Y13 Essays: Revised Deadline

The deadline for the Y13 TOK essays has been changed to Thursday, December 4th, in recognition that most Y13 courses will have assessments during the week of November 24th.

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Emotion_HJ

The video we watched about happiness on TOK class was a mind-blowing video. It talked about whether happiness can be synthetic or not. The experiment conducted by Harvard university where two groups of students were asked to choose a picture. One group of students were allowed to change their selection after 4 days, but others couldn’t change their choice. Oddly, the group of students who couldn’t change their choice felt more happiness than the students who changed their picture. Many people would think that having a restricted choices (freedom) would make one less happier than the other. It didn’t make any sense to me at the first time because this experiment result might support an assertion that the slaves were the happiest person because they had no freedom.

However, after thinking about it for a period, I began to comprehend what the talker of the video was trying to lecture us. Personally, I have a lot of experience of regretting things that I changed, such as changing my mind from not buying a cloth to buying it, and it turns out that the better designed cloth is on sale on the next day. However, the speaker’s lecture was telling more than that. I interpreted as people who have less choices will feel more hapy because they won’t know the consequence of changing their choice. It could be similar with why children are pure-hearted. Since they don’t know much about the brutal side of the world since they are only exposed to fairy tales where justice always win. Because the students didn’t change their mind, they will think that their choice was the best choice they could made, whereas some fo the students who changed their minds were unhappy because they discovered that their first choice wasn’t better than their second choice, in other words, they started to make comparisons. The video taught me the ironical side of choices and happiness.

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Review on Emotion

In TOK class, I learned about how emotion takes part in our thoughts. I was very surprised by the speech in TED. Dan Gilbert claimed that rich people or poor people, they synthesize the happiness into the same extent. This meant that happiness is not dependant on the social status of people. I felt great confusion becuase I have been studying for years to become happy in the future.
In order to have better social status, I have been studying for years. However, if people can synthesize the same extent of happiness, why do we ahve to try so hard? From this confusion, I was able to think about the real meaning of happiness and real purpose of our life.
I also learned about ‘Love’. The video I watched during TOK class explained about the realation between brain and emotion. I read a book called ‘L’ultime secret’ by Bernadr Werber. The book was about two ‘detectives’ trying to find out the ‘ultimate secret’. The secret was the way to get the maximum happiness or thrill by stimulation the brain. The story begins with the man who died during sexual intercourse. The event seems very absurd, but the book explains the cause and facts about the brain, so that the death of the man can be possible. From this book and the lecture from Dan Gilbert led me to think about the potential of the brain.

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Emotion

From Dan Gilbert’s film, “The surprising science of happiness”, there are several points that I found were very interesting, and certainly true from my experiences. The fact that we can “synthesize” happiness is but one really surprising, but accurate portrayal of the human psychological functioning, almost the like of our emotions evolving and adapting to the current status that we are in, regardless of how unfortunate the circumstances are. One particular example he identified in his talk is the Moreese Bickham, who expressed his happiness of having “a glorious experience, without one minute’s regret.”

However, I think, this sign, which he also calls it the “psychological immune system”, is only accurate to certain extent. The another major example he used towards the end of the talk, about choosing photographs, is not applicable to what he calls what contributes to the synthesis of happiness. Choosing between the act of decision right away and deliberately choose between the photographs, Gilbert suggests that the synthesis of happiness only occurs when decisions are made right away, as opposed to over-thinking that leads to great misery. Nevertheless, I think it is the fact that people think they will achieve happiness only if they are not forced to make decision under such pressure at the time; they think that it is the opportunity to change between different options that is “conducive” to happiness.

In that light, the quotation by the Bard “’Tis nothing good or bad / But thinking makes it so.” only portrays one side of the psychological mind, not the other. Though I have a contained agreement towards his point of view, I think it is also prominent to talk about the synthesis of happiness in terms of “immune system” through the typical view of the human, not just the scientific findings behind it.

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Emotion

We watched the video about the surprising science of happiness. He gave me various ides to think about what is the real happiness, however, I don’t agree for some points that he said. Firstly, I have different idea about the choice between person who is winning the lottery and person who is becoming paraplegic. He told that the fact is that a year after lost the legs and winning the lotto are equally happy with their lives. I think the year before they become happy is important too. His opinion and the data put importance on the result but also its process is significant to decide happiness.

It applies to for Moreese Bickham who spent 37 years in the prison for a crime he didn’t commit and he said it was Glorious experience. Therefore, it can mean he was happy. I want to ask him again ‘are you really happy about your prison experience caused by false charge?’ Make and think that experience to valuable experience is the power of positive thought, which is Bickham, has. However, definitely, it can’t be called ‘happiness’. Happiness experience should be unchanged when compare to any experience. If the life that can spend out of the prison is given to him, I can’t sure that he will choose the prison life again, which was ‘glorious’ experience, to him.

I got many ideas and chances to think in different way from the video. Dan Gilbert gave many experiments that I can participate so I could think more concretely. As the happiness is abstract subject, I couldn’t say that is right and wrong exactly. However, this topic induces me to think widely. His comment which about our longings and our worries are both to some degree overblown, because we have within us the capacity to manufacture the very commodity we are constantly chasing when we choose experience was impressive and remind me.

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Emotion

In “Spiders, snakes? Brain-damaged woman knows no fear”, Malcolm Ritter explains a research performed on a woman with a brain damage that destroyed her Amygdala, the brain’s “danger detector”. The woman in the experiment has been exposed to snakes, spiders, haunted houses and horror movies without showing any signs of fear. What she does remember is an incident from her childhood when a Pinscher scared her, which proves that, before the Amygdala was completely destroyed, she did experience fear. Therefore, we can make the conclusion that she does know what fear is.

We know that emotion is a way of knowing, and what I was thinking about is whether the woman could possibly have known what fear was if her brain damage would have occurred earlier in life, leaving her with no memories of being scared. Personally, I think that emotions are necessary for understanding how to react in different situations and to understand other’s feelings. I also believe that if she would have been borne with a dysfunctional Amygdala, she would not have known what it means to experience fear. On another occasion, the same woman was threatened by a man with a knife late at night. Instead of reacting by running away as most people would have, she confidently walked up to the man without feeling scared at all. She was lucky, and the man let her go without doing her any harm when she could as well have been killed. According to me, this tells us that emotions are necessary to understand danger and to avoid putting ourselves in life threatening situations.

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Emotion

As said by the American Comic Strip Artist, Bill Watterson – “The secret to happiness is short-term, stupid self-interest!” Although phrased rather bluntly and somewhat cynically, I cannot help but to agree with this statement. To me, happiness is a temporary state; one day you can be very euphoric, the next, perhaps melancholic. Whilst the two are extreme cases of two completely contrasting emotions, it does show that happiness is, in fact a transient condition that one is in. There are a few of us that may declare to live by what Watterson said, at least not out loud, but I believe that it’s part of human nature to act out of self-interest. As such, I think that it is completely unfeasible to lead a one-hundred percent happy life, the idea, if anything, sounds ideal and hypothetical to me, simply because one will always experience different emotions in their life and can never be always happy.

