Category Archives: Real-life situations

Anh Tai Trang – History

History is like a book about things that happened in the past. It explains why, the course, the end or the continuation to the present time. In addition, some historians add some information to make the timeline more reasonable.

“History is written by the victors.”
-Winston Churchill-

The above statement can clearly show that the story taking place in history will have some details that will always be a mystery. The numbers we see when reading or viewing some historical documents are due to what is left over from history. For example, we know how many bombs there are in the war and the number of deaths. But, there will always be a missing number of people and sometimes people will find a few unworkable bombs and the number will increase when we find a new bomb stuck that somewhere deeply in the ground.

It is often said that we study history (war) so that we do not repeat these things in the future. But, it is not 100% sure because if we look back to the years from 100 to about 1000 we can see the wars getting more and more advanced. Let’s say we use swords and from there to guns and bombs. So far, I think the war will still take place because otherwise, why would developed countries like Russia or the United States study nuclear and “advanced weapons”?

Good and bad

What is good and what is bad? Most people will answer the same question. Things like stealing, robbing, and even killing people are bad. It is good to help others, donate money, and do meaningful things. But if a person steals something to feed his hungry child, is that bad? If a person accidentally killed a robber who robbed the house and carried a gun to protect his family, is that bad? Is it good if the person who steals something steals something that is important to others? I have seen a news about a person being beaten by ten people, but that person injured five people and he was sentenced. Whose fault is this? The person didn’t anger the other ten people first, but the ten people bullied him first. He’s just trying to protect himself. Is this wrong?

Key terms in ethics

After reading all the key terms in ethics, the one I relate to the most is consequentialism. I like it because it talks about how one’s decision changes based on the situation. What I mean by this is for example, if I see someone almost getting run over by a car, and I jump in to save them, but break one of their ribs in the process, it is for the best as I was able to save a life. Because a life was saved, my actions which bring harm, are acceptable. In this case, I would have made my decision based on what the outcome would be. My actions would be judged by the outcome.

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

Good things are the thing have positive affect on something and bad things are the thing have negative affect on something. It means depends on the perspective.

For example, when the parents get mad at their children, they will get mad to teach what are the bad things to do so that children will not do the same thing again. Parents are teaching to their children to raise them into a good adults. Thus parents think getting mad is a good thing for children. However, that may hurt the children both physically and mentally, then it is a bad thing for children.

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

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

Its depends Whether the world will be better or not.  Everywhere we go has rules and laws that are created by the government or society. They taught us to obey these rules because they think these behaves are good for society and if we don’t follow, we will be suspended.

For example, there is a law stealing goods from store shelves imposes up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to 500000 yen in Japan. But if your friend she or he got fired and he had to sell his house, and sitting in front of the store you entered. Eventually, A person who disobeys the rule will steal some food and drink and give them to him. Perhaps this action is not right but might be a good thing.  Also personally think after you saved him, the world becomes better with a smile. Therefore I ill recognize it as a good thing.

TOK Plato’s ‘Meno’ Part 3 and 4 – Anh Tai Trang

In part 3 of Plato’s ‘Meno’, Socrates considered whether virtue can be taught or not. The conflict began when Meno said that how can things be taught when you do not know what it is.

” Then if virtue is a kind of knowledge, clearly it must be taught? ” [page 29].

Socrates explains that if virtue is a kind of knowledge, but can it be taught? Meno then agrees that knowledge can be taught. Later, Socrates keeps asking questions and slowly explains what virtue actually is and if it can be taught.


In part 4 of Plato’s ‘Meno’, a new character named ” Anytus ” is added to the story. Socrates is trying to find someone who he believes can teach virtue and that is Anytus. Socrates then found out that Anytus hates the sophists although he has no experience to know these people.


Tell me, Anytus, has any of the sophists wronged you? What makes you so hard on them?


No, heaven know I have never in my life had dealings with any of them, nor would I let any of my people have to do with them either.


Then you have absolutely no experience of those persons?


And trust I never may


How then, my good sir, can you tell whether a thing has any good or evil in it, if you are quite without experience of it?


Easily: the fact is, I know what these people are, whether I have experience of them or not.

[page 35, 36].

The (un)reliability of scientific journals

This article is rather technical, but a quotation near the bottom sums it up nicely:

Journal editors have expended much time and effort in teasing out how to handle authors’ and reviewers’ competing interests. They need now to concentrate on their own and those of their employers, lest we reach the dismal scenario described by Marcia Angell: “it is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine” [12].

Read the entire article here:

Real-life situations

The TOK oral presentation requires that students focus on a ‘real-life situation’ that raises one or more ‘knowledge issues’ and then analyze how those questions might be considered, with explicit reference to appropriate Areas of Knowledge and  Ways of Knowing.

Here are a few ideas for ‘real-life situations’ that raise knowledge issues. Suggest additions to the list in the comments.

  • How do I know whether to trust what the doctor says?
  • How do I know whether to trust what the government says?
  • Which political candidate should I support?
  • How do I decide which product I should buy?
  • How do people decide whether they should smoke cigarettes (or drink alcohol, or use drugs)?
  • Should some drugs be illegal?
  • Should prostitution be illegal?
  • Should the government regulate pornography, or make it illegal altogether; or not?
  • Should prisons attempt to rehabilitate criminals?
  • Is it wrong to download songs or videos or books from the internet without paying for them?
  • Additions:
  • Should dogfights be illegal? [other animal-rights situations would also work]

Please add your own ideas in comments to this post, but in your comment please clearly distinguish (as I have not above) a real-life situation and corresponding knowledge issue for each of your suggestions.

Stealing music

There may be an interesting oral presentation somewhere in here:

David Bowie predicted that because of internet and piracy, copyright is going to be dead in ten years. You agree?
No. If copyright dies, if patents die, if the protection of intellectual property is eroded, then people will stop investing. That hurts everyone. People need to have the incentive that if they invest and succeed, they can make a fair profit. Otherwise they’ll stop investing. But on another level entirely, it’s just wrong to steal. Or, let’s put it another way: it is corrosive to one’s character to steal. We want to provide a legal alternative. And we want to make it so compelling that all those people out there who really want to be honest, and really don’t want to steal, but haven’t had a choice if they wanted to get their music online, will now have a choice. And we think over time, most people stealing music will choose not to if a fair and resonable alternative is presented to them. We are optimists. We always have been.

—Steve Jobs, 2003