Knowledge and the Search for Truth
a. Take a book you’ve read recently (could even be a text for one of your classes) and answer the 4 questions on this page. As you post to your blog, try to add specific words from the book to support your answer for #3, and perhaps at least 1 example of a photograph, diagram, or drawing (you can even take a photo with your phone to post as evidence)
b. Read the green box from Yeshey of Bhutan (don’t step on a book!). Then read about and watch Thomas Pettit, a Danish philosopher, discuss the Gutenberg Parenthesis and his view of books (tear one up!). What are your thoughts about the sanctity of books and how did you arrive to your decision? Do books really “hold learning”? How would you rate where you get knowledge – media (various), books, teachers, family, friends, celebrities, etc.? (draw a continuum or explain)
Pg. 91: Classifying Knowledge
c. Check out the chart- we will take some time in class do this with a partner and discuss
*why do other languages have several different words for “to know”? What are the constraints of English?
Pg. 92-3: Types of Knowledge
d. Check out Mohammed Youssef’s explanation of the 5 Stages of Knowledge / Wisdom in Arabic. Provide a real life example of each, as it applies to your life.
e. Make your own list of an experiential knowledge (“knowing through direct experience”) you have, a procedural knowledge (skills; “knowing how”), and a knowledge claim (“knowing that”- tied to language). What type is the easiest to learn? What type tends to stick the longest?
f. Which ways of knowing (sense perception, language, emotion, and reasoning) are most relevant to each of the 3 categories – try to provide a specific example.
g. In which category would you place the statement “I’ve heard about that” and why?
***READ THIS ARTICLE outlining the different theories of learning and how Twitter could be used for each. Which theory do you think best applies to our IB program? Which theory do you find most helpful as a style of learning?
Below is a scene from Good Will Hunting that touches on experiential knowledge versus rational knowledge…beware…some adult language.
Pg. 94-7: IB DP Subject Activity
h. Check out the green chart. Choose 3 other of your IB DP subjects (not Lang A) and also CAS…make a similar chart. Then brainstorm with your group (maybe they have the same subjects!)…we’ll do a little shifting around and move into different groups to share more ideas…after we can analyze to see if the subjects are balanced or not. WE WILL DO THIS IN CLASS
***read the CAS experience of Emily on pg. 95 to understand how CAS is a certain kind of knowledge acquisition. Then click here for another real-life CAS experience video.
i. The 3 kinds of knowledge are stored differently in the brain. Remember how Mr. Wearing could still play the piano? Curate something on one of the following types of memory or at least find out what they all are: procedural memory, working memory, long-term memory, declarative memory, episodic memory.
Here’s a cool explanation of “earworms” by neurologist Oliver Sacks, and then his discussion of the Power of Music and the Power of Doing…that is, procedural memory.
Pg. 98-100: Voodoo Activit
j. We will discuss the questions in class in groups, but check out the green section on pg.100 to see what other students responded to the question: “Does it matter of what we believe in is true?
Pg. 100-103: TESTS for Knowledge Claims
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the following tests for truth? Discuss the questions in each section with a partner and be prepared to sum it up for the class
k. Identify if these tests are commonly used in the IB DP subjects you are studying now.
*Coherence – based on other claims you believe – (do they agree?)
*Correspondence – must match the evidence – (go and check it out!)
*Pragmatic – must be able to be applied effectively in practice (does it work?)
****be sure to understand why, in TOK, we abandon the catch-all “true-for-me” relativism and think in terms of “true-for-all” (see pg. 103)
CHECK OUT: “A Physicist’s Guide to the existence of Santa Claus“
Pg. 104-5: 3 Truths and a Lie game and 1-9 “Good Reasons for Belief” (in class)
l. What is the difference between being sincere and being right? What is the difference between making a false statement and lying?
m. We might play another game called “Liar Liar”
Pg. 105-6: Kinds of Claims
l. After reading about rational, observational, metaphysical, and value judgments, we will play the partner game on pg. 106
Pg. 108-9: Justification Types
l. After reading about reliable sources (experts and general consensus), memories, emotions, intuition, faith, and revelation, describe what role these might play in the Areas of Knowledge (your subjects)…for example, how might emotion affect and artist or intuition affect a scientist? Here’s an awesome TED TALK which discusses the intuitiveness of the arts and sciences.
Pg. 110-111: Intensity of Belief
l. Draw or diagram something that represents the relationship between belief, truth, knowledge, and justification.
Pg. 112-113- Pseudoarchaeology
Pg. 114: Do I Believe?
q. After reading about the 3 “s’s”: SOURCE, STATEMENTS, and SELF, choose something you’ve learned recently and evaluate it based on these, using specific examples.