I found Dr Dan Gilbert’s TED talk to be rather interesting, I cannot say that I agree all points that he said, but a few were surprising to me. A point that I found rather perplexing is when Dr Dan Gilbert gave his introductory pop quiz where he had data of the happiness of lottery winners and paraplegics, represented in a numeric form; it did not elaborate as to how the happiness was measured. Dr Gilbert, however, brought up an intriguing point when he mentioned that the reversible condition is not conducive to the synthesis of happiness. I find this, at times, true. When given a reversible choice, a vast majority of the people tend to fluctuate, and end up not being happy with either one of their choices, which reminds me of the idiom, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”

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Emotion

The video we watched during our TOK class talked about how happiness is easy to find as it is a psychological state: you are content as long as you believe you can be. The video also said that you don’t need to be famous to find happiness, as it is always inside you.
Personally, I disagree with this theory. I think that humans were ‘programmed’ to be constantly unsatisfied and miserable, always wanting something more than they already have, concealing their greed behind a fake mask of positiveness. Furthermore, I believe that happiness is not a permanent state, but is rather ephemeral. We all have brief moments of joy, where we believe nothing could go wrong, believe our euphoria to last forever, only finding it to be gone the day after. Small things can make us happy such as a small present, a conversation, and sometimes even a text message, but more disappointments await us right behind the corner. Yes, small moments of happiness do exist, but a happy life as a whole is truly impossible. Many people claim to be happy, but they will soon discover that it is nothing but a momentary state, ready to fade away in no time.

This brings us to the topic of love, also explored during TOK. I believe that true love, as described in fairy tales, does not exist. Additionally, it has been scientifically proven that love does not last for more than two years, after that the two people just remain bonded or do not want to leave each other for various reasons. It is truly impossible to remain in love with one person forever, the state of being in love is not a permanent one and like happiness, it is always ready to rapidly diminish and bring us more sorrow.

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Emotion

The videos we watched in class, especially the one dealing with Happiness, really enlightened me. The video was about the difference between Happiness and Synthetic Happiness, and how happiness changes with the circumstance the person is in. I remember clearly from the video the experiment carried out in Harvard. Two groups of students that took photography class were asked to choose whether they would like to be able to choose between a course which allows them to take two photographs but only choose one in the end without the option of changing their mind, or the other course which allows them to take two photographs and be able to choose one photograph with the opportunity to change their mind about the photograph chosen until 4 days afterwards. Statistics show that the students who did not have a choice in changing their photograph were all generally much happier with their photograph compared to the other group of students who did have the opportunity to change their mind. This may seem unreasonable, as we think that people without choices are the ones who would be the least happy. However, this experiment shows the exact opposite result.

At first I found this hard to comprehend, but as I thought about it more, it made sense to me. People who are stuck with one option can only learn to adapt and be happy with what they have, but as soon as people have the ability to choose and make decisions, they will start to make comparisons, and when the chance to change is over, they will keep thinking that the other option is better. This actually happens to me almost once a week. My family goes out for lunch every Sunday, and there are a lot of options to dine in Suzhou, so as a result we would argue for quite a while, and end up at a restaurant that we all seemingly don’t like. However during weekdays when my dad and I enter the dining room to find a table of take out food from a small diner nearby that my mom brought back, we would feel happy about the food, and enjoy our meal. This is because we didn’t have a choice of food, and therefore our mind immediately settles for what we have, which in turn makes us happier.

This is a very weird concept to understand, we always learned in history that the happiest men are those who have choices and are free, but is this really true? Would every man in North Korea be any less happier every man in Japan?

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Emotion

Emotion as a ways of knowing

Ways of knowing help assimilation and shaping of knowledge. If these are the only conditions requires to be one of ways of knowing, I can say emotion is definitely included in ‘ways of knowing’. There are six primary emotions that we all know – happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust. I thought about what would I do when a boar suddenly attack me on the street. I will not be able to speak out but feel surprise and fear. Hence, ‘Emotion’ is the first thing that we use for surprise condition or new knowledge. Emotion helps me to assimilate knowledge related to a boar.

‘Emotion’ makes people irrational sometimes. For example, emotion toward a lover makes you to seek merit and overlook lover’s faults, whereas emotion toward an enemy makes you to seek faults from he/she. As Helen fisher said, people still feel joy when they are eating a piece of chocolate cake even they know all the ingredients of it. My own interpretation of her talk is that people are aware of being irrational when they fall in love. ‘Love’ traps people in emotional bias and they all know that; but people still crave for love. They volunteer for it because of its great addiction. So the question is ‘should emotion excluded from ways of Knowing’. I might say yes because it shapes irrational knowledge. However I might also say no, because people are aware of emotional bias.

For me, ‘Emotion’ is too complicated to be explained. It can be WOK sometimes, but cannot be WOK sometimes.

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Emotion

Does a wide range of choices affect our happiness? According to a TED talk because we are offered plenty of choices, we do not appreciate the option we already have. The professor carried out an experiment, which would shed light on how we realize happiness. A group was given two choices, the first being able to temporarily give a photo which can be switched at a later date. While the other choice forces the subject to pick a photo in a specific time frame and deal with the consequences. Although results proved that the group that picked the second choice ended happier than the first because they learn to care for it, love it. However, its not so much as taking time to care for it but rather having no time to care another option. Results prove choice one will lead to sadness because they feel unsatisfied with the photo they kept. Instead, the problem is time itself, by allowing a subject to take time to care for both pictures the amount of attention is equally shared. When a photo is yanked out of the equation, a gap is formed, which results in sadness. As we spend valuable time on caring for both photos we notice the desirable and the undesirables. These attributes cause an emotional tug-of-war which causes problems when one side is removed. One might consider multiple choices to be a crucial component in happiness. Without multiple choices one may argue that our thirst for innovation will overcome our happiness and cause boredom. Products are built obsolete, we tend to look towards the ocean of consumer goods. Basically one would say this fake happiness, this buyable happiness will only last so as long as our wallets can keep up.

During china week, when I went to luoyang to build a library. I was amazed at the children and the amount of choices hey have. Comparing our lives to theirs, we have much more in every aspect. Considering these details we should have a much happier life. However, in reality they benefit off the limited choices they have. We have plenty of choices in which problems arise from all the different choices. Their lives are much simpler compared to ours, for them amusement is around each corner. While for us we need to buy choices, which brings us happiness.

 

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2015 May TOK Essay Question Planning

Q1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Key Terms: Neutral question, 2 AOKs

Difficulty: Defining the term ‘Neutral question’- VAGUE

It will be important to first define the term ‘neutral question’. 

It is believed that all the questions are neutral questions. In other words, questions should be asked with options of answers. Thus, neutral questions exist!

AOK: Economics (Human Science) & Art / Literature

Economics and Arts are two subjects that are always neutral as it focuses on different individuals.

WOK: Emotion & Reason & Perspective & Language

I will consider writing essay on this question!

Q2. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key Terms: Knowledge, Passive Observation, Active Experiment

For this question, it will be also important to first define the key terms in the essay. As the question divides into two different ways; the two terms, passive observation and active experiment should be clearly defined and clarified to correctly evaluate the question.

Possible discussion,

AOK: Mathematics/ Science & Human Science &

WOK: Emotion & Reason & Language

This question is a interesting question to be explored, but I would not consider writing essay on this question. The question seems to require deep discussion in AOK I am not professional at.

Q3. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key TermsL Facts, Theories, Across disciplines, Groundwork of explanation

Recently, in physics, we are learning Astro physics. In Astro Physics, theories for our enormous solar system were explored through physics and chemistry. I realised that many things around humans are all related that can be said to be a one common question. It is not only Astro Physics that explores common groundwork of explanation, but also many other sciences and Literatures.

