Sunday, December 31, 2006

Jesus Camp

This is based upon the documentary, not my own personal opinions.
I am sorry to those of you who will have trouble viewing this clip.
Any way. I just thought I'd bring this back up because Evan had brought it up a long while ago, and nearly noone had any idea what he was saying.
So basically what are your reactions to this?
Especially to the kid saying, "We're being trained to be God's army."

Monday, December 25, 2006

IM in school

I know we've talked about this but I found this article and thought it was interesting. It's about how IM speak is now infiltrating student work and even standardized tests. Another example of the evolution of language...

Is this becoming a problem with any of you?

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"stay the course" and snow

Ok so first I just want you to know that I LOVE SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Half day snowday today= amazing, full day snowday tomorrow= even more amazing, I'm going sleding, and making a snowman, and everything! but this was not really the point of my post, well it was half the point, just so I could share my love. but seriously, ok this article talks about how Bush and his administration being forced to change the language they are using about the iraq war. Tell me what you think, about both subjects!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Truman Show

How do you know that you're not the main character in your own "Truman Show"? If you haven't seen the movie, here's a summary:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Knowledge and Wisdom

In Malone's class, we've been really trying to delve into the knowledge issues of Lanuage. I think that a huge part of Language is all of the different connotations that are attached with each word. In past week, I've been rereading The Giver, and a passage that really stood out to me was when the characters were talking about the "acquisition of wisdom." Meanwhile, in TOKland, Mr. Malone has been asking us to look at Language as an "acquisition of knowledge". Then I was thikning about why are these two words, knowledge and wisdom, have such different connotations? What do you think of when you hear or read the word knowledge, and likewise with wisdom? While these two words share a close meaning, what are the differing perceptions that you have for these two words? What can we learn about Language from these different connotations?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Piss Christ

Ok, so the title is already controversial. Anyway, last year in my art class, Mrs. Lynam showed me this work called Piss Christ. Basically what it was was this guy, Andres Serrano, put a little crusifix in a jar, and filled it with his own urine... and some of his own blood. Then he took pictures and published it as art. Now I'm sure it had some artistic merit... mostly it was just controversial. But I have some questions for y'all. What is the difference between art and... well, self torture? Where do we draw the line with art? What can fly and what can't?
The main question I want to ask is... what counts as art?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sense Perception in Literature

How's everyone doing?
So a thing that I have wanted to talk about for quite some time is the concept of sense perception in Literature. I know that this was a subject discussed a very long time ago, but I would like to explore the concept of "Sense Perception" by analyzing how it is talked about in reference to Literature.

Here’s my take on the concept of Sensory Perception in Literature. Good literature (especially poetry, but prose as well) has the ability to make you feel whatever it is trying to portray to you. Your inner eye (as well as inner nose and inner fingers and inner everything else) becomes stimulated by words on a page and the experience of reading becomes much more than just staring at glyphs on a sheet of paper (or computer screen).

The last statement can be disputed on this thread. Indeed, additions (or subtractions) to that statement are welcomed.
However, if we accept that SP in literature includes appeal to the inner senses then what exactly is Sense Perception? If we accept that sense perception is also the concept of the inner self, then what is the difference between sense perception and plain old perception?

Consider the poem below.


The winter's evening settles down
With smells of steaks in passageways.
Six o'clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves across your feet
And newpapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On empty blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.
-T.S. Elliot
Isn’t it pretty? I think so…

Monday, December 04, 2006

Individual Thought??

So it's my week to track the blog and that means I get to come up with a creative idea to stimulate thought and discussion. My friend Jenny and I were talking a couple of weeks back and she brought up the idea that no one could ever have any original thoughts because someone, at some point in time, at some location in the world has already had that thought or something that could resemble it. At first I disagreed, but her argument became more and more convincing so I want to know what you think. Can a person truly have original thought, something that no one else has thought before? Can those thoughts become knowledge? If so, how? Is this a comforting or disturbing concept? Think about it, write about it, I want to know what you think.....and are those thoughts original?

