TOK Reflection One the first lesson of Theory of Knowledge (TOK), we got a booklet called ‘The Nature of knowledge’. This booklet talked about how knowers know, how knowers we should consider a piece of information we get. The booklet suggested that when we get a piece of information we have to judge it on whether it is the truth and whether we should believe it.
Just believing in the piece of information is not enough because you need a justification. Second-hand knowledge, cultural tradition, school, Internet, and expert opinion can obtain the justification.
Further continuing the studies of TOK, we found out more about the subject, starting with the ways of knowing. The four types of ways of knowing are reason and logic, emotion, sense perception, and language. For the first quarter we have focused on Sense Perception. In sense perception we focused on the 6 senses, which are: touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste, proprioception. During one of these lessons, we conducted an interesting survey of which sense would you as a person would be willing to live without. The results show that most of the class would be willing to live without the sense of smell.
In relation to the topic of what people believe in, we made a list of things people believe to be true. Using this list we made a ranking of how many people would have to see it for you to believe in it as well or you would actually have to see it for yourself before you believe it. We have watched quite a few documentaries in the quarter. In my opinion the documentary about the guy using echolocation to ride a bike, was one of the most fascinating things I have seen. I find this interesting because even with his disadvantage of being blind, he has somehow found an alternative method to move about and do normal things in life.
This video relates to the topic we were currently studying which was sense perception. It shows us how important our senses are and that there are people who can live without one of their senses. People can use one of their alternative senses instead when they can’t use one of their senses. I think the sense of sight is one of the most important senses because you need sight to do almost everything and the fact that this guy can live without it amazes me. Another documentary that we watched, was when they tried out an experiment on a few willing people.
The experiment was to block out the sense of sight for a certain amount of time and monitor the reactions of people over a certain period of time. At the same time, another group of willing people were chosen to have blocked out the sense of touch, sight, and sound. From this experiment I learned that many people get agitated very easily because they have don’t have a sense. The people with the sense of sight, touch, and sound just remained lying on the bed as they couldn’t feel anything therefore they did not know where they would be going if they moved.
One of the first documentaries we watched was about optical illusions. The questions we were focusing on were ‘Under what circumstances should I trust my senses’ and ‘under what circumstances should I doubt my senses’. From that video I learned that the circumstances when we should trust our senses is to think whether foo is rotten or not, whether or not to use your eyes to navigate, and touching hot or sharp objects. The circumstances that you should doubt your senses is when there are mirages, optical illusions, during a magic show, under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
The latest documentary that we watched was about the new topic that we started for quarter 2 which is Language. This documentary talked about all the different signs and actions that people do in various cultures and what they mean. For example, one of the actions that Indian people are prone to do is the shaking of the head from side to side. This action means a yes in the Indian culture but to people who have never seen this actions before it look like a mixture of a yes and a no, like a maybe sign.
This video was interesting because some of the normal signs we show such as the good luck sign, with the thumb pointing outwards, mean different things in different areas and cultures in the world. The many documentaries we watched helped me learn better and I think I have learned the most out of them mostly because I am a visual learner. On lessons when we didn’t watched movies, we had a lot of discussions within the class. These discussions were about how to know what were are seeing is true, and how to believe what to see.
During one of the lessons we had a note taking session about sense perception. This was a slideshow that talked to us about what sense perception is and how it is influenced. I learned that sense perception is influenced by past experiences, which can condition you to expect certain things. Since it is influence by the past you may than see what you expect to see, rather than what is really there. Your sense perception can be influenced by your social and cultural conditioning, which may give you certain prejudices.
I can also be influenced by you spatial awareness, which will try to relate shapes to patterns with which you’re already familiar. It is influence by your biological limitations, which prevent you from hearing certain sounds or tasting certain chemicals. It can also be influenced by what you already know and how your brain already works. Perception may make you see what is not there and is affected when the brain filters out signals in order to prevent overload. Perception is affect by your self-perception, which makes you interpret information in relation to your self-image.
I don’t think this presentation helped me learn that much, as it didn’t give me any examples and was more of information that we need to learn. The last thing that we did was the presentation. This presentation was on a topic of our choice and we had create a Knowledge issue, research about a real life situation and come up with economical, educational, moral, religious, and social views about our topic. This presentation is really helpful because it will be similar to the final one we do to gain the 3 bonus points in IB.