AOK: Science & Literature & Music

WOK: Perspective & Reason & Language

I would maybe consider this question with more understanding of the question and concepts.

Q4. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.

Key Terms: Shared Knowledge, Personal Knowledge

AOK: Economics & Literature

WOK: Emotion & Reason

I believe in this question, the difficulty would be defining the influence. How would people know what is influenced, and what influenced something.

With more research, I might consider this question.

Q5. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key Terms: Instinctive judgements

For this question, personal bias would be used with instinctive judgements. Different individuals have different instinctive judgements.

I would need more research on this question if I would like to choose this one for the essay.

Q6. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

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TOK ~ Questions preview

Q1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Key term: Neutral question
Neutral questions exist. “If a question is not neutral, then it is not really a question, but rather a statement, or judgment, disguised as a question.”
However, why do we ask questions? Sometimes the question we ask is a rhetorical one. Therefore, such questions will be deemed as not neutral.

Two AOK I will choose are, Chemistry (Natural sciences) and Ethics while two WOK I will choose are Emotion and Language. Emotion and language are closely intertwined. The question we need to ask ourselves is to what extent can we ask questions without using any emotions.

Q2. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key Terms: Produce Knowledge, passive observation, active experiment

“It is usual to say that the two sources of experience are Observation and Experiment. When we merely note and record the phenomena which occur around us in the ordinary course of nature we are said to observe. When we change the course of nature by the intervention of our will and muscular powers, and thus produce unusual combinations and conditions of phenomena, we are said to experiment. [Sir John] Herschel has justly remarked that we might properly call these two modes of experience passive and active observation. In both cases we must certainly employ our senses to observe, and an experiment differs from a mere observation in the fact that we more or less influence the character of the events which we observe. Experiment is thus observation plus alteration of conditions.”

AOK: Chemistry (Natural sciences) and History
WOK: Emotion and Sense perception
Knowledge issue: To what extent do we produce or discover knowledge?

Q3. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key Terms: Facts, theories, explanation

I feel that we can link facts and theories across disciplines. This is because, everything coincides with one another. For example the theories used in physics can be applied in the construction of infrastructures. The questions I need to ask myself is “are there times whereby we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines?” If I do this question, one of my main concerns would be, what is my counter-claim?

AOK: Chemistry, Physics (Natural sciences) and Psychology (Human sciences) and ethics
WOK: Reason and sense perception

Q4. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.

(I am looking at doing this question)

Key Terms: 2 ares of knowledge, shared knowledge and personal knowledge

Shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge for the better or for the worst. If we take a look at AOK such as Chemistry and mathematics, there are usually fixed answers to a question. For example, when we look up a factual question in Yahoo answers or Wikipedia, we generally get the same answer. There might be different ways to getting the answer but the answer obtained is generally the same. These subjects are generally logical and straightforward. However the question we need to ask ourselves is to what extent can we trust this source or knowledge? How do we know if this knowledge attained is the truth?

On the other hand, if we take a look at AOK such as ethics, or human sciences such as economics, we usually find that there are two ways to look at things. There will be different ways to solve a question and we will generally see different answers to a solution. Why is this so? This is because in such AOKs, many factors affect the final answer. The factors we need to take into account are emotion and reasoning. Such questions are generally not straightforward and people of different cultures, upbringing and experiences in life will form different opinions and their belief system will thus be different.

Personal knowledge is affected by upbringing and experiences in life. Experiences in life shape our personal knowledge. These experiences in life can be considered shared knowledge.

Knowledge question: How reliable is an expert when making a decision?

Q5. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

(I am looking at doing this question)

Key Terms: Ways of knowing, Instinctive judgements

How reliable is our gut instincts? Ways of knowing allows us to perceive the world. However, to what extent do we know weather or not our ways of knowing will lead us to the truth? There are times when our gut instincts can be measured but there are also times whereby gut instincts cannot be measured. Do we really have a sixth sense? One example that can be used is the collapse of the World Trade Centers. There have been reports that some people avoided the World Trade Centers on 9th /11 because they just felt something were wrong. In this case, only the sixth sense comes into play. There are no ways of knowing that can check on this ‘sixth sense’. However, the counter-claim for this could be looking at WOK, emotion.

Q6. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key Terms: Knowledge, meaning, purpose and personal lives

First of all, I feel that this question is on a personal level.
Everything in our lives requires knowledge to a certain extent. Without knowledge, we cannot co-exist. What would be a life without knowledge? I can explore this question with AOK, Chemistry (Natural sciences) and Economics (Human sciences) with WOK, emotion and reasoning. Throughout civilizations, we see a vast change in terms of knowledge attained. Without a thirst of knowledge, will we still be living in the same 21st century of today?

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Possible essay titles analysis

1) key terms: evaluate and neutral question

knowledge issue: (?)

WOK/AOK: psychology, maths (?), reason and language

problems: defining what we consider to be neutral

wouldn’t consider this: word limit

 

2) key terms: humankind, passive observation, active experiment, only 2 ways

knowledge issue: Can knowledge only be gained from these two ways?

WOK/AOK: science, reason

problems: not considering that there are potentially multiple ways to produce knowledge

would consider this: feel many opportunities to explore this

 

3) key terms: disciplines, common groundwork

knowledge issue (?)

WOK/AOK: science, reason

problems: defining a common explanation

wouldn’t consider this: word limit

 

4) key terms: discuss, shared knowledge, personal knowledge

knowledge issue: How does shared knowledge influence personal knowledge?

WOK/AOK: psychology, reason, emotion

problems: subjective, so difficult to measure and determine the influence it has

would consider it: can be explored

 

5) key terms: instinctive judgements

knowledge issue: how to WOKs relate and influence instinctive judgements?

WOK/AOK: reason, emotion, psychology

problems: not everyone has the same instinctive judgements

would consider it: interesting to research

 

6) key terms: meaning, personal and purpose

knowledge issue: How do we know our lives have meaning?

WOK/AOK: reason, emotion, psychology

problems: definition of meaning and purpose

wouldn’t consider this: hard to justify and define

 

 

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May 2015 TOK Essay Analysis

  1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

The most essential part that the essay will need to focus on is the definition for neutral question. As different individuals see things differently, can there be a question that is not bias? Therefore, the most knowledge question will be to what extend can our question be considered as neutral.

AOK: Science (where things need to be neutral) Art (Where it is impossible to be neutral) WOK: Reason and Emotion.

Potential problem: It will be a challenge to define the terms as it is too vague.

I will consider this question because once we are able to clarify the definition of neutral question, the essay will be much simpler.

  1. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

The key terms that will need to be clarify are “passive observation” and “active experiment”. It will be helpful to first identify what each of them means. Focusing on how we produce knowledge.

AOK/ WOK: Music (sense perception)/ Human Science (Reasons)

Potential problem: it does not seem that realistic to always separate the two.

I will not consider this topic because it is far too complicated and it will be hard to make it clear.

  1. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

The key terms here are facts theories and common ground of explanations.

KQ: To what extent can facts and theories link across disciplines and still be valid.

AOK/WOK: Geography (Reason),

Potential difficulties: Even though the question seems easier than the previous two, it is too broad and may be hard to explain precisely in a TOK essay.

I might choose this question because it is slightly more straightforward. However, it may also be misleading if not careful enough.

  1. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.

The key terms that will need to be aware of are shared knowledge and shape personal knowledge

AOK /WOK: Physic (reason), Literature (Language)

Potential difficulties: Hard to decide which AOK will work the best.