Internet Slang

Ok so it's my week to "host" and I was trying to come up with a topic and when I typed some letters into the title thing sometimes there would be a suggestion, I typed jk since I was going through the alphabet and got to thinking about internet slang (achronyms specifically) so I decided to post about that. Specifically I thought I'd ask you wonderful people (out there in cyberland) how(or to what extent) internet slang has impacted/changed the level on which people interact and/or converse today.

Here's some achronyms if you're curious

Sunday, December 03, 2006


This is a link to the bbc ethics site that is really interesting. The whole sight is cool but here is just a little piece on what a just cause for war is, out of the whole war section. Look at the justification they use. If you have a chance look at the rest of the sight, it's really interesting.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Little Green Men

We send/sent space probes to float around in the Milky Way with pictorial messages attached to them. For example, the 1977 Voyager probes had golden records, with inscribed diagrams depicting the human form and our location. The records were made based on the fact that little green men can understand basic math and geometry. Why is it that math and science are used to communicate with aliens? Wouldn't they have other ways of knowing?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I was searching around and I found a phychologist named Howard Gardner who says that there are seven different types of intelligence.
1. Linguistic
2. Logical-Mathematical
3. Bodily-Kinesthetic
4. Spatial
5. Musical
6. Interpersonal
7. Intrapersonal
How do you think these relate/compare to the four ways of knowing that we learn in TOK?
Can both models be right or are they in conflict with each other?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Language Poem

A while ago in class we read a poem called "Nothingness" by Ahron Amir about the absence of language. (If you haven't read it yet you probably will sometime this week, so you should wait and respond after looking at it in class.)

We didn't really have a chance to freely discuss it in class, so I wanted to do that here. I thought the poem raised a lot of interesting questions. First of all, what do you think about the fact that it was translated? How does that impact what it says about language?

Another thing-- most of the images it offers "Of a man flung from a treetop far above the ground", a "pilot whose parachute would not open", a stone falling to a bottomless pit, are about falling. Nearly everyone has dreams about falling, or the sensation of falling in their sleep. Could this almost instinctual, basic image be something that you can connect to without language? Is that why it's offered in this poem? I realize that the fact that it is a poem makes it hard to convey the sensation of the absence of language, but go with me here. What do you think?

One last point-- The speaker describes them self as a "non-I" in the absence of language. Do we define ourselves through language? Can a sense of identity exist without it?

What do you think? Any other things you want to discuss with this poem? Please respond! :)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Knowledge isn't Justified True Belief

Hmm... I'm not sure what this does... never was really a blogger... testing testing... 1,2,3
Let's see, so Knowledge supposedly "Justified True Belief"

Consider this situation: Bob and Jim apply for the same job.
Bob thinks Jim will get the job because Jim seems more qualified.
Jim has 10 coins in his pocket. (bob saw)
Bob concludes through his reason, logic, and emotions the knowledge claim that 'the person who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket.'
Unbeknownst to Bob, he will actually get the job. And, though he hasn't checked his pockets, in reality, he also has 10 coins in his pocket.
Thusly, the knowledge claim was true, however,
Bob's justifications were invalid.
His belief was an incorrect "map of reality."
But he still came to the right conclusion.

Uh oh spaghetti-ohs.


So what I want to start a conversation about is the slang of "our generation." What I mean by that is right now in 2006 at Poudre High School what is the slang that we have developed and what do they mean? Looking at the 70s myself in our assignment I am wondering why it seems like alot of the things we say are just taken from other generations. Are we the generations of no new language? What will that become in the future?


Read the title, respond.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Communism is good.. Yes?

If Communism is all for one and one for all, then how come people think of it as evil. And how does north korea work with Kim Jung il runnin the show?

