stay faithful to the original text

b. Comprehensibility- should be comprehensible

c. Back translation- when translated back into the original language, it should be the same as the original

8. Labels and stereotypes

a. Labels

i. Efficient and economical

1. Makes it easier to group things together (sand instead of naming every grain)

ii. Enables you to predict how the object will behave. Lions are aggressive.

iii. Might mislabel things

1. Labeling things that are similar as different or visa versa can cause trouble – humans (astronomical diversity)

iv. Many different ways to label things because of the many similarities and differences between things

v. The labels we use reflect the natural classes of things that exist ‘out there’ or are social constructions we impose on the world

b. Stereotypes

i. An assumption about a group of people purely on the basis of their membership of that group and typically exaggerates the negative features and is usually based on prejudice, not fact

ii. Some contain an element of truth (“According to one quip, students go to international schools with prejudices about other cultures and leave realizing they are all true!”)

9. Language and thought

a. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

i. Language determines our experience of reality

ii. We can see and think only what our language allows us to see and think

iii. Is considered a form of linguistic determinism

iv. Weaker version states that language influences rather than determines thought

b. Peter Farb’s studies on bilingual Japanese women

i. Different answers for the same questions when asked and answered in a different language. Means they think and are different people wit each language.

c. Evidence that suggests that thought is possible without language

i. Babies and animals think without language – kids do activates before they speak, like putting puzzles together.

ii. Some creative people say that their ideas first come to them as images

iii. It is sometimes difficult to find the right words to express thoughts that feel as if they are already there (“No, that’s not what I meant…”) So recognize the nuance of words.

iv. New words wouldn’t be able to enter a language, since we have established already a clear expression, and some words are used to specifically mean certain things. However, technology will bring about some words (google something).

10. Language and Values

a. Using language to influence and persuade

i. We use language to persuade and influence one another. Authors purpose, in suing diction, to convey a certain emotion or have a certain impact.

ii. Advertisers use the power of language to influence and persuade. You WILL love this. Assurance + word “love”, manipulated.

iii. The 4 ways to use language to influence and persuade

1. Emotionally laden language- Have an emotive meaning (the aura of favorable or unfavorable feeling that hovers about a word)/ euphemisms ( ^)

2. Weasel words- Words slipped into sentences to give an escape route/ ‘many’, ‘should’, and ‘probably’

3. Grammer- ‘Many villages were bombed.’ Vs. ‘We bombed many villages.’ So manipulation of language, in regards to grammar, can have different meaning. Not applicable in Latin, where the words can be jumbled together in any order to mean the same thing.

4. Revealing and concealing- language can reveal certain aspects of reality or can conceal aspects by diverting attention away from them.

iv. Lesbian is coming to the party.

v. A black person is coming to the party

vi. An IB student is coming to the party

vii. An HIV infected person is attending the party. – all negative

b. Language at war

i. Military codes are used as euphemisms (^)

1. Animals as knower’s – This refers to the notion that animals have some sort of way of thinking. Well, if they are defined through the book as a knower, they aren’t actually embodying the principles of knowing. One must believe, or have an intuitive and perpetual belief, in something in order for it to be considered a knower’s perspective. However, outside of the book reference animals do seem to think. They give different warning calls, for different predators. ?For example monkeys will have a high pitch for a predator that is gliding through the sky, while they will have a much lower rant if the predator is a ferocious cat. So there is a clear manipulation or comprehension of what is going on.

2. Clever Hans effect – this simply states that when a trainer and an animal like Alex the parrot interact, they develop a highly social relationship. In order to demonstrate that the parrot truly talks, you would need to test its knowledge with someone else. However, this could prove to be another variable in the experiment as a trainer is taken out of the experiment and the parrot tested on other terms (for example, a different trainer ). So in reference to the parrot, it would need to be tested on totally new standards and manipulate language for us to recognize that it truly speaks.

3. The following image refers to the Turing Test. This is where the computer has surpassed qualities of a machine, and is able to manipulate language and words in such a way that it presents itself as a human. No computer has ever surpassed this, and it is usually evident when personal questions are asked. Since language is unlimited, you have a very diverse vocabulary and grammar structure. The computer is unable to decipher the astronomical data, however it can guess and predict the most commonly used language. For example, you call Verizon and the computer voice comes on. It is programmed to acknowledge words like “text” in a long string of a sentence. However, if u say something like “I am bothered by the plethora of phone usage occurring, which impedes my own ability to initiate a call” – that would be too complex for the computer to recognize. In specifics to the Touring Test, the computer merely is manipulating language under strict rules. It cannot form it, or believe it in – so it is not a knower.

4. Chinese room experiment. – okay suppose you find yourself in a white room sitting at a computer. Now imagine you’re talking to a computer, using a huge text book which tells u how to use Chinese symbols. You are able to use the book to come up with questions, and you receive a feedback answer, which presents itself as if a human wrote it. So the knowledge issue here is who is actually a knower? Clearly, the computer has surpassed the Touring test, it behaves and manipulates complex language like Chinese. But so is the human being, its using the same tool, a voluminous source in order to convey information. Ultimetly a parallel is drawn between nthe human and the computer. Both rpesent themselvesas if they know the Chinese language, but in the human’s case he is actually not actually a Chinese speaker rather he is simply manipulating the symbols and producing an output. Same goes for the computer, its merely manipulating. So the computer is not a knower and the person doesn’t speak Chinese.

