Reasoning as a WOK Unit


First off, here is the STUDY GUIDE you need to do as you read the section on Reasoning as a Way of Knowing in Chapter 2. Please post answers on your blog and check the due date for your class in Managebac.

Google Doc Link

or Download this:

Download this file

Some questions to ponder:

       How do we reason?

       What is the significance and power of reasoning? 

       How do we learn to reason? What tools do we use in order to reason? 

       How does reasoning differ from the other Ways of Knowing?

       What is the role of Reason in Science and other areas of Knowledge?

       How do we use “deductive” and “inductive” reasoning?

       What is the difference between “validity” and “truth”?

       How do we effectively make counter-claims?

       How do we creatively reason?

       How and why do we classify?

       How do stereotypes and prejudice relate to reason?

       What constitutes a “good reason” for belief?



ad hominem

argument ad ignorantium

belief bias

binary thinking

circular reasoning

confirmation bias




double standards

fallacy (logical fallacy)


lateral thinking



loaded questions




vested interest

vicious circle / cycle

Download this file







Summer Post #24: The Made-Up Languages of Sigur Rós

If you haven’t heard of Sigur Rós, you really should check them out. They’re an Icelandic band (1994-present) with a unique and ethereal sound. The frontman Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson  has also branched off into other projects such as Jónsi & Alex, seen below in “Boy Lilikoi”



In our Language Unit, we addressed the topic of “made-up” languages and some groups presented about Avatar’s Navi, Star Trek’s Klingon, and Tolkien’s many languages of his worlds in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Apparently, Sigur Rós  incorporates a made-up language called “Hopelandic” in English, or “Vonlenska” in Icelandic. In the 2002 album entitled ( ), all songs with vocals are sung in Volenska (read more about it here) “Untitled #8”, a track from that album, was featured in the trailer for the Nicole Kidman film, Invasion. Creepy- what do you think?

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

Vonlenska is a term used to describe the unintelligible lyrics sung by the band,[34] in particular by Jónsi. It is also commonly known by the English translation of its name,Hopelandic. It takes its name from “Von”, a song on Sigur Rós’s debut album Von where it was first used.

Vonlenska is a non-literal language, without fixed syntax, and differs from constructed languages that can be used for communication. It focuses entirely on the sounds of language; lacking grammar, meaning, and even distinct words. Instead, it consists of emotive non-lexical vocables and phonemes; in effect, Vonlenska uses the melodic and rhythmic elements of singing without the conceptual content of language. In this way, it is similar to the use of scat singing in vocal jazz. The band’s website describes it as “a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music”;[35] it is similar in concept to the ‘nonsense’ language often used by Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of the syllable strings sung by Jónsi are repeated many times throughout each song, and in the case of ( ), throughout the whole album.



  • From Von:
    • “Von”
  • From Ágætis byrjun:
    • “Olsen Olsen”
    • “Ágætis byrjun” (towards the end)
  • From ( ):
    • All songs with vocals are sung exclusively in Vonlenska.
  • From Takk…:
    • Hoppípolla” (following the Icelandic line “En ég stend alltaf upp [But I always get back up]”)
    • “Sé lest”
    • Sæglópur” (with Icelandic at the end)
    • “Mílanó”
    • “Gong”
    • “Andvari”
    • “Svo hljótt” (following the Icelandic line “Ég þakka þér þá von… [I appreciate your hope]”)
  • From Hvarf:
    • “Salka”
    • Hljómalind
    • “Í Gær”
    • “Von”
    • “Hafsól” (in the middle and towards the end)
  • From Heim:
    • “Vaka”
    • “Ágætis byrjun” (towards the end)
    • “Von”
  • From Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust:
    • “Við spilum endalaust” (with Hopelandic in all the refrains between the lines “Við spiluðum [we played]” and in the end)
    • “Festival”
    • “Ára bátur” (following the Icelandic line “Ég fór, þú fórst [I went, you went]” + entire second half)
    • “Fljótavik” (towards the end)
    • All Alright” (towards the end)
  • From Valtari:
    • “Ég Anda”
    • “Ekki Múkk” (In the beginning and towards the end)
    • “Varúð” (In the refrain, the choir sings “Varúð [Caution]”)
  • Other Songs:
    • “Fönklagið”
    • “Gítardjamm”
    • “Nýja lagið”
    • “Heima” [DVD version]


Emotion Exploration #2: Happiness, Regret, and Despair

Do you ever wonder what your “Emotional Intelligence” is? Some scientists believe your “E.Q.” is more important to your success in life than your “I.Q.”.

Take the TEST here:




Dan Gilbert on TED: “Why are we Happy? Why Aren’t We Happy?”


BIG THINK ARTICLE: How Too Much Happiness Makes You Unhappy

Washington Post ARTICLE: Too Much Happiness Makes You Unhappy

7 Must-Read Books in Happiness (Plus more TED talks!)


Michael Norton on TED: “How to Buy Happiness”



Conversations about this talk at



TED ED LESSON (includes TED talk with quiz and other Thinking Questions)- Nancy Etcoff on the Surprising Science of Happiness:

Take the Happiness Survey HERE

or the OXFORD Happiness Survey HERE

or for more fun, use your iPhone for this:

ARTICLE: Is there a Mathematics to Happiness?

GALLERY: The World’s 15 Happiest Countries

ARTICLE: Why would the government want to know if we are happy? Why did our founding fathers consider “pursuit of happiness” so important? 



ARTICLE: Does regret make you more humane?

ARTICLE: Quick Decisions Create Regret

Here is the exquisite, legendary Edith Piaf sing “No, I regret Nothing” (with English subs)


ARTICLE: Why is regret a “moral” emotion?


TED TALK with Kathryn Schulz: Don’t Regret Regret (yes, it starts out with Johnny Depp’s shoulder tattoo!)


Conversations regarding this talk (I like the “10 mistakes we all make”)

ARTICLE: TOP 5 Regrets of the DYING


ARTICLE: Pregnant 9/11 Survivors Transmitted Trauma to their Children


ARTICLE: A Broken Heart Could Actually Kill You

ARTICLE: What is “broken heart syndrome”?

then watch this short video: 

ARTICLE: The Grief and Infection Connection

ARTICLE: What’s the Value of Sadness (Happiness- Enough Already!)

“Sadness is a Blessing” by Lykke Li (“Sadness is my boyfriend…”)


We are not the only creatures to experience Grief- check out these elephants…



W.H. Auden’s lovely poem: “Funeral Blues”, as seen in the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral”


And another stunning piece of poetry by Lord Byron


When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow—
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shrudder comes o’er me—
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee so well—
Long, long I shall rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?—
With silence and tears.

 Lord Byron


Equilibrium: A Dystopia Sans Emotion

What if there were a world that was afraid of human emotion, blaming feelings for all of humanity’s ills, then attempting to anesthetize the population? You’ve seen this theme in dystopian novels such as Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, and to some extent in the Matrix films. Another film (2002), “Equilibrium”, shows what life would be like if we tried to keep feelings at bay with drugs and destroy all emotional provocations such as art and literature, censoring items for “Emotional Content and branding those who do not comply “Sense Offenders”.


Here is one of the opening scenes (sorry about the Spanish subs):

In this scene Cleric fools the power that be and runs home to check on his Prozium supply, only to discover that his own son has not been taking Prozium since his mother was convicted of being a Sense Offender and subsequently executed. He gets to see “Father” and has his emotions tested…only to be in for a surprise.

One of the final scenes- The “Father” taunts Cleric into questioning his morality now that he can feel. Is killing someone else who can feel really “worth the price”?