All posts by Isaac

seeing art

This is the number 1 voted piece of art work in the 2020 international art show (held online this year due to Covid 19) and was said to be so unbelievable for how simple it was. It was called the modern Picasso of simple-ism and that each of the colors represented a different meaning and all the layers showed so much and that the observers felt moved. I will talk more about the art piece later on but I wanted to talk briefly about this piece because the image can only be placed at the top of this document.

“seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak. But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” (John Berger).

What makes a piece of art “good”?  Is it the simplicity?; the complexity?; the uniqueness?, or the fact that it is a direct copy?; is it because it is timeless? momentary? beautiful or intentionally ugly? There are countless ways that art can be judged. The definition of “art” is

“Art is a diverse range of human activities involving the creation of visual, auditory or performing artifacts, which express the creator’s imagination, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”(google)

So if art can be an abstract idea, a sound, a painting or dance, then we can not be able to depict if it is good or not. An example of what someone might call good art is Beethoven’s 9th symphony, and an example of what might be called bad art is 4 year old’s dance recital. However, as there is not just one answer to the question. If there is a teenage boy who completely hates classical music, and listens to Beethoven’s music, he might say that “Beethoven’s music is not ever good” and that he “does not like it”. There could be a mom or dad or anyone watching the little 4 year old’s dance recital and they could just be standing there, and to them it could be the best thing ever, bringing us to the first point, “art takes time and training”. Beethoven did not just sit there and in a few minuets come up with his music, “good design is hard”. But if we are saying that something is good because it is hard,  then if we say that “wiggling your ears is hard” then does being able to wiggle your ears mean that it is good design? If this were true modern art would not be in a museum.  From the quote at the start, when we are born, we don’t know much. All we know comes from our own experiences, and those might be wrong. We might see a cat and think that it is a dog, we might look at the question 1+1 and think that it means to cry.  We are born with just intuition and the development of our ancestors (DNA), and yet, without being able to say why or how, we like and dislike a lot of things.  We like or dislike eating  different foods and smells, different toys, and colors and animals yet when we get older, we are so feared of being directly judged for what we like, and the same goes for art. We are always told “this is good art” and we never know why. Then when we hear something like “the lines are perfectly placed” or the contrast or shading or whatever it is, is perfect or that the art makes us ask a question about something. We either agree because that is how we feel when we see it, we don’t agree, or we just go along with saying that its great art without even knowing why, we just do it. It is impossible to judge or grade a piece of “art” for anyone other than ourselves as we can only judge for ourselves when we are born, and have our own opinion without any influence because we don’t understand  anything.

From the picture at the start, you probably noticed, but it was all made up and it took me exactly 23 seconds to draw it, and sadly 24 minuets to try and find out how to upload it onto this blog. The point I was trying to prove is that you don’t need to be good or an expert at art to be able to  have an opinion on whether or not it is good or bad art. All you need is to be able to make decisions based on yourself, and not follow under the influence of others or what they believe. Regardless  of weather or not someone else’s opinion is the same as your own, you should follow your own opinions. As art is so objective and subjective, its impossible for anything to be considered good or bad by one person.

This is an actual famous painting, “the  church” by “Vincent Van  Gogh” and I have seen this painting so many times and even in person, and I have no clue why someone would pay a ton of money to go see it or to own it. What does everyone else think, as my opinion stands for just me.

Is storytelling a WOK, or a HWK?-Isaac

After reading the articles about storytelling, my point of view is that storytelling is a strong and very important WOK. We have been telling stories for thousands of years and it is a way to pass on information with the future. Take bedtime stories, for example, they are used to tell us (in the case of Hasel and Gretel to not be too greedy) lessons that we should have in our life. As kids, we prefer listening and taking in information when we enjoy it. If you want your kids to eat vegetables, what do you think they would prefer to hear that from, Popeye, or a news article.

“The advantage of the story over exposition was significant in all conditions…Science lends itself naturally to narrative structure–authors can tell the stories of individual scientists, their struggles, their discoveries, and so on.”

When we look up the definition of storytelling, we get “the activity of telling or writing stories”, and when we look up the definition of story, “an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something”. The act of “storytelling” is in our life all the time, this blog post that you are reading now is a story, it is me telling you what I have learnt.