P.S. all hail red china

- laughingcorpse

Teachers Note: Due to the way this question is worded, some of you may not initially see the relevancy. I ask those of you responding to put the TOK twist on this... How do people use the WoKs to come to personal conclusions about Communism and its role as a political system? -- Mr. Malone

Monday, November 06, 2006

Language, how much does it cause one to stereotype?

Hi all,
as one of the people hosting the blog this week I wanted to ask, in relation to the unit of Language as a WOK, how much do you think language effects how you judge others? And is that judgment at all based off of the politics surrounding the region the language is from? How do people stereotype just based on the way one speaks or communicates (disregard race for the time being and please just focus on language even though the two are more often than not related)?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Language in Psychology

In psychology we recently studied how language influenced culture, and vice versa. We found examples on how it did work, and how it didn't. In some examples, we could even see how language is a manifestation of culture, and how one can see aspects of a culture through the language associated with that culture (for example, in Japanese they have multiple ways of saying "I", whereas we really only have one. That could show how it is important to identify status and relationships in Japan when speaking, but maybe not so much in the U.S.). We are just starting to look at language as a WoK in TOK. Does TOK look at language the same way as psychology?

THE Answer

As has already been established by a very "reputable" source, the answer to life, the universe, and everything is....

Now, based on what you have experienced and what you know (and your interpretation of the answer), what is the question?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Power of Slang

As we begin our look at Language as a WoK, we are going to consider how a specific language can define a culture, and in this instance, a generation. As part of the Slang Assignment (if you haven't been introduced to it, you will), we want you to consider and use the following slang from the decades listed below. Also provided is an on-line slang dictionary that will help you find any words that you are having a hard time finding.


Slang Dictionary

If you wish to print these lists for your use, please do so at home. They are long and would be a huge waste of paper. Have Fun...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Senses and Stories

Richard Gregory, author of The Intelligent Eye, quotes, "How far are human brains capable of functioning with concepts detached from sensory experience?" This question goes about a million years back to when we first received the "Seeing Things" handout from K.C. Cole's First You Build a Cloud. There have been many similar posts concerning this subject matter, but now that we have started creating stories, have your views changed? Suppose that the only sensory contact you were able to have (ever) was when you heard the music for the story assignment. How would your story be different? Could you create a story at all?

Muy Interesante

So everyone here is something interesting that I think you might enjoy-
This is a passage from a speech by Dudley Malone during the Scopes trial, and he was speaking for the prosecution. Just for those who don't know the Scopes trial was a product of the conflicting cultural cross current of the era. It was trial for a teacher from Dayton who was accused of teaching evolution, which was against the law at that time, and was put on trial to see if he should be charged with the $100 fine that was the punishment of doing such a thing. However the trial turned far more into as Roger Baldwin put it "the good book against Darwin, bigotry against science, or as popularly put, god against monkeys." It became a defining point in the history of Americans morals and beliefs. Even though Malone was on the prosecution he felt the genesis and evolution were not in conflict. So here is his closing statement with a tribute to the power of truth:

"Truth always wins and we are not afraid of it. The truth is no coward. The truth does not need the law. The truth does not need the forces of government. The truth does not need Mr. Bryan (prosecuter) The truth is imperishable, eternal, and immortal and needs no human agency to support it. We are ready to tell the truth as we understand it and we do not fear all truth that they can present as facts. We are ready. We are ready. We feel we stand with progress. We feel that we stand with science. We feel that we stand with intelligence. We feel that we stand with fundemental freedom in America. We are not afraid. Where is fear? We meet it. Where is fear? We defy it..."

Thoughts ideas? anyone

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dark Matter

I just wanted to start a discussion about the lecture on dark matter presented by Dr. Polhemus and see what others thought about it. I thought the presentation was phenomenal and was very impressed by the ideas and information, but afterwards I was troubled by some questions and doubts.

