All posts by Rainy

The arts

Originally, my impression of art has always been related to the aesthetic appearance of external things, such as paintings, and architectural styles, etc. I also assert that art is about personal experience and knowledge, and has its endless value for human, so that is why I agree with the statement in the IB’s knowledge framework that “The arts could be thought of as creating a bridge between personal knowledge and shared knowledge…have a higher purpose to educate by encouraging introspection…how we should live our lives.” After reading the next two articles, I have gained a deeper understanding of art, but the central idea has not changed.

For “Knowledge and the Arts”, I think most of it is accurate.

Making Judgments about a Work of Art’s Quality
As I was saying, when we set about judging the value of a work of art, we come down to two
1. The technical merit of the art.
2. The profundity of the questions it raises.

To judge technical merit requires expertise….The second way to judge the quality of a work of art focuses on the questions it raises.

I like this part because it shows me in a comprehensive way how to judge the quality of art. Although everyone has different aesthetic standards, there are certain standards to judge the quality of a work of art, so professional knowledge is bound to come into play at this time. After all, the formation of a good work of art requires a lot of consideration and creation, and basically all the details have to be considered. Therefore, all the expertise about art would be meaningless if we just judge it according to our own aesthetic judgment. In addition to the technical merit, the meaning and depth behind the artwork must also be considered as a criterion. It can be said that art that cannot be attributed to human existence is not good art. However, here are some uncertainties. Human subjective thoughts have always existed, so how to accurately reflect the problems arising from artworks to human existence will be a big problem, after all, many line abstract paintings have fewer humanistic perception elements.

For the “Taste for makers”, I am not particularly surprised, as all of the content can be verified in reality. But there is one thing I want to say a little.

Good design is timeless.

In the case of eternity there is also only relative and no absolute.
But trying to be timeless will be the driving force and greatest foundation of good design. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci wanted to think of all the details perfectly when he created The Mona Lisa. Actually good design is about timelessness.

All in all, we should analyze art from many angles and aspects at the same time. Likewise, there is no best art but better one.


History is the study of the past. From the point of view of TOK, history is an area of knowledge that studies the recorded past. It is true. Behind the term “history”, it is a field of knowledge, a record and study of past events, like anything that happened before the present moment can be called history, and that has more or less value of its own. Moreover, when people talk about learning history, actually it is true that “studying history also deepens our understanding of human behaviour, as reflecting on the past can help us to make sense of the present”(TOK guide 2015). For example, WW2 is a recognized historical event which has so many first hand information and second hand information (Historical documents) to prove. From this phase of history, we not only learn the destruction of war and knowledge of conflicts, but also know that how to protect peace and how to promote technological progress more effectively and so on, which in a sense to help human civilization progress.

Speaking of historical events like WW2, we can quickly find out that history actually is supported by all kinds of documentary evidence. Naturally, there are some questions: whether the evidence is reliable? How accurate are the historians’ accounts and analyses of historical events? All these questions will directly affect the authenticity of historical events. In fact, we can easily find out that much of history remains to be seen for its accuracy and veracity, especially for ancient history such as Greek civilization. Like we can’t help but wonder if the historical evidence handed down thousands of years ago really reflects the situation, because after all, we didn’t see it for ourselves.

There is properly no history; only biography.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

I agree with it to a certain extent. We can say that history serves mankind, mankind is creating history, writing history. We also can say that only what you see is real, and the authenticity of history can also be judged according to this personal way of thinking. However, everyone is different. They are in different environments, experience differently, and hear and see different things. These all negate the decisiveness and consistency of history to a certain extent, and that’s why there is no proper history. However, a  biography is a detailed description of a person’s life, which can naturally apply for record of history. Think about it another way, biography may be more appropriate for our current textual research on history.

Furthermore, for a recognized history (this is actually happening), it can not be consistent in life for a variety of reasons. In How Texas Teaches History, the question of grammar in the textbooks bring into question the reality of how black people were treated by white people in the context of slavery, although we can learn about the real situation from all kinds of real literature. Here is another example, up to now, many Japanese refuse to admit the crimes committed by their country in the war of aggression against China, including the fact that the education of the new generation of Japanese young people has not made a clear statement on the incident of aggression against China, and even denied the incident in many textbooks. Maybe they just want to base on the quote that “History is written by the winners.—George Orwell” to do some negation.

In conclusion, I think the discussion about proper history is contradictory.


Storytelling should be regarded as a WOK

After reading these articles, I maintain that storytelling should be regarded as a way of knowing, and is kind of the most basic WOK. In general, storytelling is a means for sharing and interpreting experiences, and every corner of our lives is filled with stories that help us fit into the world.