I will choose this as it is more direct than the previous questions.

  1. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key terms: ways of knowing, our instinctive judgment

AOK: /WOK: Business and Management (ALL) Science (ALL)

KQ: to what extend does ways of knowing influence our judgments

Potential difficulties: Too general, and require lots of research.

I will not consider this question as this is too broad.

  1. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key terms: knowledge meaning, purpose and personal lives.

AOK/WOK: Literature (Emotion) Religion (Sense perception)

KQ: To what extent can knowledge accurately provide meaning and purpose to our lives?

Potential difficulties: Each person has different view of knowledge and how useful it is.

I might consider this question. But I should be aware of how analyzing it carefully.

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Essay Titles

1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Key terms: Neutral and evaluate.

Key knowledge question: To what extent is a neutral question acceptable in questioning and judging?

AOKs and WOKs: Psychology (Loftus and Palmer, Changing keywords have effect on answer outcome), Mathematics (Are math’s questions always neutral?) WOK: Language, Reason.

Potential problems: Defining Neutrality in context of questions.

Possibility as a question: Would Consider. Examples to develop essay.

 

2. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key terms: only 2 ways, humankind, produce knowledge, passive observation, active experiment.

 

Key knowledge question: To what extent does knowledge come externally or internally of a person?

 

AOKs and WOKs: Mathematics (extent of knowledge that could be gained from equations and formulas) WOK: Reason.

 

Potential problems: Not acknowledging that there may be other ways to produce knowledge.

 

Possibility as a question: Not Consider. Observations and experiments are hard to compare in TOK context.

 

3. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key terms: link, facts, theories, disciplines, and common groundwork.

 

Key knowledge question: To what extent can different disciplines merge to generate a compatible explanation.

 

AOKs and WOKs: Sciences (These subjects greatly involve facts and theories)

 

Potential problems: The extent of a “common explanation”.

 

Possibility as a question: Not consider. Difficult to fabricate under 1500 words

 

4. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.

Key terms: discuss, shared knowledge, shape, personal knowledge.

 

Key knowledge question: To what extent does shared knowledge affect personal knowledge?

 

AOKs and WOKs: Psychology, Sociology, Humanities. WOK: reason, emotion.

 

Potential problem: Since personal knowledge is subjective, how would we quantify and measure the effect shared knowledge has on personal.

 

Possibility as a question: Would Consider. Knowledge to the individual could be looked into.

 

5. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key terms: instinctive judgments.

 

Key knowledge question: To what extent are judgments affected by personal experience?

 

AOKs and WOKs: Psychology, Politics. WOK: reason, emotion.

 

Potential problems: How are judgments quantified by different groups of people?

 

Possibility as a question: Would Consider. Judgment could be explored.

 

6. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Key terms: meaning, purpose, personal.

 

Key knowledge question: To what extent are people’s personal lives meaningful?

 

AOKs and WOKs: Humanities. WOKs: Reason, emotion, sense perception.

 

Potential problems: As this is on personal, subjective points of view, how do we define meaning and purpose.

 

Possibility as a question: Not Consider. Too subjective to objectify.

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TOK Essay Questions considerations

  1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

I do agree with this question to some degree.

The key term is “neutral question” in this question. The main

The key knowledge question: To what extent can we produce a neutral question? (How does the ideal neutral question relate to WOK such as emotion and language?)

AOKs can be applied: Maths/ Science vs. Humanity/Literature

WOKs: emotion, language, reason

The potential problem about this question is that it’s hard to

Yes I would.

I think this question is interesting to explore.

 

  1. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

To some extent I do agree with the statement, but I think I disagree if I think more about it.

The key terms are “produce knowledge”, “passive observation” and “active experiment”.

The key knowledge question: Is knowledge limited to these two ways of producing knowledge? Or are there any other ways that can produce knowledge?

AOKs can be applied: Maths/ Science vs. Humanity/Literature

WOKs: Reason and sense perception (passive observation) are most important among the rest. Emotion and language can be discussed.

The potential problem is to find example that can substantiate the fact that the production of knowledge is not limited to these two factors.

Yes I would consider about it.

First of all I think this question is interesting to explore. Second of all, I think it is quite easy to find example that can support the statement.

 

  1. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

I do agree with this question to some degree. For example, Science and definitely combine with Art. However, it makes me wonder whether we can connect disciplines like Maths and Literature together?

The key terms are “across disciplines” and “ create a common groundwork of explanation”.

The key knowledge question:

AOKs can be applied: Chemistry and physics using Art

WOKs: emotion, language, reason

The potential problem

Maybe I will consider this question. First of all I think this question is interesting to explore.

 

 

  1. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.

The key terms are “two AOKS”, “shared knowledge” and “shape personal knowledge”.

The key knowledge question: To what extent are we affected by the shared knowledge? Are shared knowledge important to us?

AOKs can be applied: Maths/ Science/ Humanity (geography)/Literature

WOKs: emotion, language, reason

The potential problem about this question is that this question is a bit vague.

I don’t think I will consider this question. I am not really interested by this question.

 

 

  1. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

I don’t agree with the statement.

The key terms are “Ways of knowing” and “instinctive judgment”

The key knowledge question: To what extent are the ways of knowing stopping us from making judgments instinctively?

AOKs can be applied: Maths and Science (cannot be instinctive most of the time)

Literature on the other hand could be quite instinctive.

WOKs (all)

I would probably consider this question.

 

  1. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.”

I do agree with this question to some degree.

The key terms are “meaning and purpose” and “personal lives”.

The key knowledge question: Does knowledge really need to have any meaning or purpose?

AOKs can be applied: Science ( produce meaning and purpose because it provides us physical comfort etc.)/ Literacy and Art on the surface level don’t have obvious purpose. However they could be enrichment of our mind. Etc.

WOKs: emotion, language, reason

The potential problem is this question is very abstract.

I would consider this question. However it’s quite vague and hard to argue.

 

 

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May 2015 Essay Titles

1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.
Key terms: neutral question, evaluate, two areas of knowledge
Suitable AOKs/WOKs: Literature (Language) Mathematics (Reason)
Potential problems: What is a ‘neutral question’? Is it a question that does not add weight to any side? Or…
=> Maybe, since after the concept of ‘neutral question’ is well-defined, the rest of it would not be too complicated.

2. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Key terms: produce knowledge, passive observation, active experiment, to what extent
Suitable AOKs/WOKs: Natural Science (Biology) Music, sense perception, emotion and reasoning
Potential problems: What is the standard separating ‘passive observation’ and ‘active experiment’?
=> Maybe, since after I formulate an appropriate standard dividing those two, the rest won’t be too difficult.

3. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Key terms: facts, theories, across disciplines, create a common groundwork of explanation, to what extent
Suitable AOKs/WOKs: Religion, Art, Emotion
Potential problems: This question itself is hard to fully understand. Too many concepts to define.
=> No, since it must be very difficult to deal with that many concepts; too complicated.

4. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.
Key terms: two areas of knowledge, discuss, shared knowledge, shape, personal knowledge
Suitable AOKs/WOKs: Literature and History
Potential problems: Some researches required for general background knowledge for the areas of knowledge. Or can I propose my personal case?
=> Maybe, if I could find some suitable background information to apply into this case.

5. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Key terms: Ways of knowing, a check, instinctive judgments, to what extent
Suitable AOKs/WOKs: Should I cover all of the WOKs?
Potential problems: Just like question 3, the question itself is hard to fully understand. Too many WOKs to discuss.
=> No, it’s just too broad.

6. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Key terms: whole point of knowledge, produce, meaning and purpose, personal lives
Suitable AOKs/WOKs: Religion and Psychology, Emotion and Reason
Potential problems: Knowledge that produces meaning and purpose in someone’s life could be considered in a different perspective, since that ‘meaning and purpose’ in life depend on individuals.
=> No, my answer to this question would be over-personalized.

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May 2015 Essay Titles — At First Glance

1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

- The keyword here is ‘neutral question’, which means that the question is unbiased and does not take any of the sides of the issue.

- Knowledge Questions: How can we know when a question is neutral? What different variants of knowledge can be found within a neutral question? Is any knowledge lost due to the neutrality of the question?

- Possible AOKs: Mathematics. I feel that in Maths, all questions are or should be neutral. It would be interesting to explore whether that truly is the case, then the statement in the question would be contradicted.

English Literature. In my opinion, all questions in English Literature should be asked in a neutral manner as to be open to interpretation.

- Would I choose this question? Although this question seems rather interesting to explore, I feel that, by simply looking at the surface of it for this post, I was already brought to dead-ends. It seems to be that it is too broad, and will only lead into traps.

2. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

- The keywords here are ‘passive observation’ and ‘active experiment’. I would need to first state whether there are other ways of producing knowledge, and, if yes, thoroughly differentiate them from one another.

- Knowledge Questions: How can we determine the source of our knowledge? And where does that knowledge then come from? Which form of knowledge is more important — the knowledge gained from passive observation or active experiment?

- Possible AOKs:I feel that in the Sciences, especially Chemistry, certain forms of knowledge can only be gained through active experiments. This can also be looked at in the AOK of Mathematics, where it is one thing to learn the formula (passive observation) but it is another to know how to apply it (active experiment).

- Would I choose this question? This question does seem very demanding, and if I were to potentially choose it, it would require a lot of my time and thinking. I am caught in the middle, it’s a possible yes.

3. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

- The key terms are ‘facts’, ‘theories’, ‘link’, ‘common groundwork of explanation’. What I understand from this question is that I would need to investigate whether the facts and theories of different AOKs can overlap and link in order to better explain a question at hand.

- Knowledge Questions: To what extent can linking facts and theories across disciplines lead to more (or less) knowledge? How can we know when it is a good idea to link them?

- Possible AOKs: I could investigate how two completely different disciplines can overlap. This makes me think of an article I came across a while back where the mathematics behind the rhythm of Shakespeare’s works was explored.

- Would I choose this question? Possibly, yes. However, I would really need to focus on the actual links between the disciplines rather than only examples.

4. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.

- The keywords are ‘shared knowledge’ and ‘personal knowledge’. However how SHARED knowledge shapes PERSONAL knowledge, not the other way around.

- Knowledge Questions: Which proportions of our knowledge is shared and which is personal? How can we best shape personal knowledge? How can we share personal knowledge so that it becomes shared? Can one gain personal knowledge from shared knowledge?

- Possible AOKs: Ethics and Literature.

- Would I choose this question? I don’t think I would because the concept of shared and personal knowledge within the AOKs confuses me a bit too much.

5. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

- The keywords in this question are ‘instinctive judgements’. The question is asking whether the WOKs (Reason, Emotion, Sense Perception and Language) are a ‘check’ or a justification of our intuition.

- Knowledge Questions: Are our instinctive judgements knowledge? Is anything that can be ‘checked’ with the WOKs directly classified as knowledge? Does this hinder or help us?

- Possible AOKs: I feel that English Literature would be the main one here. Our initial interpretation of a work could be arguably our ‘instinctive judgements’. Whether those are justified or not by the WOKs could be a possible way of exploring this question. I could then link it to real-life examples.

- Would I choose this question? This would probably not be my first choice, but could still potentially be in the first three.

6. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

- The keywords are ‘knowledge’, ‘produce’, ‘meaning’ and ‘purpose’. It’s important to notice that the question specifies that the WHOLE point of knowledge is to produce meaning and purpose, hence there must be no other point (the other points of knowledge could be counter claims here).

- Knowledge Questions: How can we know the point of knowledge? Must knowledge have a point? People with mental illnesses such as depression, who believe their lives have no meaning and are purposeless (existential people as well), do they not have any knowledge then? (COUNTERPOINT)

- Possible AOKs: For somebody who will not pursue a scientific life yet still has to attend one IB Science subject, what is the point of that knowledge? The Sciences could be a possible AOKs, then again, this question is so broad and general, any would work.

- Would I choose this question? I actually prefer these types of abstract questions. However, I am just not sure the word limit will let me explore this question thoroughly.

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TOK Questions

  1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.
    1. What is a Neutral Question? Since we all interpret things differently can there ever be a question that is neutral? AOK: Scientific/Mathematical questions vs. Abstract questions e.g. Art
  2. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
    1. AOK: Art à History of Art (passive observation)/ Applied Art (active experiment). Then again, what about innate/instinctive knowledge?
  3. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
    1. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. No.
  4. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.
    1. AOK: Through creating art à learn about yourself. Through a thorough understanding of how our biology/psychology works à you could gain personal knowledge as to why you do the things you do. The question is more straight forward than the previous one.
  5. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
    1. “are a check on..” à too vague..
  6. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
    1. I sense a religious discussion, which may lead to getting lost in an argument about religion rather than TOK.

 

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2015 Prescribed Essay titles

  1. Neutral question refers to a question that does not include any opinion or stance of a person asking the question. We might ask “Who will you vote for the next president? Person A or person B?” But then, if the person is thinking of voting for a person A on the firsthand, the question is not neutral because the questioner might be expecting to hear a specific answer. This expectation might not be apparent or conscious. It might be a good idea to refer to science as a AOK.
  2. Well, if you consider math, knowledge does not come from passive nor active observation. It is isolated from the real world and only consists of logic built upon logic.
  3. Physics definitely answers to this question. Influence of physics actually extends from chemistry, biology, astronomy, geography, psychology and even music. Principle of wave is closely related to rhyme and frequency of notes. Quantum Electrodynamics (one of theories in physics) explains interaction between light and matter, hence it explains all natural phenomena (except for gravity and atomic nucleus), encompassing concepts learnt in Biology and Chemistry.
  4. Shared knowledge can be considered as a paradigm of that era. What we learn at school is the knowledge that confers to the contemporary paradigm. Therefore, whenever there is a paradigm shift, what we learn in school changes. In future, may be students will learn something different to now according to the paradigm of that era.
  5. I think this question is over generalized. Ways of knowing: sense perception, emotion, logic, language. Ways of knowing can be a source of instinctive judgment. When you are driving a car and see a person running into your car you (sense perception) you will step on the brake (instinctive judgment). Also, you can make educated guess and use other ways of knowing to check whether you are right or wrong.
  6. Knowledge does not have to fulfill the need or provide purpose of life. Some people yearn for knowledge for their sake of curiosity. Some knowledge is virtually irrelevant to answering purpose of life or those sort of questions. What does sum of sine squared and cosine squared equals to one have meaning for us? What does the fact that human body is composed of oxygen 65%, carbon 18%, hydrogen 10% and nitrogen 3% have meaning to us? Can we regard a mixture with same component of this, worth as much as human life?
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May 2015 Prescribed Essay Titles

1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.
– Key terms: neutral question, evaluate, two areas of knowledge
– Suitable AOK/WOK: English and Economics or Business Studies because neutral questions are used in questionnaires for customers.
– Potential difficulties: First knowing what a neutral question is; trying to find counter-examples to the statement; the wording of the question is less flexible than “to what extent do you agree..”
– Would I choose this question?: Yes, maybe. This question seems more straightforward because the scope of the essay is already defined.

2. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
– Key terms: produce knowledge, passive observation, through active experiment, to what extent do you agree.
– Suitable AOK/WOK: biology and art; sense perception, emotion, reason
– Potential difficulties: the assertion only reflects one side of the argument; is knowledge produced?
– Would I choose this question?: No, seems complicated.

3. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
– Key terms: facts, theories, common groundwork of explanation, to what extent do you agree.
– Suitable AOK/WOK: biology, religion; reason
– Potential difficulties: it’s quite a complicated to understand and very broad; like question 2 it also only reflects one side of the argument; would also probably need an AOK like Ethics or religion
– Would I choose this question?: No, this question seems much more complicated than the other ones.

4. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.
– Key terms: two areas of knowledge, discuss, shared knowledge, personal knowledge
– Suitable AOK/WOK: History and Biology
– Potential difficulties: would need to go back to the work done on TOK day in Year 12; probably lots of research involved;
– Would I choose this question?: Yes, maybe. The scope of the essay is already defined but the way the question is formulated still allows for some flexibility.

5. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
– Key terms: ways of knowing, instinctive judgments, to what extent
– Suitable AOK/WOK: all the WOKs
– Potential difficulties: hard to understand; need to do research about this statement
– Would I choose this question?: No, this question also seems quite complicated.

6. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
– Key terms: knowledge, meaning, purpose, personal lives
– Suitable AOK/WOK: Sense perception and emotion; History and Religion
– Potential difficulties: knowledge can have many purposes and meanings depending on each person; this question would probably involve talking about religion if different perspectives were to be used
– Would I choose this question?: No, this question seems complicated.

Overall, I would probably choose question 1 or 4.

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First Impressions of TOK

My first impressions of TOK is that it seems like a good class. The lessons that it teaches, like not accepting that everything anyone of importance says is true, can be used in real life situations. TOK seems like a great class to learn life lessons.

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Behaving So Strangely – Reflection

The issue raised in the podcast ‘Behaving So Strangely’ is interesting in many ways. First, the theory that there are more Chinese students with perfect pitch than non-Chinese students is due to learning the tones in Chinese is awe-strucking. This notion, which I have never heard of, may or may not be true, but the arguments made are quite holistic in analyzing the tones of the Chinese language.

For example, what most stood out from the podcast is how different tones in Chinese can change the intended meanings of words completely. One particular word, ‘ma’, is used in different contexts based upon the different tones used. ‘Ma’ in first tone means mother; ‘ma’ in third means horse; in fourth means reproach.

In addition, the study of the difference between the percentage of perfect pitch of Chinese music students and European music students are also striking. Surprisingly, 75% of Chinese music students have perfect pitch as opposed to only 15% of European music students. The theory suggested in the podcast is that it is a natural advantage of Chinese students to learn pitch intuitionally throughout learning the Chinese language; thus, tone is what accounts for the 3 out of 4 students in China who have perfect pitch.

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Reflection of “Dreaming in Chinese”

Increasing popularity of Chinese is commonly known nowadays. However, it is not easy and quit annoying to learn it.  I was impressed by the quote that adopting and learning different attiquete and styles is the interesting part of it. Additionally, as Korean,  I admire the Chinese citizens’ keeping their language and appreciate to their own language. I don’t have an idea that it is a drawback or advantage, Korean tends to adopt foreign words without doubt. I argue that Korean should think back our own precious language.

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The Bilingual Advantage

After reading the Article “The Bilingual Advantage” I came across a very important and beneficial to humanity. According to Ellen Bialystok there is a connection between being bilingual and stalling the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the article a study that was conducted showed that many people who were monolinguals were said to start suffering from Alzheimer’s at a much younger age then those who were bilingual.

This is a very interesting point because it shows a medical benefit to speaking more then one language and this could push schools and children to learning more then one language, not just so that they become more culturally knowledgeable but also so that more of the human population will live for much longer and have much better lives.

THis is one of the Interesting parts of the article and intrigued me a lot

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The Bilingual Advantage

I think it is really interesting how bilingualism helps a person’s cognitive function so much. Dr. Bialystok’s research shows how helpful knowing two languages can be outside of the fact of just being able to understand more people. It benefits a person if they have the disease Alzheimer’s in that they can function for a longer time and show fewer symptoms in the beginning than someone who has the disease and monolingual. It also aids people when multitasking, this is due to how bilingualism trains the executive control system of the brain so it is able to perform more than one task at a time more efficiently

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The bilingual advantage

I think it is interesting that Ellen Bialystok, in the interview “The bilingual advantage” explains how bilingual children have the ability to easier determine whether a sentence is grammatically correct or not. She tells us about an experiment where they asked both monolingual and bilingual children whether the sentence “Apples grow on noses” was grammatically correct or not. Apparently the monolingual children could only focus on the point that this was a ridiculous statement, while the bilingual children could determine that this sentence actually was correct formulated by focusing on what’s important.

This example helped me understand how language can be a way of knowing since it proves that language is not only a way to express ourselves but also something that will improve our ability to handle more than one tasks at a time or to sort out the important part of something. Based on this information I wonder whether being bilingual also could be a benefit when for example skim-reading something tho the purpose of that is to be able to jump over what is not considered important for the moment and focus on what you really need to find out.

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Behaving so strangely becuase of language?

The podcast ‘Behaving so strangely’ and other two articles,which are ‘Dreaming in Chinese’ and ‘The Biligual Advantages’. Podcast and articles discuss about whether languages can affect how people behave. All of this discussions were made in the form of interview. Neuroscientist and liguist have successfully anaylzed the efffects of language on diseases, daily life or even musical talent.

The most interesting subject for me was about high per centage of Chinese have perfect pitch. In the podcast ‘Behaving so Strangely’ the interviwer asserts that about 70% of Chinese have perfect pitch and this is because Chinese have four different melodical accents. The first accent has plain and constant pithc, the second accent with ascending pith, third is twisted and fourth is accented with descending pitch. Can these simple pith arrangements enable Chinese to have perfect pitch?

In my point of view Chinese certainly can have perfect pitch because of the accents with pitch. Some people think that perfect pitch is inhereted. That means if someone has perfect pithch, their parents will also have perfect pitch, but this isn’t true. As an example, I have a friend in dulwich who has perfect pitch. He is so musically talented. He is able to compose a song within a second, know what cords were played, and play well on piano and guitar. He has perfect pitch. However, their parents is an ordinary people. His brother is also talented in music. However, there is nothing musical to be inhereted from their family members. However, my friend and his brother started learning music when they were really young. About 5 years old, they strated to learn piano. This means that education of music for young children can have massive impact. Young children seem to assimilate the value and information so easily, music cannot be the exception.

Therefore, if Chinese children are exposed to the certain pitch when they are speaking, they can be trained. They are frequently exposed to different pitch and therefore they have better sense on differentiating the pitch. With some education can easily become ‘perfect pitched’.

As a conclusion, articles and podcast gave me a new idea on luanguages. Laguages seem to have great importance for culture and our behavior.

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Does your language shape how you think?