5. Personal Identity and self-knowledge – this is referring to the parameters of our personality and horizon’s of our brain to acknowledge itself through this concept we call “identity”. This goes back to the story we had to read, where a photograph is looked at, and the now older man says ‘I was so naïve/ young then”. Biologically, this is incorrect, since every 10 years all the cells in our body are replaced. The only thing that is continuously with us is our neurons. So is it over simplifying if we say that we are neurons? Yes. We cannot be confined to something that is sometimes trigged by false alarm, or exists merely in a closed environment and we know very little about. We are often decided by our own thoughts, and looking back we realize how “stupid” or myopic our view was. We are also very deceived by other people. Someone might say “you were a ambitious kid”, and immediately you reference maybe two or three times when you were ambitious and use that to define yourself. In doing so, you have introduced another large aspect of self-identity. Words. They cannot be used properly to identify someone, especially since we present a paradox in which we get rid of descriptions and then define ourselves with new words. Words are not effective in this purpose, and hinder or confine an idea. Personal Identity is even sometimes defined as certain beliefs, or what we think is the most important (sex, religion, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, place of origin or political view).

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Nonono... She went first, and got stuck. She can't get out of the hole anymore, and there is a whole bunch of people behind her. And the water is rushing up behind those ppl. She is stuck, blocking the only possible exit.

The bottom line is, would you kill some pregnant women(Drug-addicted or not makes a difference?) in order to save your life, or your friends's life which might also be at risk?

Hmm....I guess this will depend on the difference whether or not the pregnant woman is a relative of yours. Say if she is someone you love, such as your wife or close sister, will you do so? however, this will have to depend on your background and how you are raised. One's ethic differs from others...it's hard to say

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thanks for the insight people.....although it was too long for an insight but then i guess that is what TOK is........theres no boundary.......you keep on thinking, evaluating....blah blah blah.....and you most probably never reach a conclusion.......i just simply love TOK.......:(

Edited by 2401 Tangents
No text speak

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TOK is actually not a bad subject. It gets you think and thats what IBO wants you to do. As long as you participate in clas discussions and get all your assignments done on time you wont have difficult with this subject :yes: Another point to note. TOK is not there to mess you up. Its there to boost your grades. Doing well in extended essay, TOK and cas you get 3 extra points. Which really makes quite a big difference if you think about it.

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Video Summary of TOK (workshop)

So there was a TOK workshop a while back at my school. The guy has been teaching TOK for a VERY long time. He pretty much summarises TOK, the essay, the presentation and its overall significance.

Sorry for the low volume. :P

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Then there are situations when on one hand you're doing some good for someone, but is it necessarily ethical? Take my TOK presentation, for example. It's on the technology of the saviour sibling where parents have a designer baby for the purpose of being a stem cell and bone marrow donner for an older child who may have leukemia or some other cancer that can be cured with stem cell implants. Yes, they're doing this to save their older child, but is it 1) fair to younger child to be born for such a purpose and 2) to be born simply to be exploited of their body parts without ever being asked whether they want to donate anything or not? Or are they supposed to let the older child die without trying at least, anything and everything that could cure the illness, first?

In the end, it's mostly about choices, isn't it? There's also self-interest and selfishness in ethics as well. We did some exercises in TOK when we did ethics. If you were given a choice to save 100 other children or 1 of your own child, who would you save? Of course, it's all well for us to sit here and hypothesise and put ourselves in that situation but we aren't parents, we can't really know what it's like. Like, in my class, a majority said they would choose to save 100 other children. But then we went to ask our other teachers who were parents, and they all said firmly that they'd save their child over those 100 children. Is that unethical, that they disregard the lives of 100 children for their own child? You tell me.

Or take ethics in the business context. A lot of people say business ethics is an oxymoron but it's still now a compulsory area of study for all business majors. If you are a manger of a company of hundreds, thousands of employees, do you make decisions that satisfy and is good for those hundreds of employees or do you make decisions that would benefit the company? There is now a thing called the triple bottom line in business management - profit, ethics and environmental-friendly. Before it used to just be profit, and you make whatever decisions you need to make to maximise your profit. But now, obviously there is more awareness and study into ethics. But the dilemma is still there - good of the company, thus the existence of your job, or the good of hundreds of employees? Because in the end, if the company is not doing well, everyone loses. Right?

As for prejudice and traditions...well they help in shaping your values, don't they? Thus I think they would have an impact on your ethical thinking. Take Jews in WWII. Hitler was very much prejudiced against Jews wasn't he? Then I'd think in his mind, his actions to eliminate all Jews out of Germany was "ethical" in that he was making more room for Aryan Germans.

Or at a much less extreme level, if your family harbour a grudge against someone, you may see them as a good for nothing scoundrel who deserves to be punished (for whatever reason) and you would be more willing to cause harm to them, wouldn't you?

 

Wow, this was pretty cool to read. If you don't mind answering, what was your grade on your ToK presentation?

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Hi guys,

i have my final tok presentation on 23rd july. My KQ is What are the ways of knowing which can help us determine whether experimentation is expoitation?

Is this KQ fine? or should I frame it in some other way.Please help me.

 

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Hi,

You can use GoConqr.com to help prepare for TOK - check out this slide set on preparing your essay. https://www.goconqr.com/en-US/p/4415180

If you join GoConqr (it's free), you can join our IB Group and use our tools and apps, including mind maps, flashcards, quizzes and notes. There is also a study planner and mobile apps for revising on the go.

 

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