Storytelling is how we know most of what we know-or think what we know…shape our view of reality…Humans are the only animals that tell stories…Storytelling, therefore, is at the very heart of we understand the world and ourselves…Everything we know takes the form of a story.

When I go through the article “Storytelling: Our most important way of important”, I just realize that storytelling is the heart of our life and learning or other human behaviors. Most of things around us are composed of different stories, and we use storytelling to describe the social and cultural activity of sharing stories and so on. For example, like every culture has its own stories or narratives (what is our identity, what should we do, what should happen under this culture, etc). And history is collective storytelling, and the same situation happens in other fields or in many specific theories.

In our daily life, as the article said before, when we use a metaphor, we have begun to tell a story. That’s true, but I think when we talk to each other, we have begun to use storytelling which is a way of knowing for both sides. Like we can imagine that all the things we say are “stories”, so the way of expression is naturally the way of telling a story(storytelling). So that’s the broad implications of storytelling, and when we make storytelling concrete, we see the benefits of it. At school, if teacher uses narrative version to teach students or let them learns by using the passage in the narrative version, students’ comprehension and memory for the information in the text have improved so much according to the survey, which means the way of knowing of narrative version helps students to understand to learn knowledge.

In the field of politics, we can clearly see that much of the political reporting is in the form of storytelling, which helps citizen to receive. Almost all presidential candidates tell “stories” when they make campaign speeches. For advertising, the mean of storytelling is more common. Like many brands promote themselves on TV by telling “stories” to attract the audience’s attention, such as Coca-Cola.

In conclusion, everyone is presenting and expressing themselves in a storytelling way. For storytelling, this is just a basic mean in our life, like the point is not whether the content is a real story or not, but that it is a way of expression.

Human Science-Business management

As we know, the human sciences study the social, cultural and biological aspects of human existence. And business management shares many skills and areas of knowledge with humanities and social sciences, which includes decision-making, risk-taking, profit-making and operating in a competitive environment.

First of all, we can see that Brown realizes that the equation published by Fredrickson and Losada doesn’t contain any data and only works on its own terms in the article of “The British amateur who debunked the mathematics of happiness”, which means this whole theory is completely self-referential. The same applies to business management. Like all the ways expressed in the business cannot satisfy all the employees’ standard or needs. For example, some employee may like a leader with democratic leadership because they think this way involves subordinates in decision-making process, but others think that this style of leadership will make decision-making become so long, which is not good for working efficiency. So what we can see from this is that maybe a leader thinks that the democratic style of leadership that he or she adopts is useful for the employees and whole company, but not every employee thinks it’s feasible, which means the democratic leadership is not the greatest style because it is not for everyone. For minimizing such problem, as long as the employees adapt to the situation as much as possible, a leader also can try his best to combine a variety of different leadership styles, so as to meet the needs of each employee and make them work better.

For the second article False positive, fraud becomes the most important title. In the field of business management, this kind of negative behavior inside and outside the company is also very common. For example, a company can falsify its financial statements to show good financial results. These documents can be used as a basis for obtaining bank loans or selling shares to investors. Such fraud can be entirely internal to the accounting department or imposed by management. In order to minimize such problem, a strong system of internal controls helps companies deter employees from committing fraud. Like they can educate the management of fraud and initiate annual examinations of financial statements by an outside party.

In my opinion, as to whether business management is scientific or not, it should depend on different angles. In the business, there are many concepts and methods that are well defined and proven. Like we have confirmed the condition of some specified leadership style, which means this field is scientific. However, we can also say that business management is not scientific. The two words business and management can be viewed separately. When we pay attention to the details of management, we will find that in fact, in the whole business management, there is more of a form of communication between people. Everyone thinks differently, and that makes it impossible to have an absolute standard, so a lot of time it’s people’s subjective intentions and this kind of emotional communication that drives the management.


Emotions are everywhere in our lives, which have many forms of expression and different meanings. I really interested in The James-Lange theory that represents that the emotions are essentially physical in nature and bodily changes come before, and cause, emotional changes. With the example of an exam situation, I just can clearly understand that if I remove the physical symptoms the corresponding emotions disappears. Likewise, this theory also includes that

If you mimic the appropriate physical symptoms you can generate the corresponding emotion. For example, if you smile you will feel happy.

I like this passage because I always have same experience just like that, like when I talk to someone who is feeling depressed, I just unconsciously mimic some of the physical expression of his mood. So I summarize that this is a mechanism through which we can come to know and empathize with other people’s feelings.