This essay, “Lost in Translation” is about an argument that does language affects the way people think or not. When Mr. Macknight asked me about my opinion of Lera Boroditsky’s idea, I couldn’t notice any difference of the way I think when I’m speaking in Chinese, Korean or English. However, after I finish reading this essay, I could realize the differences and how the language shapes my way of thinking. Additionally, from his essay, I learnt that learning a new language also means learning and belonging the part of its culture.

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Reflection on Podcast “Behaving So Strangely”

It I were to be honest, I should say that I don’t remember a whole lot from the podcast. In fact, I don’t remember anything, EXCEPT THAT ONE LINE OF MUSIC/PHRASE/WHATEVER ONE MIGHT CALL IT. It’s black magic. No it’s not. It is just a repeated phrase played on a loop, which sounds like a music after a while. I began thinking about why the rhythm is stuck in my head throughout the whole podcast, and that why is it when I listen to the whole sentence, including that specific phrase, I can still hear that rhythm. I started to think about the times when I have something played on a loop accidentally too, and it also sounded like a tune after several repeats. I think the logical explanation to this would be because after several loops, our brain begins to not focus on what is being said, but instead focusing on what we normally don’t identify when we are hearing other people speaking: tone. After several repeats, the actually dialogue or speech does not stand out anymore, but the tone however, does. Since we normally don’t pay attention to the tone, it will be very obvious to identify if our brain ignores the content of the speech, but just focuses on the sound. After the tone of the speech is identified, the brain will now register it to the speech every time we hear it, no matter if it’s in a whole paragraph, a sentence, or just by itself, the tone is already registered to the phrase, like a lock and a key.

I think this goes to show that languages do indeed have different tones and are essentially a form of music, just music that we don’t usually recognize. The difference in pitches are usually quite subtle and random too, so it would be hard for our brains to recognize the pitches and rhythms in the first attempt. But in a situation presented like the podcast, the brain will get several chances to hear the same thing over and over again, and given that amount of time, the slightly different pitches will be heard, and some how exaggerated. The reason I say exaggerated, is because we will now hear that phrase, like its a part of a song with huge shifts in pitches, but in reality it would only be a slight variation. However due to the fact that the pitches are recognized, there is nothing that we can do to forget about it. Very weird.

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Reflection on Deutscher Article

Upon reading Deutscher’s “Does your language shape how you think” article, I found some points to be particularly interesting. To start off, he pointed out some fatal flaws in Whorf’s assumption of language limiting people’s ways of thinking, and directed our thoughts to how language helps people to understand certain things better. I like this line “Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.” This is a quote from Roman Jakobson. The reason why I found this so interesting is because it is very true. For example, in English, “cousin” is the only word needed for describing a relative of ourselves, but in Chinese, there are more specific names, and if it were to be translated into English, it would be “Cousin that is a younger female”, or “Cousin that is an older male” and so on. I hadn’t given it much thought before, but now that I read this essay, it suddenly struck me as a reason why I found it so incredibly difficult when I wanted to explain an event that included a certain cousin of mine, to a person who doesn’t speak Chinese. I want to specify his/her gender and her age, but in English I simply couldn’t do that.

Another interesting point Deutscher made was how Guugu Yimithirr people are still able to understand the same directions as us, even though they don’t use the terms “left” or “right”. It is a remote Australian aboriginal tongue, and the people who speak it do not understand the concept of left or right, but can point very precisely every time where North or South or East or West is. One person was even spun around a number of times as an experiment, and can still accurately point out where North is.

This goes to show that the Mother Tongue of a person does not limit his ways of thinking. Instead, people can use different languages, and still manage to communicate because although one language might not have a specific word or phrase, it must have something else to replace that phrase which would ultimately mean the same thing to both groups.

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‘Dreaming in Chinese’ and ‘The Bilingual Advantage’

Two texts were talking about how nice to be bilingual.  The most remarkable issue was that bilingualism helps forestall the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is one of the worst diseases that human can get, because it removes valuable memories. Time I had fun with friends and family and time I want to go back will be eliminated from my brain; it is scary. I firmly believe bilingualism would slow down dementia and this is little hope for human who detest getting Alzheimer’s disease.

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Does Different Languages affect Our Musical Ability

As stated in the video recording, being influence by languages like Chinese has a direct correlation with perfect pitch. To an extent there is, however, our personailty plays apart to our musical ability. If our personality was a more joyful type or more attentive to detail, this would help towards achieving a perfect pitch. Though, it is a low percentage of people who would have such an ability, the traits would certainly allow you to build toward such talent. But does language really affect our talent or is it genetics. Many have already said that even though your parents could be the best at a certain talent, there is no definitive proof that a trait like Perfect pitch cannot be transfer. Arabic compared to Chinese the languages are different and the pitch is also different. However, can both posses a talent of perfect pitch? It is possible because scientist have said that we truly learn the most during our ages 6-12 and because of this our culture allows us to have such talent. We could have been born into a culture of music, we could learn of different sounds and be associated with musical notes in which it would build up perfect pitch. Everyday we are listening to some form of music and this provides the baseline which musical talent is taken from. Which is why language though having multiple tones would not be a factor only a way of expressing. English and Chinese would be similar because both have tones and it is based off how we say the word. In English our emotion is expressed, while Chinese separate words have different emotional means. This is why although language may have different tones, we do not recognize the sound because a talent but because we are associated with it.

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Lost in translation-Does your language shape you?

While reading this article, I kept on questioning whether language really shapes us or not. Then, I found the word “shape” too vague. It could be referred as shaping person’s personality or physical features, but it wasn’t clearly mentioned. Nonetheless, even if the word “shape” is clarified, language still doesn’t shape people. For example, many people think that Chinese people are rude because of their language. This can be thought because when Chinese people speak their language, they pronounce it harsh and aggressively. Yet, there are many Chinese people who speak their language softly, so not all of the Chinese people are rude. As there aren’t any scientific results which prove that language shapes people, it is hard to say if it’s true or not. In conclusion, I somewhat agree to this article but I still believe that language doesn’t shape people because language’s affects are all different from people to people.

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First Impression to TOK

If anyone asks me what makes IB course unique from any other learning courses I have experienced so far, I would definitely reply with TOK. Theory of Knowledge class, or TOK for short is something I have heard often during my IGCSE years, yet still have no idea what the lesson is about. However, one thing that all the rumors have in common is that they all says TOK is about questioning knowledge. Thus when I stepped into my first TOK class in my IB year, I thought I already knew what the session is about.

It turns out that I am dead wrong.

I realized I was being foolish to think I can understand TOK with such an vague explanation after my first lesson. Cause merely mindlessly question knowledge is not enough for TOK, questioning is just the first step. TOK brings us looking at how perceptive, culture, language and much more influences our understanding of knowledge, creating much more space for even more viewpoints to what we thought we knew.

Currently I am still unable to create a definite explanation to what TOK class is, and I may finish IB without achieving so. But that is only because TOK constantly stimulate us to question what we already believed. To quote from our first TOK lesson: “We know nothing.” Thus there is no such thing as a conclusion we can settle in, there is always more knowledge that we just have not yet thought of.

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Language

What is language?

Language is a tool for communication, it is a way to connect with people around you, it can be written or/and spoken, it can also be physical (body language) and/or visual (images). Language is also a way to convey your ideas and emotions, to make people around you feel what you feel and know what you know.