When we go back to the question of if storytelling is a WOK, it could be considered a WOK or it could not. If we use it all the time, is that a way of knowing, or how we know, HWK? Anyone or anything can tell a story, it’s just about if we can interperate it or not.

“Until the lion learns to write, every story will always glorify the hunter”-African Proverb

Human sciences-Isaac Carmelo

In economics, it is very easy to get away with making up data as all economists know that people are not always truthful when it comes to money and their businesses. As half a trillion dollars of illegal drug money worldwide, there is a lot many people who will claim that as an income source. Economists can say that they were given that data and due to all the grey space within wealth and trade, their credibility can not be proved wrong as easily. As it is relatively easy to repeat a process, there are always ways that the economist can show how the data they collected would be different from the one that others collected (people being honest and just, time and year the data was collected, and the shift in businesses becoming legal (narcotics)). What economists can do is to provide hard evidence of each the data that they collected that they can hold themselves accountable for and so if they get accused of false information, they can show their data and if its all true, their credibility will go up and if not, they will have a bad reputation.

In my opinion, economics is scientific. Even tho different aspects about it that are not, they use different scientific devices and graphs to calculate data that is used worldwide and praised for. I don’t think that economics calls itself scientific just for credibility because it studies the actions and outcomes of humans and is helpful for optimizing trade and interactions between individual humans and societies.

Emotion-Isaac Carmelo

When I read the emotions handout there were three things that stood out to me in the chapter because they gave me new insight or I disagreed with them. Firstly, on page 145, “the role of beliefs” the author say that dogs do not have as much range and complexity in emotions as we (humans) do. I disagree with this because just like a human can tell when another human is sad or happy, dogs can also sense that. The six basic emotions that we have are happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust and dogs can show all of them. I do not think that is it fair to say that they can not have as complex emotions as we do when we can not even understand them. Secondly, on page 155, “emotions as a source of knowledge”, I found what the author said to be very interesting and changed what I previously thought.

“The phycologist Antonio Damasio cites the case of a patient called Elliot who suffered damage to the emotional centres in his brain. Elliot appeared normal un many respects and preformed last as well on IQ tests as he did before his accident. Nevertheless, he became a “rational fool”.”

I found this very interesting because I always thought that whenever someone was going through something, everything would be different, not only the way they perceived things and reacted. Finally, I  found that the author was talking about how we need to “debug” rather than follow our natural instinct and that we needed to unlearn our native intuitions so that we could acquire a more sophisticated understanding of the world.


Another point that I am going to talk in more depth about was that on page 158, the author talks about the relationship between intuition and emotion (feelings).

“Intuitions are, of course, very different from hot emotions, such as love and hate. But sine they are usually seen as being more a matter of feeling than of thinking, it makes sense to discuss them here”

when I read this, I started to wonder if our emotions were somehow based upon survival or as a way that we needed to get the things we want. When we are sad, we cry and look down, when others feel bad, they try and make us feel better and they give us help. When we are happy and in a good mood, other people like you more and want to be with you (being a leader). If we didn’t show our emotions, we would not be able to get any help and so we would always be stuck in that emotion until we would change it ourself. Even tho now it is not for survival so much as it is for getting what we need. I started to make a connection. Also reenforcing the survival fact, we have intuition about our surroundings and we get these senses when there could be possible “danger”.

“You may, for example, have an intuition that someone behind you is staring at you, and when you turn round you discover you are right!

If we think that someone is behind us and staring at us, we get scared or nervous and want to see if there is someone. We get lots of emotions and feeling as a result as our intuition, but maybe that is because our intuition is the root to expressing our emotions. It makes us worry, makes us scared, happy, nervous and grossed out without us even thinking about it. If we see a dead body, even if you are a surgeon and see dead people and blood all the time and are used to that, our intuition might make us feel queezy and lightheaded and we might faint or throw up. Even tho we are used to that, in that sudden moment, our natural instinct might be to feel grossed out and so our emotions come out that would normally not.