I guess my overall question revolves around when and how a concept like dark matter can become knowledge. Currently, we are not able to perceive dark matter with our senses. Some scientists have made theories about it because it seems to explain some occurrences in space, but do they know that dark matter exists? What do they need as evidence to claim that it does exist? Do they need more examples like the bullet cluster? If so, how many more? Also, when will the average person be able to claim it as knowledge? Most people can not understand these theories because they are so complex. Are the scientists a reliable authority for the general population?

Here's a link to an article on some of the general ideas and the bullet cluster if you missed the lecture or if you're just looking for an interesting read:

my two left feet

In the movie my two left feet he used his feet to paint, do you think the significance of these paintings changed the more he learned about life? For example after the painting for the girl was returned, do you think that changed any of his beliefs?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"When Not Seeing Is Believing"

Ok, so I was reading this article in the Time Magazine from October 9 titled “When Not Seeing is Believing” and it just screamed TOK! to me. I thought this article presented such an accurate interpretation on the power of fundamentalist thought and its effects. The article began by noting the smile of certainty present on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadienjad’s face during his visit to the U.N. This smile reflected his trust in the arms of God and the power of his faith. The need to submit to the beneficent, omnipotent will of God has been present throughout all religions throughout time. The article stresses the point that the resurgence of religious certainty has deepened our cultural divisions and caused more polarized political discoures.
I found it really interesting when the article mentioned the impossibility of proclaiming truth with a capital T when it comes to faith. There is always a sense of uncertainty that humans will never grasp. At the heart of religion is humanness marked by imperfection and uncertainty that was even seen in Jesus.
So, as humans strive towards an absolute truth, it is real doubt that teaches people to believe. Faith does not come from sense perception. So I don’t think it can be close to absolute
This is why I see certainty of faith as a paradox. Faith incorporates doubt, so religion cannot be used as a certainty in any kind of political decision. Political divisions then arise so strongly.
What does everyone think about this? It’s a really good article that gives a much better account of what I just said, so you should really read it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

How can faith blind/impair our perception?

How can faith blind/impair our perception?

This question i thought might be good for what we're learning in class. People should be thinking about it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Art, Literature, and Everything in Between

So, going along with Josh's post of "What is Art?" I'd like to raise the question of what is literature, what is art, are the the same and how. In my opinion, literature falls under art. I define art as a form of expression of an intangible concept through tangible means. I would also say that all art is subjective. Literature to me is the art concerned with language. To me it is expression which requires human word, written or spoken, to convey its meaning. I'd just like to see what you all thought of this, see what you think about genres such as theatre, cinema, television, pulp fiction, the works.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Genius of a Child... repost

Because of the conversation that Josh is starting about art and the conversations in class, I thought I'd repost the following...

Marla Olmstead, a six-year old who sold her first painting for $250 when she was 2 years old and is now considered an artistic prodigy. Check out her work by following the link above. She has been featured by...

LA Weekly
The New York Times
60 minutes
The Today Show
BBC News
and many, many others...

Just thought it might add to your discussion as to what defines genius and the subjective nature of artistic "knowledge". What do you think?

What is art???

hey all, i was thinkin about this durring TOK today. i was thinkin about what art really is and concidering what adrean was saying about how one progresses through art and in doing this, becomes more aware of the different "correct" methods of creating art. in the most respectful way possible, i completely dissagree with the statement that there is a correct way of creating art for certain forms of art. i personaly think that art is completely what the creator makes of it. I think that a four year olds art is the most pure form of art ever concievable simply because it is un-tainted by the conformities of society. a four year old has no guidlines, and therefor can completely and totaly honestly express their emotions, which in my oppinion is what art's pourpose is. Can there be art without emotion? I personaly dont think there can be, because i think that art is emotion. i also believe in two forms of art: art that is there simply for the emotional dovelopment or satisfaction of the creator, and art that is created to actively draw out emotions in the audience. without emotion, art is not only not art, it is completely pointless. what do you guys think, now that i have stated my oppinion? do you agree?