In addition, language is used to illustrate and sometimes define culture. For different cultures have different sounds, grammar and words. Some may have more emotions and some may have more technical languages. Each one is unique and has different purposes, such as French is the language of love, making them a defining feature of culture.

Language is a crucial part of our everyday lives, without it our basic everyday actions would become more complicated and harder.

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Does your language shape how you think?

 

I agree with Boroditsky’s idea of language shape us. I certainly experience this  when learning English newly as second language. Different type of tense used in English grammar makes me consider novel things that I haven’t care when using Korean. After finish reading this argument, I wonder why and how I think the way I do which Korean has differed. Additionally, I become interested in studying new languages as well as new type of cognition and discover the things which is not uncovered yet because of not using that language.

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My first Impression of TOK

Before the TOK classes, I didn’t know anything about it. I just got the idea of what it stands for from the time table, but I didn’t know what are we going to do in that class. However, after the classes that introducing TOK, I had more ideas about it. From the first lessons of TOK classes, I learnt that I have to keep asking questions about everything, and think about it as much as I can. Also, I felt that TOK class will be so helpful in the further future, not only in the IB Course.

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My First Impression of Tok

My first impression of TOK is that it has a really complex idea and it seems like it has something to do with philosophy. Taking Tok classes makes us wonder about things or questions that people don’t think about. When we are taught by our teachers or adults something we usually think that everything we are taught is the truth; however, listening to Tok classes makes us question about all the knowledges we were taught. Because we are so used to not questioning what we are taught, it was a really difficult and complex concept to me. I’m still not sure yet, but thte first lesson gave me a rough idca of what Tok lessons are going to be about and it’s really important to us. Now I think I kind of know the importance of learning TOK.

 

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Does your language shape how you think?_HJ

“Does your language shape how you think” by GUY DEUTSCHER was very interesting essay which was an essay that I never came across before. All this what can be regarded as a “dark secret” of language was rather mind-blowing. This essay talked about many things that we normally come across in our ordinary life, but never thought of. For example, “you might say: “after trafic lights, take the first left, then the second right.” You could also say: “afther the trafic lights, drive north, and then on the second crossing drive east”.

Using geographic directions doesn’t sounded right and I would have had a lot of diffculty telling a passenger how to go to their destinations if I was to use geographic directions other than egocentric coordinates. This clearly proved that the languages that I speak (Korean, English and Chinese which all uses egocentric coordinates) have shaped about how I think. But later, I realized that just not able to say it naturally doesn’t mean that I don’t think about the geographical directions. Adding on to this, I use geographic directions whenever I go to hiking. So I came to a conclusion that language can have a diminutive effect on shaping how I think, but it just all matters to the culture that I am part of. Since language is a part of a culture, fact that I am using a certain language means that I belong to that culture. It is not only a language that shape how I think, but it is several different parts of a culture that shapes how I think.

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does your language shape how you yhink?

Essay <Does your Language shape How you think> and <Lost in translation> discuessed about whether language can determine the way people think. Deutscher’s essay gives an example about Chinese. He claimed,because Chinese lacks concpet about ‘Tense’, so Chinese will not be able to understand the concept about time. However, this claim is not true. Chinese do understand the concept about time. Even the claim was wrong, I think language does shape how people think.

There are many examples to show how language can determine the way that people think. In <Lost in Translation>, there are four examples shown: Russian speakers, who have more words for light and dark blues, are better able to visually discriminate shades of blue. Thre Piraha, whose language eshcews number words in favor of terms like few and many, are not able to keep track of exact quantity.

Therse are the basic relationship between language and perception. However, I think language is more deeply connected to unconsciousness. In Koream there is an intrinsic sentiment of Korean called ‘Jung’ and ‘Han’. These words can written in chinese, ‘情‘ and ‘狠‘. It means emotion and hatred. However, in Korea it is interpreted as a totally different matter. These words are mixed into Korean culture and way that Koreans interpret things.

Some examples that show how language affect how people think can be interpreted easily. However, some are oblivious. It is just connected to out unconsciousness. People from different nations will interpret things in different ways. Therefore, people with different languages will have different characteristics and ideology.

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‘Lost in Translation’, How does our language shape us?

Our languages shape us as how we think. We can figure out this, by differences between each language. The essay, ‘Lost in Translation’ says, in English, we have to mark the verb for tense but in Indonesian we don’t need to change the verb for tense. Also, in Russian, they have to mark tense and change the verb for gender. By these examples, firstly, we can recognise that a native speaker of English put focus on tense. It can also mean that their way of thinking put important on time and tense. English men are more shaped for tense in their life than Indonesian, who doesn’t care about tenses. Also in Russia, they are shaped as put emphasis on gender. By these examples in the essay, I could get ways of thinking for each country.

My own experiences of shape of languages can apply to Korean. In Korean, we have to use different verb for ages. For example, we use the honorific type of language to elder people or teachers and for younger people or friends we talk roughly. In English, they generally talk down and they only have some words for polite form. However, in Korean, we have all words in honorific types. As Korea is the country of courteous people we can get this idea from Korea language.

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Lost in translation, does language shape the way we think?

In the essay “Lost in translation”, Boroditsky uses Pormpuraaw, a remote aboriginal community In Australia, to explain how our language shapes our way of thinking. In Pormpuraaw, absolute cardinals are used instead of right and left to describe directions. Also, a common way of greeting somebody is “Where are you going?”, where an appropriate answer would be for example  “A long way to the south-southwest”. Because of this, you would barely be able to greet someone in this community without knowing cardinal directions. While Boroditsky claims this as an example of how language effects our way of thinking, I personally think it is more an example of how our culture , and not language, effects our way of thinking. I believe that there would be a possible way of saying “Hello, how are you?” in Pormpuraaw, but of the same reason as we don’t greet somebody by asking for where they are going in english speaking countries, “How are you?”  is not a question they use in this aboriginal community.

I can make up my own example of this by using the differences between english and swedish, which is my first language. In Sweden we don’t  normally say “How are you?” to somebody we randomly run into because it’s not in our culture to greet anybody with more than a simple “Hello”. This does not mean that it isn’t possible to translate “How are you ?” into swedish, but if you would, you would expect the person to answer honestly instead of the english way of always saying something like “Fine thanks, and you?”

This proves, once again, that you can’t be a part of somebody’s culture just by speaking the language. To actually become a part of the culture you would need to live in the country and learn the correct usage of the language in order to fully understand its rules and regulations.

 

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Does Your Language Shape How You Think?

Language does not affect our ways of thoughts because the two are completely different. Guy Deutscher states that our mother tongue would influence our way of thinking, and he provides examples e.g. spanish and german to promote his idea. However, these are minor details when it comes to influencing our thought process. Our thought process is completely judged and influence purely by our culture and our history. For example, Asians have a tendency to want for more,  hoping for excellence, which is why asians parents send there kids to multiple lessons. Our language does not affect this, this is traced back to our roots when Asia was not known for rich, instead it was a place of poverty and the only way to advance further was knowledge. Scientist have also said that a history of abuse can lead the victim to a darker path. Does language affect this, does it influence children to become murderers? Language has no effect in our thought process, even though Guy may argue that masculine, feminine and time may prove to counter my point. Though it changes the amount of information gained from such conversation would it alter our thought process. We would continue the conversation as if the subject has already been address. Even though, some may argue that by knowing a gender or time the following conversation may change, however, even in english where it is unknown Person X is going to ask the question of gender and time. Language does not affect our thought process, instead it is only a way of displaying our thoughts in a way for people to interpret.

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