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suwen.lee_

TOK Presentation KQ Help

Hey guys, 

I recently did my TOK presentation and I didn't get a good grade on it hence I would be re-doing it. I've decided to do my TOK presentation about whitewashing/authorities using their power to manipulate knowledge. There are many instances of this which I've learnt in history (eg: Sharpeville Massacre, Amritsar Massacre, manipulation of information in USSR). It made me question if the knowledge gotten from history can be deemed valid/true. Some questions I've come up with include: 

1. How much evidence is needed to validate knowledge gained from history?
2. Under what circumstance is the manipulation of shared knowledge by authorities justified? 
3. How can the manipulation of shared knowledge by authorities be justified? 

4. How much evidence is needed before personal knowledge becomes shared knowledge? (This doesn't really relate to the RLS but is another question I came up with). 

Thank you so much!

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Think more in ToK terms. Remember that while your examples are good, you should always connect your examples to knowledge questions, ways of knowing, and areas of knowledge. I like where your 4th question is going with personal knowledge and shared knowledge, but it may be tricky to find good examples in history. Avoid confusions between truth/facts and knowledge..

An example of fact is Napoleon lost most of his army in the war of 1812. Knowledge would be that it is a bad idea to have the army spread out over long distance in enemy terrain. Knowledge should be applicable and generalizable for different scenarios (RLS's). A relevant knowledge question in this case could be "How well can reason inform about erroneous decisions in history?" This KQ relates reason (a WoK) with History (an AoK). A good ToK presentation will have an overarching KQ and a few smaller ones to guide the argument. 

Your topic is challenging. Possibly an idea is to view "manipulation" as "construction" of knowledge. Then you can bring in a lot of WoKs. Your presentation should talk more about knowledge (especially knowledge based on facts) than facts. Most ToK presentations do not have to clarify that the construction of knowledge is based on various forms of truth, but you are in part dealing with knowledge based on falsehoods. Definitely be very careful and strategic in your arguments to bring in as much ToK theories and topics as you can. 

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Thank you so much for your help! I think my previous TOK presentation focused too much on facts rather than knowledge. I am more aware of the difference between truths and knowledge now. Would it be wise for me to do my fourth question in relation to different AOKs? For example I use that KQ and explore claims and counterclaims from the perspectives of different AOKs.  As for an RLS, I am a little lost hence a little more research would be needed for the KQ.

Prior to this I was leaning more towards my first question but upon reading your comment, I was thinking of doing the third question. Maybe instead the question should read "To what extent is the construction of knowledge by authoritative figures in history influenced by emotion?". I can then pull into the fact that most knowledge claimed by these leaders are made up due to fear which is through emotion and compare this with reason. Perhaps I could also explore the construction of knowledge in other areas and if knowledge plays a part in it too? As for the RLS, once again it could be the manipulation of information in Apartheid South Africa. Due to the Whites being scared of the large number of blacks, they suppressed by feeding them with false information. I could also bring in Language and the Arts through George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984. That shows how construction of knowledge is based through emotion (pigs in Animal Farm feeding lies due to their greed/want to have more). Would this be an alright KQ and exploration?

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Posted (edited)

@suwen.lee_You need to effectively show why lies construct knowledge. I don't think as this point it how you have justified why/how manipulation is a form of knowledge construction. Until you personally can provide a reason, There should be significant changes to the scope you want to explore. 

EDIT: the KQ is fine. But I think there may be other examples you can bring in. Knowledge is often "true justified belief" so it's risky to do a presentation on "false justified belief". 

Edited by kw0573

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Posted (edited)

@kw0573 Once again thank you for your help. I've always struggled with TOK and my teacher isn't a very supporting or encouraging teacher hence I find it hard to approach him for help.

For my reason as to how/why manipulation is a form of knowledge construction, I have thought about it and come up with some kind of answer. I was thinking of focusing mainly on arguing how language, memory and sense perception as the main ways in which knowledge is constructed. However these all have very obvious fallacies which all has its roots in the central WOK I would be exploring, emotion. They all are very subjective and can be easily influence by emotion. Language for example can be transient (oral) or written. For oral language, speech can easily be deceived through misinterpretations due to selective hearing. Basically some people believe that they hear a certain thing and omit facts to disprove this. This basically is due to their belief which is derived from emotion. This can also said for written language. I was also thinking of propaganda/books/newspapers written and how written language has been the main source of gaining knowledge for the majority of history (eg: religious books- the Bible etc.). They are moulded to fit the ideologies of those in charge at the time and are aided by deliberate misinterpretations of the text. My next example would be through memory and sense perception. Example: The removal of people in photos after they've been executed (eg: Leon Trotsky after being exiled). The people of the USSR are told to believe Trotsky was a traitor and never contributed to the success of the USSR. Their memory tells them he did contribute however their sense perception deceives them and tells them the opposite as the photos shows that he was not  present at those crucial times. This then ties into their knowledge that Trotsky is a traitor and that they should not idolise him. Does this prove that manipulation plays into the construction of knowledge (specifically shared knowledge)?

I also want to talk about justified true belief and show how this is an important model which supports how manipulation plays an important role in knowledge construction.

Justified true belief → important model to describe how authorities manipulate knowledge (or the construction of false knowledge) 

  • Justification- can be formed through imagination. Emotion (ties into central WOK I am exploring) can manipulate.
  • Truth- can be bent to fit their circumstance. Not necessarily concrete in this case. Especially not in the realm of history we’re talking about- and especially in Soviet Union (relates to RLS). Truth can be shaped due to emotion and very reliant on sense perception. (Link to claim that sense perception easily deceived).
  • Belief- obviously believe that it is the correct choice

This would then support my KQ as it shows that emotion plays a significant role in the construction of knowledge.

Another KQ: How do figures of authority throughout history construct knowledge?

Maybe this would be a better one, much broader. As I can explore everything I've said above but also be able to bring in other AOKs. Indigenous knowledge systems can also feature in the exploration as I could explore how the chiefs construct knowledge and compare/contrast this to older historical figures as well as figures of the 20th/21st century.

Edited by suwen.lee_

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Posted (edited)

I think you are making progress in the right direction. I like how you have a central WoK and supporting ones. The KQ (and the previous wording of it) is definitely on the right track. In the case of Trotsky, it's also interesting to analyze people's response and how, if at all, the idea that Trotsky had been a traitor was internalized to personal knowledge. How do we know that people accepted such knowledge? Perhaps going bit side track but on your time you should be open to exploring alternative perspectives and directions of the essay. More so than Group 1 essays, ToK essays and presentations often have significant change in directions based on stronger examples that one thinks of. Therefore, rather than forming an outline and try to turn it into an essay/presentation, keep generating aspects and examples you would like to explore, and in the final draft only include the strongest examples and counterexamples (supporting and rejecting your claims). 

Also for Indigenous knowledge, sure include it and later you can decide if it's a strong enough example/counterexample that you should include. 

Edited by kw0573

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