The quest for knowledge must begin with humility: that is, with a keen awareness of our limitations. None of us possess a God’s-eye view of the world. None of us can be “objective” in any meaningful sense of the word. Everything we know is known from a particular point of view. That’s true even of the most successful method for aggregating knowledge—modern science. After all, a scientific hypothesis is a point of view.
So we are immediately confronted with a problem of selection. There are an infinite number of facts present in the world, and they can be described from an infinite number of perspectives. Which facts are important enough to merit our attention, and under which aspect?
This is a site where I post articles, videos, and various resources relevant to a Theory of Knowledge teacher or student. You can find handouts, activities, and day to day plans on the resources for the TOK class page.
You can find folders for day to day lessons as I’ve taught them there. You can also find a greater variety of ideas and resources if you look at the pages for Areas of Knowledge or Theme.
I have only had the chance to teach Year 1 of the new course one time. I will no longer be teaching Theory of Knowledge so I won’t be updating this site any further.
Take a look at the sites for other course I have taught (but no longer do):
We are about to start week 3 of distance learning. I’ve worked on adapting my lessons to be completed on google classroom and submitted. Students can join the “class” on zoom to work through these as if we were doing a normal class. This provides for opportunities to discuss course content which is a central part of the course.
Mathematics professor Jason Brown spent 10 years working with statistics to solve the magical mystery. Brown’s the findings were presented on Aug. 1 at the Joint Statistical Meeting in a presentation called “Assessing Authorship of Beatles Songs from Musical Content: Bayesian Classification Modeling from Bags-Of-Words Representations.”
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.”
Subscription Required https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-experiments-had-few-limits-1404344378
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.”
Subscription Required https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703787304575075340954767332