Are there universal moral values-Isaac Carmelo

I am going to define “universal moral values” as a value every person has and would like to see in the world and using that definition I am stating that there are no moral value. First, each situation can mean something completely different from person to person, and even if it seems like the same, it is not possible for them to be exactly the same because each of the events in their life affect and shape a person. Even if the only difference is having a glass of water and someone not, it will further affect them and then change how they act and think (the person who didn’t have the glass of water is now going to be focusing more on having a glass of water sooner than the other person and so their mind will go off, they will be thirsty and you can see that even the most smallest detail can lead to two completely different outcomes). There was tribe (I’m sorry Mr. Macknight I can not remember the name) that said it was not allowed to murder any human being, that so far sounds like what is a “moral value” (value of life), but then when you look what the definition of human is for them, you see that human being is someone from their tribe and so it would be fine to murder someone who was from somewhere else. Also, universal is meaning that it is the same for everyone and as we can see throughout history, with people like Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, and Muhammad that it is not true. There is always going to be someone who does agree with one thing and there will also be someone who agrees the opposite of that. An example would be that everyone deserves the right to food and water, but, that is not the case because people are dying from starvation and dehydration everyday. We like to think that we believe that is a right that everyone should have food and water, but for most people, we don’t have enough knowledge or the experience of being starving. We subconsciously do not care about that “universal moral value” because we spend a lot of money on other things that we don’t use and need and we don’t make or give any effort to help the people in need. Why should countries spend billions of dollars in war and weapons when they can just kill millions of people without doing anything (letting people die from lack of resources). Imagine you were walking down a street in downtown Victoria and there would be a bunch of homeless people by the area you were walking. For some people having that would not be anything, but for others, we clench up and get very nervous and you feel more alert. Have you noticed that if you were with your mother she would hold you hand or say something to you quietly like come on (as in hurry) or don’t look at them, that is because she feels fear and that they are more likely to do something bad to you. We like to think that we see everyone as equal, but when we see someone who is homeless, we think, oh I don’t want to be like him, and they are scary. We say all these things without even knowing anything about what happened to them. From these points, my statement is confirmed and I can confirm that we have no universal moral values, but, why do we have a lot of similarities in the basis of all our moral values? In my opinion, I believe that it is because we all grow up as a community and as a society and now especially with the internet and social media, we get to know from multiple aspects. As we develop and our brains and minds do, each new piece of information influences us without us even knowing. I think that is also why the values of the older generation are different from the new one because the way we have grown up was with technology and the other generation not as much.

Key term in ethics that I agree with-Isaac Salvador-brown

The Ethics term that I agree with to the greatest extent is consequentialism. I like that there is not some ultimate rule for everything and that the outcome is based upon each different situation. It can be very good because it can give people security to try and do things that would be of greater benefit and not have to worry about the small details surrounding if the thing that they did was “bad” (saved someones life but broke their leg in the process), but it can also be unclear as there is a lot of grey space in the areas between the actions and their situations. Someone could do the right thing, but then how they did it was more than what was needed, or someone could have been doing something bad, but then it ended up being fine because of the situation (they were not meaning to do the good thing it turned out to be). If someone was riding their bike and they were going to hit a person walking on the side and someone pushed the biker over instead of the person out of the way, the biker would be in much more pain than if the person was pushed out of the way. It is fine because it stopped the biker from running over the person but there was a better and less pain inflicting way to do it. For the other reason I don’t agree with it, if someone robbed a store (shop lifted) and someone outside the store mugged them, without knowing they shop lifted, and someone saw that happen or the people of the store were there, the mugger could say that he saw the person stealing and was trying to get the items that the person took back.

When I would read the other examples of the terms of ethics, I would aways agree with some aspects of it, and if not agree, at least understand where they are coming from, but with consequentialism, I found that for most scenarios, as long as there was a set of rules and a moral judgement of the actions, that a society would be able to run well under the ethical mindset of consequentialism.