Since we're going to be talking about language in ToK and how it relates to the Areas of Knowledge, I thought I'd do a post on language.
What constitutes a language? Is it possible to have language other than the spoken word? i.e. Can you consider mathematics as a language? What about the languages of music and art? Do you think that it is possible to have a language that is not spoken? What are the boundaries and/or limitations and benefits of having a language that is not spoken? Are there any similarities/dissimilarities between the languages of math, music, and art? To what extent would we be effective at communicating ideas in these languages if we cannot speak it? How is this different from perception?

This is kind of a broad topic, so you don't have to answer all the questions I posted...

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Elusive Truth

Ok, so this is the question.

Can one culture or area of the world or even one era, for that matter, claim to have more knowledge than another culture/area/era because more of their beliefs are properly justified???

For example, while one culture may only be able to base their beliefs off of instinct or what was believed in the past, does that make those beliefs less justifiable than a culture that can justify theirs with techonology, scientific investigation, etc., maybe even in addition to instinct and the like?

Does this tie into personal vs. descriptive justifications? does that descriptive knowledge have to count for the whole world, for all time (is that what Truth is??) or just for the era, the locality?

Does that mean we are moving any closer to the Truth as we go along and gather more means of proper justification?

Does your head hurt yet?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Truth In America

An interesting show on Oprah recently about "Truth in America" and how the media affects our view of what the truth is...

"According to the Poynter Institute's Dr. Roy Peter Clark, 'The truth is being distorted from all corners, and Americans don't see it, or if they do, too many don't seem to care.' Here are seven things Dr. Clark says you can do to recognize manipulation in government, media, business and advertising:

1. Find three political bloggers who represent the right, the left and the middle. Consult them to help you sort through political issues and media messages.

2. Look for role models of candor and accountability, people in public life who have proven to be reliable over time. Look especially for folks within a movement or political party who have the courage to speak against the interests of their own party.

3. Prefer people who want to have a vigorous conversation to those who want to shout at each other.

4. Do not be seduced into thinking that every hot-button issue requires you to be on one side or the other. There may be a middle ground. Don't be afraid to be puzzled or uncertain about an issue. It's okay to be working to make up your mind.

5. Get up off the couch. Join a club. Volunteer. Sing in the choir. One way not to be fooled by political or media manipulation is to learn from direct experience, from reality and not reality TV.

6. In an age of celebrity culture, try to pay more attention to people for what they do than for who they are.

7. Be a skeptic, but not a cynic. A skeptic doubts knowledge. A cynic doubts moral goodness. The cynic says, "All politicians are liars," or "all journalists have a secret bias." The skeptic says, "That doesn't sound right to me. Show me the evidence."

Good, Interesting Advice no matter which side of the fence you are on...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Perceiving the future

Is it possible to perceive the future? Some astrologers say that they have seen the future through the stars; some claim to know events that will occur before they actually happen. Astrologers study the patterns of the stars to try to predict what's going to happen tomorrow. Do you think that astrology is a valid way of perception even though astrologers are not directly witnessing images of the future? If you supposedly know the future, can it ever be descriptive knowledge or is it always acquaintnace knowledge? because you can't claim to have known than an event will occur in the future because you always have to wait and confirm that it happens.
i.e. Let's say I predict that an asteroid will crash into Earth and destroy Antarctica exactly 1 week from now. Can I claim it as knowledge right now or would I have to wait 1 week and then confirm my prediction? Let's say that I perceived this through the stars, and it does turn out to be true; is it a valid way of perception or did I just make a wild guess and got it right?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Ok, so I was watching "Egypt: Engineering an Empire" last night, and it got me thinking. How were the pyramids built? I know this sounds like an engineering question but, really, how? There are no records to give soild proof, so we are left down to perceptions. How do we personally think it was done?
For me, i say Aliens. Stargate was proof enough for me, but what do you think, and why?