When we regard emotions as an obstacle to knowledge, we just can find out that emotions always influence our rationalizations.

When we are in the grip of strong emotions, we tend not to reason in an objective way but to rationalize our pre-existing prejudices.

Indeed, if we have a particular emotional attitude about something, we may manufacture bad reasons in order to justify it. At the same time, turbulent emotions can distort our ability to think clearly and behave intelligently. Moreover, we also regard emotions as a source of knowledge. There is the relation between reason and emotion. We can say reason and emotion are two completely different things, but also can say the two are mutually reinforcing.  Whatever it is, there is a more-or-less continuum of mental activity running from the very rational to very emotional. Despite emotions value, intuition do not have any magical authority and cannot always be trusted. So it is worth keeping in mind that having strong convictions about something does not in itself guarantee that it is true.



Are there universal moral values?

For me,  there are no universal moral values. In our real life, people think a certain thing is good or bad just based on their own perception and cognition of it. Like everyone has a different code of ethics, this means that people cannot reach a unified moral value in this world. Aside from all the mathematical theories and the scientific theories, there is not even a moral standard in the world.

Key Terms in Ethics

For me, I like the Golden Rule best, because I think treating other people as I wish to be treated myself is beneficial for both sides, even every people. Like if each of us can empathize and treat others as we would ourselves, the society we live in will be more harmonious and beautiful. This moral (law of reciprocity) in various forms has been used as a basis for society in many cultures and civilizations, because there is value in having this kind of respect and caring attitude for one another. When I live in the Golden rule, I will gain many long-lasting friends and have love and compassion to feel like I am changing the world for the better.


How do you know that something is good or bad, right or wrong?

For me, I always use the virtue approach as well as the fairness or justice approach to determine whether this things or this behavior is right or wrong.  To be more specific, I always think about “does the action help or harm the individual’s character, or soul or does this act transmit true energy?” In the real life situation, when I was in primary school, one of my classmates always stole my stationery. As we can see, this is a really tiny thing, but it can become so big.  Like this kind of behavior has seriously violated morality and justice, ( He acquired something that did not belong to him by improper behavior) so that I know this is bad and wrong.

The mind is not designed for thinking

In the real life, most of people think that the ability to reason is the most obvious thing to set human apart from other species. However, a seemingly correct view has certain flaws. Years after Shakespeare or other famous people made their points that Thinking is the hardest work,a growing number of scientists assert that human dont think frequently because our rbrains are designed for avoidance of thought. That is true.

Your brain serves many purposes, and thinking is not the one it serves best. Your brain also supports the ability to see and to move, for example, and these functions operate much more efficiently and reliably than your ability to think. It’s no accident that most of your brain’s real estate is devoted to these activities. The extra brain power is needed because seeing is actually more difficult than playing chess or solving calculus problems.

The examples that follow in the text prove this point that the ability to see and move is more essential perfectly. Like machines almost can do everything about thinking,especially for some repetitive calculation that our human need to think. But they cannot see,and dont know how to configure themselves or to think about novel ways to move or something like that,but our human just are able to accomplish this kind of thing,so these things are most valuable for us.

Part5 Meno

After Anyuts leaves, Socrates further finds the teacher of virtue, but Meno is skeptical of anyone who might be this kind of teacher. Therefore,they decide that virtue cannot be taught if no teachers and no disciples. Then, Meno asks about how the good people come to exist. For this question, Socrates comes to realize that knowledge is not the only way to guide useful behaviors.

Hence true opinion is as good a guide to rightness of action as knowledge; and this is a
point we omitted just now in our consideration of the nature of virtue, when we stated that
knowledge is the only guide of right action; whereas we find there is also true opinion.
So it seems.
Then right opinion is just as useful as knowledge.

Socrates begins to think about the relationship between the real knowledge as well as the correct opinion, and he also takes an example about the way to Larisa to reveal his points. In order to make the whole thing more clearly, Socrates also distinguish the differences between the knowledge and right opinion by using the image of Daedalus to further deduce the consecution( fast with casual reasoning-recollection-fasten-true opinion to knowledge).

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 for long, and run away out of the human soul, and thus
are of no great value until one makes them fast with causal 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 transcends the other
by its trammels.
Upon my word, Socrates, it seems to be very much as you say.
And indeed I too speak as one who does not know but only conjectures: yet that there is a
difference between right opinion and knowledge is not at all a conjecture with me but
something I would particularly assert that I knew: there are not many things of which I
would say that, but this one, at any rate, I will include among those that I know.