Isaac Salvador Personal response-Ethics

The decisions that we make are always the right and wrong ones and are both the good and bad. In my opinion, we make decisions based on what we feel like in the moment. For a person, one situation or decision will seem different at different times in their life. It could seem like a bad decision when they are younger, but when we are older, it might seem like the right choice. Now what we think and feel is not what we can consider what is “good” or “bad”, or one would think that. An individual, which led to a group of individuals decided what he, and then they foresaw as good and bad and so they convinced others of what they believed, then as a society we adopted those and made changes to what we see fit. It all started with that one persons opinions and about how he felt about a certain thing. What we nowadays consider what is bad and good is all just based upon how each thing makes the people in power feel. If there were a bunch of people who loved murder, maybe they would say that it is fine and that it is just natural survival or primitive nature and that its the survival of the fittest, and if that’s the way that we were shown was good, most people would go along with it and instead of thinking about it, just try and survive. You might think of that and say that that crazy, but to be honest, that’s not as strange as what we have today. Now, men and boys who would choose to not wear a shirt is seen as normal and that if you saw a man without his shirt on you would not think anything is wrong with that, but if you saw a woman without her shirt on, it would seem so weird and would be considered nudity and she could get arrested for exposure. To think that for the same species, what is seen as “right” and what is seen as “wrong” is completely different from gender to gender. Even when we are little kids and you could not tell the two boys and girls apart, it would still seem bad and looked down upon if a 13 year old girl was out in public shirtless and would seem so cute if the 13 year old boy did. You can see that what we decide as right and wrong is not based upon some scientific code or some divine law but all based on feelings and reactions to the situation. If one of the rules is seen to be made by feeling you can really start to see how the others are made. The road speeds are decided upon by what people feel like is safe, but as we know, different people feel and react differently to different situations and people also feel comfortable   driving at different speeds. As a society we have decided on what “bad” and “good” decisions are but they are not always what we feel is right.  All the decisions are made based off of feelings and moments and we can not classify something as a bad or not good because it changes for each person, at each moment, and each location we are in. For me, whatever decision that I make in that moment is the one that I feel like is the best decision for me and for others and follow what I believe in and what my brain and heart tell me. (I don’t know how to say that last part without sounding extremely cheesy but that what I am going to say)

How to disagree-Paul Graham-Isaac Salvador-October 12 2019

In “How to Disagree”, the author “Paul Graham” goes over the different levels of a disagreement and what significance each of them have. I found that the more insulting and meaningful ones were more complex and had a lot of depth to them. I thought that something like “u r a fag!!!!!!!!!!”[p. 1] would be more offensive but it is a level one insult. And on the other hand, having someone say something about your points or something you wrote, as being a level 6 disagreement, would be less. I found it interesting for me because if I had written something or if I was the one being insulted, I would much rater have the level 6 because I would see it as their opinion/view or as a form of constructive feedback. For me, I am fine with people disagreeing with me and it would make me try and either change it if I agree with what they are saying, or, just leave it their opinion if I do not agree with them. On the other hand, the level one disagreement is just plain straight out being rude and has no motive to benefit the author or writer. In conclusion, I find that “Paul Graham’s” how to disagree guide was very useful to me because I can now look at how the disagreement is written and see what I can do to make it better, and to better see where it is coming from.

Plato’s “Meno”-part five-Isaac Salvador-Brown-October 8 2019

In the conclusion of “Plato’s Meno”, (part five), Socrates and Meno discuss the concept of retaining knowledge and how as one practices a subject or art, the more times it is completed, the more perfected the person gets at doing it and the easier it is for them to do it.

To possess one of his works is let loose does not count for much in value; it will not stay with you any more than a runaway slave: but when fastened up it is worth a great deal, for his productions are very fine things. And to what am I referring in all this? To true opinion. For these, so long as they stay with us, are a fine possession, and effect all that is good; but they do not care to stay long, and run away out of the human soul, and thus are of no great value until one makes them fast with casual reasoning. And this process, friend Meno, is recollection, as in our previous talk we have agreed. But when once they are fastened, in the first place they turn into knowledge, and in the second, are abiding. And this is why knowledge is more prized than right opinion: the one transcend the other by its trammels. [p. 43]

In this quote by Socrates, Socrates states to Meno that as you gain knowledge, you must practice it to fully harness it to your full potential. I find that this “script” fits in well with the concepts of TOK and the concepts of the IB and teachers. It gets you to think about what you say, what you know, and gets you to realize how you should inquire and that you should seek more questions and find the answers yourself from the questions, then having the answer to your questions. It is also like the way a good teacher teaches because it says that the way to get better at something, you must practice and want to get better at it to do so (not just teachers say that but it is just an example).

Plato’s “Meno”-part three and four-Isaac Salvador-brown-September 29 2019

In part three of “Plato’s” “Meno”, Meno is still wanting to know what virtue is and so he keeps on asking Socrates about how to learn and understand it, so he can have virtue.

Then since we are of one mind as to the duty of inquiring into what one does not know, do you agree to our attempting a joint inquiry into the nature of virtue? [p. 28]

What Meno really wants to know is not what virtue is. Meno wants to know how to get power and be successful and so once again, Socrates makes Meno think again about his question, by asking him one as well.

