Good science requires a spirit of collaboration, not domination. The debate in social psychology involves some essential criticism of past scientific practice, but revolutions can also lead to a bandwagon effect, in which bullies pile on and bystanders fearfully turn a blind eye. Especially as more disagreements among researchers surface in social media rather than professional publications, there is an insidious temptation to mistake being critical for being right, and to subordinate humility and decency to a “gloating sense of ‘gotcha,’” as the journal Nature put it.
There is a better way forward: through evolution, not revolution.
- Facebook Experiments Had Few Limits
“Thousands of Facebook Inc. users received an unsettling message two years ago: They were being locked out of the social network because Facebook believed they were robots or using fake names. To get back in, the users had to prove they were real.”
- Furor Erupts Over Facebook’s Experiment on Users
“A social-network furor has erupted over news that Facebook Inc., in 2012, conducted a massive psychological experiment on nearly 700,000 unwitting users.”
- Radiolab Podcast: Outside Westgate: Originally Broadcast 11/29/2014
This is a phenomenally well reported and well put together podcast that examines the eyewitness testimony and memory of a terrorist attack in Kenya. It is one thing to describe the academic idea that people are often mistaken about what they see and what they experience but in this podcast we here from multiple people who are absolutely certain about what they saw but more “objective” evidence does not corroborate their stories.
“In the wake of public tragedy there is a space between the official narrative and the stories of the people who experienced it. Today, we crawl inside that space and question the role of journalists in helping us move on from a traumatic event.
“NPR’s East Africa correspondent Gregory Warner takes us back to the 2013 terrorist attacks on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Warner reported on the attack as it happened, listening to eyewitness accounts, sorting out the facts, establishing the truth. But he’s been been wrestling with it ever since as his friends and neighbors try not only to put their lives back together, but also try to piece together what really happened that day.”
- Radiolab Podcast: Memory and Forgetting: Originally Broadcast August 9th, 2010
“Remembering is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process–it’s easy come, easy go as we learn how true memories can be obliterated, and false ones added. And Oliver Sacks joins us to tell the story of an amnesiac whose love for his wife and music transcend his 7-second memory.”
- Freakonomics Podcast: #181 Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition
Originally Broadcast 10/2/2014
“A team of economists has been running the numbers on the U.N.’s development goals. They have a different view of how those billions of dollars should be spent.”
- Planet Money Podcast: #480: The Charity That Just Gives People Money
Originally Broadcast 8/16/2013
“GiveDirectly is a charity that just gives money to poor people. The people who get the money can spend it on whatever they want. They never have to pay it back. On today’s show, we hear from someone who got money from GiveDirectly, from one of the founder’s of the group, and from a few other people in the charity world.”
- Planet Money Podcast: #494: What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?
Originally Broadcast 11/8/2013
“There’s a charity called GiveDirectly that gives money to poor people in Kenya — no strings attached. When we did a story about GiveDirectly earlier this year, they told us we needed to check back in. It turned out, they were in the middle of a big study designed to figure out what happens when people get money for nothing. Do they invest it? Waste it? Something in between?”
- “Measuring the Bang of Every Donated Buck” by Alice Hohler
“Ask enough people why they don’t donate more to charity and a common theme emerges. Many potential donors worry that charities will waste their money. Measuring the impact charities have on the problems they seek to solve—and, in some cases, deciding whether one cause is more deserving than another—has become a pressing issue for the multitrillion-dollar philanthropy industry.”
This is a site where I post articles, videos, and various resources relevant to a Theory of Knowledge teacher or student. As I find things that are relevant to the class, I post them here. There is no particular order in which the resources are posted but you can search by relevant Area of Knowledge or Way of Knowing by navigating the tabs above. Some of them have specific subject tabs for topics that seem to come up often like “Animals” as a common theme under “Ethics.”
You can also navigate the “Misc Topics” tab to help you find other topics that frequently come up in the resources posted here.
Some posts are simply articles with an excerpt included to give you an idea what it’s about. All have some relevance to helping you think about theory of knowledge topics or ideas.
Some posts are more well developed collections of resources on a particular theme or topic like this one about the ethics of facebook experimentation that has a series of articles on that topic.
Please contact me by email if you have any questions or to report any broken links.
Some advice I have in terms of how to proceed and write your essays. At this point, most of us are not ready to start writing an introduction. You need to solidify your understanding of the title you have chosen, identified two appropriate Areas of Knowledge along with good examples and identified relevant Ways of knowing. Decide what you want to say about each AOK and example. How do the WOKs fit in?
I think that many of us are excluding the value of using a personal example in our essays, particularly in the introduction. Rather than jumping straight into defining a term, you could use a personal example that helps raise the relevant questions you want to talk about or raise the central conflicts or definitions you want to include. This would be far more compelling than simply rattling off dictionary definitions.
If you don’t feel like you have a solid footing on an AOK or WOK, go back to the TOK guide linked here: https://toktopics.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/tok-guide-new.pdf
or a website like: http://www.theoryofknowledge.net/
Go back to the beginning
You should also look back at the assignment sheet (first page of the packet I gave you when we started this) itself which lays out the IB’s expectations for what is expected of you.
If you haven’t filled out the “unpacking the title” sheet yet. Please do so. We only worked on completing the first page of that sheet. You should have completed the rest of it as well which emcompasses what I wrote about above.
Essay Outline Websites
The link below lays out what it states is a “fool proof” way to organize an essay. I think this is a format you could definitely follow but it may not necessarily suit what you want to say or be the best format for your particular essay but it is helpful nonetheless.
Another basic outline
And some more…
More detailed information on writing the essay
The link below is to some textbook pages that discuss things to consider when writing a TOK essay. One important thing it says is to avoid having an introduction that is overly definition heavy.
This one I gave you in class but notice how it presents arguments clearly, starts with a personal example, and discusses complex ideas in a clear and consistent way
Below are 3 more samples that received a perfect 10/10 from the IB.
Camp 14 is a forced labor camp in North Korea. This is the story of a man who was born and raised in that camp and knew nothing about the world outside this prison camp until he escaped. This is an interesting and sad situation similar to Plato’s allegory of the Cave.