There are no universal values, we appear in this world in different starting positions, some are better than others. Country, family, appearance, intelligence – some things from the top of my head, which is already a great influence on human’s life. Moreover, I could start talking about genes or permanent disabilities, what has even bigger effect. As we say that every one is different, there can’t be same expectations from everyone, so can’t be same rules. However, we are good at finding patterns, which lead to survival. One’s who are not, don’t survive. So as the time was going on, people, who were killing each other- happened to be dead. However, people, who decided not to kill each other, stayed alive. Alternatively, if somehow most aggressive people, were to survive, we would decide on the rule that murder is good. Even though, this rules often work, they are not universal. In order to take the right decision, we should be considering only our decision, and do what ever we think is right.
I think that there are no thing such as moral fact. It is better to use something like “Most common thought”. However, we can’t say that some kind of action is right in any situation.
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 Golden Ratio is a staple of mathematics classes, art classes, and TOK textbooks. In this article by John Brownlee, however, he makes that case that the Golden Ratio is a load of rubbish.
. . . the idea that the golden ratio has any relationship to aesthetics at all comes primarily from two people, one of whom was misquoted, and the other of whom was just making s___ up.
Read the whole article here: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3044877/the-golden-ratio-designs-biggest-myth .
If you want more, YouTube has a lecture by a Stanford mathematics professor, Keith Devlin, about the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci numbers. Devlin is quoted by John Brownlee in his article. (The comments on the YouTube video’s page offer some interesting case studies in why people believe what they believe.)
This blog post about wine-tasting is filled with ‘earthy’ language (in other words, obscenity and profanity) but it does suggest some interesting TOK questions.
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle has crossed over from physics to become a sort of ‘common knowledge’ like Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ or Freud’s ideas about neurosis or the ‘Oedipal complex’. This article from ars technica, however—“Demolishing Heisenberg with clever math and experiments”—makes the Uncertainty Principle seem much less than certain.
Beau Lotto’s 2009 TED Talk is here: http://www.ted.com/talks/beau_lotto_optical_illusions_show_how_we_see.html. No subtitles, but click on “Show Transcript” and you can have a written version in Chinese and Korean and lots of other languages.
This 2012 TED blog post may also interest you: http://blog.ted.com/2012/06/26/science-is-play-beau-lotto-and-amy-otoole-at-tedglobal-2012/
“Researchers have been able to take over an animal’s brain, instruct it to turn in any direction they choose, and even to implant false sensory information, fooling the animal into thinking food was nearby.”
I came across this site via Steven Pinker, the renowned Harvard psychologist. If you are interested in brain science, genetics, and intelligence, have a look!
In his TED talk, ‘Queerer than we can suppose’, Richard Dawkins suggests that we may be more like waves than physical objects. He describes a crescent-shaped sand dune in Africa that moves about 17 metres each year. The grains of sand that make up the dune are constantly changing—being added to or removed from the dune by the wind. But the dune, as it moves, keeps its shape. He also points out that not a single atom in our bodies was there when we were children. We are, by analogy, like the sand dune: just as the dune consists of grains of sand that are continually changing, so we consist of atoms that are continually changing. Both we and the dune, it seems, are more like waves than objects.
Another analogy: We can take a box full of Lego blocks, choose a few of them, and build a model house. We can then replace individual blocks, one at a time, with similar blocks still left in the box. Eventually all the original blocks would be replaced, but the house would retain its original shape and appearance. Or perhaps the house’s appearance would change slightly: red blocks where before there were blue ones, for example. Is this a better analogy to describe us and our bodies? Are we an arrangement of atoms, and is it that particular arrangement that is “us”?
One more analogy: A song—or musical composition of any sort—may be passed along through time and space, perhaps for hundreds of years, and all around the world. It may be performed by any number of singers or musicians. And yet it remains the same song. Is this a useful analogy for how we remain the same person even though our bodies change constantly as we move through time and space?
Two links to this TEDTalk, should you want to watch it again:
1. In my Dropbox folder, here: http://db.tt/fPAXLtXp.
The path is Video / Science & Technology / Sense Perception. It’s the first one in that folder.
2. From the TED site, here: Beau Lotto.
If you watch on the TED site, you can choose to see it with subtitles. However, with a slow connection, it may not stream very well.