Moreover, on the basis of knowing correct opinion is as good as knowledge,Socrates and Meno try to reason again to think about the main question about virtue. Firstly,they make sure that good man must be useful cannot be good nature,then they resay that virtue is a kind of knowledge but there are no teachers of virtue(virtue is not teachable not a kind of knowledge)So they substitute the right guides into this discussion and confirm knowledge is not the base and make the concept of godsend.

Then we shall be right in calling those divine of whom we spoke just now as soothsayers and prophets and all of the poetic turn; and especially we can say of the statesmen that they are divine and enraptured, as being inspired and possessed of God when they succeed in speaking many great things, while knowing nought of what they say.
And the women too, I presume, Meno, call good men divine; and the Spartans, when they eulogize a good man, say—“He is a divine person.”
And to all appearance, Socrates, they are right; though perhaps our friend Anytus may be annoyed at your statement.
For my part, I care not. As for him, Meno, we will converse with him some other time. At the moment, if through all this discussion our queries and statements have been correct, virtue is found to be neither natural nor taught, but is imparted to us by a divine dispensation without understanding in those who receive it, unless there should be somebody among the statesmen capable of making a statesman of another. And if there should be any such, he might fairly be said to be among the living what Homer says Teiresias was among the dead—“He alone has comprehension; the rest are flitting
Platoʼs ʻMenoʼ, tr. W.R.M. Lamb • Page 46 of 47
shades.”31 In the same way he on earth, in respect of virtue, will be a real substance among shadows.

Finally,Socrates suggests that it is like a divine thing for all these good peraon to reflect to express their good power but they dont know what exactly it is. In conclusion,virtue comes to us by a divine dispensation.

Plato’s Meno Part3,4

At the beginning of part3, Meno asks Socrates to return to the original question that whether virtue can or cannot be taught, without knowing what virtue is, Socrates sets up hypothesis about triangular space and circle to account for the properties of virtue. After explanation, the conclusion that Socrates makes is that virtue is kind of knowledge and must be taught.

In the same way with regard to our question about virtue, since we do not know either what it is or what kind of thing it may be, we had best make use of a hypothesis in considering whether it can be taught or not, as thus: what kind of thing must virtue be in the class of mental properties, so as to be teachable or not? In the first place, if it is something dissimilar or similar to knowledge, is it taught or not—or, as we were saying just now, remembered? Let us have no disputing about the choice of a name: is it taught? Or is not this fact plain to everyone—that the one and only thing taught to men is knowledge?
I agree to that.
Then if virtue is a kind of knowledge, clearly it must be taught?

when they discuss the relationship between virtue and knowledge,Socrates also mentions that this hypothesis or opinion stands in the idea that virtue is a good thing and is profitable.Then,Socrates consider the goods of the soul and takes some examples such as courage to lead to the wisdom(virtue must be a sort of wisdom)

No, for then, I presume, we should have had this result: if good men were so by nature, we surely should have had men able to discern who of the young were good by nature, and on their pointing them out we should have taken them over and kept them safe in the citadel, having set our mark on them far rather than on our gold treasure, in order that none might have tampered with them, and that when they came to be of age, they might be useful to their country.
Yes, most likely, Socrates.
So since it is not by nature that the good become good, is it by education?
We must now conclude, I think, that it is; and plainly, Socrates, on our hypothesis that virtue is knowledge, it must be taught.

Ultimately,they conclude that all beneficial things are good if they are accompanied by knowledge or wisdom,and because virtue is good,is a kind of knowledge,therefore virtue can be taught. Overall,I just assert that this kind of conclusion is not convincing,and I just dont know how to admit wisdom is the same thing as virtue. All the other things maybe are so so.

Later,they begin to suspect that whether virtue is a kind of knowledge. So a new topic has appeared “are there no teachers of virtue?”In order to criticize Menos conclusion, Socrates just invites Anytus joining into the conversation. Through this process,they take some instances about the situation that how do some famous person teach their kids.

And, you know as well as I, he taught them to be the foremost horsemen of Athens, and trained them to excel in music and gymnastics and all else that comes under the head of the arts; and with all that, had he no desire to make them good men? He wished to, I imagine, but presumably it is not a thing one can be taught. And that you may not suppose it was only a few of the meanest sort of Athenians who failed in this matter, let me remind you that Thucydides’27 also brought up two sons, Melesias and Stephanus, and that besides giving them a good general education he made them the best wrestlers in Athens: one he placed with Xanthias, and the other with Eudorus—masters who, I should think, had the name of being the best exponents of the art. You remember them, do you not?
Yes, by hearsay.
Well, is it not obvious that this father would never have spent his money on having his children taught all those things, and then have omitted to teach them at no expense the others that would have made them good men, if virtue was to be taught? Will you say that perhaps Thucydides was one of the meaner sort, and had no great number of friends among the Athenians and allies? He, who was of a great house and had much influence in our city and all over Greece, so that if virtue were to be taught he would have found out the man who was likely to make his sons good, whether one of our own people or a foreigner, were he himself too busy owing to the cares of state! Ah no, my dear Anytus, it looks as though virtue were not a teachable thing.