Then if virtue is something that is in the soul, and must needs be profitable, it ought to be wisdom, seeing that all the properties of the soul are in themselves neither profitable nor harmful, but are made either one or the other by the addiction of wisdom or folly; and hence, by this argument, virtue being profitable must be a sort of wisdom.

[p 31]

In order for Meno to understand, Meno has to stop wanting to understand virtue for the wrong reason, and want to understand for the purpose of being better. The quote is very important because socrates is saying that virtue must be profitable, or a source and this sets him up to be able to question Meno if everything has to be profitable, and thus, getting Meno to think more and more, and break apart everything that he thinks he knows, so that he can be truly sure and so that he can understand and build up a better understanding.


Plato’s “Meno”-part two-Isaac Salvador-Brown-September 24 2019

When there is something that you know, you don’t have anything more to know about it, and so, no more need for an inquiry and when you don’t know what you are looking for, how do you know when you have found it?

“Why, on what lines will you look, Socrates, for a thing of whose nature you know nothing at all? Pray, what sort of thing, amongst those that you know not, will you treat us to as the object of your search? Or even supposing, at the best, that you hit upon it, how will you know it is the thing you didn’t know?” [p. 16]

In part two of “Plato’s” “Meno”, that is the question that Meno has for Socrates. As in part one, Socrates is helping Meno understand what virtue is by asking him questions that gets him to be more inquiring, and as Meno has become more questioning, he questions Socrates about how he will be able to find out what he is looking for, if he does not know what it is. And as Meno is wanting to learn about virtue, and is starting to loose hope in discovering what it could mean, Socrates decided to help Meno by putting a boy (one of Meno’s slaves) in the same situation that he was in, but with something that he (Meno) understands.

“There now, Meno do you not observe who progress he has already made in his recollection? At first he did not know what is the line that forms the figure of eight feet, and he does not know even now: but at any rate he thought he knew then, and confidently answered as though he knew, and was aware of no difficulty; whereas now he feels the difficulty he is in, and besides not knowing does he not think he knows.” [p. 22]

The problem that was easy for Meno to understand but was new for the boy was what the length of the sides were to get an area of 8 feet. The boy knew that 2 feet by 2 feet was 4, and so he assumed that  2 times the area would be 2 times the sides. This was something that Meno knew the answer, and he could see that as the boy kept of thinking, and as Socrates kept on asking questions, the boy started to begin to gain confidence and was then later able to solve it. I think that this shows us that by asking questions, we can find more about something than we did before, even if we didn’t get any answers.

Plato’s “Meno”-part one-Isaac Salvador-brown-September 15 2019

In part one of “Plato’s” “meno”, Meno is asking Socrates about virtue and if virtue can be taught or acquired by practice. At the start of the script, Meno is very sure that he knows what virtue is and that virtue changes depending on the person’s gender, role in society (class), and by age.

“Why, there is no difficulty, Socrates, in telling. First of all, if you take the virtue of a man, it is easily stated that a man’s virtue is this…or take a woman’s virtue…And the child has another virtue-one for female, and one for the male; and there is another for male -one, if you like, for freemen, and yet another for slaves. And there are very many other virtues besides, so that one cannot be at a loss to explain what virtue is; for it is according to each activity and age that every one of us, in whatever we do, has his virtue; and the same, I take it, Socrates, will hold also of vice.” [P.  2]

I find this very strong because as Meno has a clear and firm believing of this, us as the audience or readers can tell that it is not correct and that we know that Socrates will try and help him better understand.

Something that I found very interesting was that Socrates would tell Meno the answer not by telling him, but by asking questions that gets Meno to think about what he is saying.

“Then is it not with size and strength also? if a woman is strong, she will be strong by reason of the same form and the same strength; by “the same” I mean that strength does not differ as strength, whether it be a man or in a woman. Or do you think there is any difference?” [P. 3]

Socrates does that with all the questions that Meno has and presents the answer back to him so that he can figure it out. What Socrates is doing is what TOK does to the person. Socrates gets Meno to think about all aspects of the question, and gets him to connect it to other things. At the end, Meno does not know what virtue is, but he ends up with the knowledge to know what “a” virtue is. Socrates taught Meno that you can never be too sure about the information that he has and how something that he thought before was so simple and easy, is now only a fraction of what it really was, and a fraction of knowing what it truly is.