Monday, October 09, 2006

The love-pancake theory


Alright, now that I've got that out of my system, let's move on. For my first post, I would like to present you all with a game. This game, for simplicities sake, will be called "The Love-Pancake theory". Below are three rules. These rules are the only truths we have, these are the only things we know. However, you may add new rules during the course of the game. You may add a new rule by proving it to be true, and by having three more people agree than disagree with this rule.

1) Love is blind
2) Love= ♥
3) Love will keep us together.

Thus, given the rules above, your task is this: Diiscuss wether or not the picture below is love. Remember: If you wish to disproove this as love, you must either prove it is not through the rules above, or create a new rule that proves it is not. No new rule can directly contradict another, i.e there cannot be a rule stating "Love can see". However, there can be a rule that shows the picture is not love, i.e "Love is a battlefield".

I've either confused you all and no one will post on this, or this will work out to my own devious plan and we will have people arguing about wether or not love is a heart-shaped pancake.


How do you think your perception of the movie Crash would have been affected had they incorporated judgement and hatred based on disabilities as well as race? Would it have had the same emotional impact as before? How does your perception of someone vary based on whether or not they are disabled, either physically or mentally?


For those of you that have watched Crash (and if you haven't, you will), I simply ask for your reaction...

How does this movie relate to Perception and Ethics? (or TOK in general)
What questions does Haggis (director) wish his audience to ask of themselves?
What message did you get from the movie?
What is your overall personal reaction?

Answer any, all, or none.

Try to go beyond...
"Racism is bad" and "Don't judge a book by its cover".

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

History vs. Science

Okay, during the History presentations in our class, a huge debate was started based on the comment that Historians face the same issues as Scientists. It was thought that History is the same as Science, in many ways. I want to know what all of you out there think. What are the similarities, if any, between the two, and why does it matter in terms of sense perception? Please feel free to argue if the two relate in any way at all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Emotion and Knowledge

An interesting quandry I've come to...

By the definitions given us by our TOK language, a moral/ethical belief can qualify as an emotional claim to Knowledge. Knowledge must be a PJTB, as defined by TOK. Yet moral/ethical issues are completely and entirely relative, and cannot be proven true in any sense of the word. So, the way I see it, TOK is wrong here - Knowledge claims that use ethical/moral/emotional beliefs as their basis cannot possibly be True.
Am I interpreting this wrong, or does what I just said hold some validity?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Well, was I right?

I stumbled upon this on a teacher blog I read occasionally...


"There is a story of the new recruit at an engineering company, fresh out of college, who was given a circuit to analyze on his first day on the job. He worked on it for most of the day and then brought his solution to the manager who had assigned the task that morning. The recruit placed his solution on the desk and waited eagerly for a response. The manager looked at the paper and then filed it. The recruit lingered for awhile and then said, 'Well was I right?'

The manager was shocked. He asked, 'Why would I pay you to find answers that I already know?'”

Just thought you might enjoy this...
I'm sure many of you fall into a similar trap.

The question is...
Why, as students, is verification so often needed when searching for answers to the questions that you are challenged with?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Internet and Global Knowledge

As we discuss what Knowledge is (PJTB), how it is assimilated (L/La/E/P), and in what arenas it exists (disciplines, etc.), I began to wonder whether the internet has truly allowed us to share information the way we all assume is possible. Has it really opened our eyes to what's out there or could it have the opposite effect... Read This.

How might this affect our perception of history?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Perception maybe?

Hello. This is Vvinni. If you understand this, put three "E"'s at the end of your post.

Hello, it's Vvinni. Since we're talking about perception, and how people see things differently, and patterns, and so forth. I thought it would be neat to do this. Above is a message, written in a font I made (The image). Your mission is to tell me what this message says, and tell me how you know. Please be as analytical or as faith-based as you want. And please, respond this time.

Well, until next time. I'm Vvinni/Vynni/Vigni/Vinni, and good night.