The results are all same that they didnt teach their sons to be virtuous as themselves,which reveal that it has no this kind of teacher to teach the virtue.


Part2 Meno

In the beginning, Meno reflects his confusion and comes up with some opinions about learning familiar or unfamiliar things.

Socrates, I used to be told, before I began to meet you, that yours was just a case of being
in doubt yourself and making others doubt also: and so now I find you are merely
bewitching me with your spells and incantations, which have reduced me to utter
perplexity. And if I am indeed to have my jest, I consider that both in your appearance and
in other respects you are extremely like the flat torpedo sea-fish; for it benumbs anyone
who approaches and touches it, and something of the sort is what I find you have done to
me now. For in truth I feel my soul and my tongue quite benumbed, and I am at a loss
what answer to give you. And yet on countless occasions I have made abundant speeches
on virtue to various people—and very good speeches they were, so I thought—but now I
cannot say one word as to what it is. You are well advised, I consider, in not voyaging or
taking a trip away from home; for if you went on like this as a stranger in any other city you
would very likely be taken up for a wizard.

This beginning of the sentences greatly reveals that Meno finally feels that Socrates have this kind of magical power that can make others doubt based on a case of being in doubt himself indeed. Like Meno even uses the analogy that considers Socrates as a flat torpedo sea-fish. For me, I also believe that Socrates who doesn’t know what is virtue just lets Meno become confused gradually about the problems of virtue.

Then, Meno asks Socrates if he can prove “learning is recollection”. And Socrates called a boy who never get the training of math and gave him a geometry problem. Through the discussing process, this boy began to aware his mistakes and have a new awareness of his own ignorance, which is actually a progression Socrates thought. In the end, Socrates just guided this boy find the right answer without clearly teaching him.

And so it does to me, Meno. Most of the points I have made in support of my argument are
not such as I can confidently assert; but that the belief in the duty of inquiring after
what we do not know will make us better and braver and less helpless than the notion
that there is not even a possibility of discovering what we do not know, nor any duty of
inquiring after it—this is a point for which I am determined to do battle, so far as I am able,
both in word and deed.

This is the conclusion Socrates offered.

Plato‘s Meno

The whole discussion begins with the question “whether virtue can be taught”. Since Socrates, being asked, didn’t know what is the virtue, then Meno just agreed Socrates’ request to define this term “virtue”.

First of all, Meno just takes the examples of human roles, such us the virtue of a man, a woman’s virtue and so on. However, the points of virtues that Meno said must have something in common, and a good definition of a term should have its common essence. During the process, Socrates asked Meno about the differences and similarities between bees in order to let Meno present the common character of virtue. I feel these kind of sentences just express someone’s own opinions or questions for some certain conclusions. And the passage below just drive the development of discussion.

I seem to be in a most lucky way, Meno; for in seeking one virtue I have discovered a
whole swarm of virtues there in your keeping. Now, Meno, to follow this figure of a swarm,
suppose I should ask you what is the real nature of the bee, and you replied that there are
many different kinds of bees, and I rejoined: Do you say it is by being bees that they are of
many and various kinds and differ from each other, or does their difference lie not in that,
but in something else—for example, in their beauty or size or some other quality? Tell me,
what would be your answer to this question?

About Meno’s second definition, he thinks that virtue is the power of governing mankind, ( I can’t get the point of this). then Socrates uses the method of analogy to illustrate what he wants to say, like the case about figure. The concept of figure can’t be defined by roundness or stuff like that.

What I would in any other case. To take roundness, for instance; I should call it a figure,
and not figure pure and simple. And I should name it so because there are other figures as
You would be quite right—just as I say there are other virtues besides justice.
What are they? Tell me. In the same way as I can tell you of other figures, if you request
me, so do you tell me of other virtues.
Well then, courage, I consider, is a virtue, and temperance, and wisdom, and loftiness of
mind; and there are a great many others.
Once more, Meno, we are in the same plight: again we have found a number of virtues
when we were looking for one, though not in the same way as we did just now; but the one
that runs through them all, this we are not able to find.