Can you read me? Can you read me? Can you read me? ffrrttccvvaazz

Sunday, September 24, 2006


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" The opening sentence to the second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence, states something that all Americans (that is my assumption) view each other as equal. But each one of us are different in some delightfully wonderful way, and each of us have a talent that another might not possess. For instance one person could be great at public speaking but terrible at calculus, while another person could be a genius at it and be a terrible public speaker. Does our abilites define our level of "equality"? And how do we truly define equality without pointing out virtues that we deem "quality" enough for us to have to possess? Do these virtues that one might or might not contain make them any less equal? And should we, no matter what another persons talents, actions or virtues, treat everyone else as equals? Even if it goes against our definition of "standard morals"?

Saturday, September 23, 2006


So what i want to know is who read the article yet, I know its a no homework weekend but really I think it is very interesting. What I also want to know is if others experience this phenomenon and yet did not know what it was. As I have discovered I am this way, I always wondered about the colors and the feelings I experience. The way that simple experiences for me can feel so vidid; or hurt me when it wasn't even me. Now how does the way we perceive the world feel? Pretty scary huh? Now I am curious to see how others experience sensations because I thought I was the same as everyone but as I have found out...I'm not!
Check out this site, it gives good information about different kinds of synethesia:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Lies, all lies

One of the tenets of the Nazi party was: People will more readily believe a big lie than a small one. I'm curious to know firstly whether you think this claim is true or not, and if it is, then why we would be more inclined to believe that big lie. What then differentiates a big lie from a small one?

On a related note, can our percieved truths act like a spectrum, where something appears so inconceivable that we think that therefore it's true?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

science and perception

Ok so based on our groups presentation on science today in Malone's, I'd like to ask a question to you all based on a story in spanish I read. What would happen if some imperceptible malfunction occured in one of the basic "law's of nature." Just through some infinent possibility this could happen, and it denied all of our knowledge, and or belief's about that subject. For example, if a man lost so much weight he started to float. How would we percieve this? How would soceity react, and how would you? How would we take this form of chaos in our normal everyday lives, and justify it to be real or not? Take this anywhere you want to, just some thoughts I had off this crazy story.

In Memoriam: Language

Hello, world. This is Sean.

And this is a segue.

The tail end of "Canada has a battleship?!" raised an interesting question. Since language is the metaphorical Soup of the Day at the literal Family Feedbag that is TOK, I'll reiterate this question here:
The English Language, can we kill it? How? Are we doing so now? Did anyone notice the comma I spliced three sentences ago?

This is a closing,


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

One Guarantee

I'm not sure how incredibly relevant this is to TOK, except for the fact that it was question I pestered several of my TOK classmates with. They suggested I post it here and see if I could get some responses. So, I pose to you the following hypothetical question:

If you were able to guarantee one thing in your life between now and the age 30, but that guarantee would be guaranteed for only a moment, after which your life would proceed on it's natural course, what would the guarantee be? As this is a rather convoluted question, I'll offer several examples:

If you chose to be happily married to Brad Pitt, then you would be able to guarantee that for a moment between now and when you were 30, you would be happily married to Brad. After that moment, you could continue to be happily married, but you would now have to maintain the relationship, it would no longer be "magically guaranteed." In fact, the next day, assuming you committed a terrible enough offence, you could be divorced, or you could party down on your 50th anniversary.

If you chose to be a pro basketball player, then you would be guaranteed to be playing in the NBA for at least one moment before you were 30. However, after that moment, you might tear an ACL or get cut if you’re no longer up to snuff. On the same line of thought though, you could be the next Michael Jordan, after the one guaranteed moment, the course of your life is once more wholly dictated by your own actions.

What would your guarantee be? Keep in mind answers that are more plausible are generally yield a more interesting insight on human nature.

Monday, September 18, 2006

God exists

As i was writing my journal about what i consider a PJTB, a question occured to me.
Can anyone know that god exists as descriptive knowledge, or will it always be confined as aquaintence knowledge?
Would something as sublime as a god figure coming down from heaven make this claim descriptive? Or, what about Jesus? Was this knowledge descriptive during the time of Jesus, at least among believers?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Knowing and Politics

In a September 8th story on NPR's "All Things Considered," it was reported that, "Dozens of Syrian migrant farm workers were killed in one village [by Israeli air strikes], and Lebanon's largest milk plant was destroyed. When it was disabled, the plant was attempting to renew its contract to supply UNIFIL troops -- a contract it won over an Israeli firm several years ago." The story further went on to suggest that the bombings were motivated by a conflict of interest created the aforementioned contract.

This raises an important question in the knowledge created by this occurrence. As we do not know the true reasoning for the air strikes, and probably will not be able to know the reasoning behind the attacks for quite some time (until information currently kept in classified Israeli documents are released), can we form a knowledge claim about the morality of the subject? Is it ever possible to make an accurate knowledge claim when such conditions exist? As most of us have grown up and been educated in the United States for all of our lives, how can we be certain that we are not being effected by the biases caused by nationalism?

Neither the administration, nor either of the legislative branches made any effort early in the conflict to intervene and stop the violence, nor did they condemn the aforementioned attacks on civilian establishments. Assuming that the events did indeed occur; could one make an accurate knowledge claim that we, as the electors of the US's representative government, are partially culpable for the attacks on these civilians?

Perception Problem

"It is said that African Bushmen, upon first being confronted with a video camera (or other similar technology), could not perceive it. They saw nothing. The same has been said about explorers' ships when first confronted by a native people. The natives could not perceive the ships anchored off shore of their land."



If what can see is the sea but not for is not is can I go to the store house of flying dagger coins for conduct student conduct is the only way to be a wilting salad in the freezer heat it up if you want to go to the circus today was the only day for a night in shining aluminum foil.

Does this have any meaning? Is This post constructive? Is anything I say constructive? Discuss.

Thinking without Language?

In psychology last year we studied Genie, a ferrel child who was tied down to a potty trainingseat. She had no language (i.e. speaking ability) and had to learn all the basic things like walking that many other children her age knew. They question I am posing to you all is: Can we think if we don't have language?
-Rachael Reeves

Saturday, September 16, 2006

What is the true nature of color?

"Philosophy has long struggled to understand the nature of color. The central role color plays in our lives, in visual experience, in art, as a metaphor for emotions, has made it an obvious candidate for philosophical reflection. Understanding the nature of color, however, has proved a daunting task, despite the numerous fields that contribute to the project. Even knowing how to start can be difficult. Is color to be understood as an objective part of reality, a property of objects with a status similar to shape and size? Or is color more like pain, to be found only in experience and so somehow subjective? Or is color more like what some have said about time--that it seems real until we reflect enough, where we come ultimately to dismiss it as mere illusion? If color is more like shape and size, can we give a scientific account of it? Various strategies exist for this option--taking the color of an object to be just a complicated texture of that object, one that reflects certain wavelengths. Or perhaps color is merely a disposition to cause experiences in us, as salt has a disposition to dissolve. On the other hand, if color is more like pain, and found only in subjective experience, what is the nature of color experience? How, for instance, does an experience of red differ from an experience of blue, or from an experience of pain for that matter? Finally, if color is mere illusion, how do we continue to be so taken in by that illusion and how can something unreal seem so real and important to us?"

Visual Perception

As we begin discussing perception in class, I'd thought a post a link to a fun visual perception site. It's full of many optical illusions, many of which you may have seen already, but interesting nonetheless. It's just for fun. Remember, Perception in TOK is much more than just what you see, smell, etc. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I have be constantly enthralled with the concept of solipsism. Solipsism is the knowledge that only the self exists. In concept of only the self existing is not new either. Philosophers such as Plato focused heavily only on the assurance that the self exists. This was shown through Plato's cave theory, which was what we read without the "others". So my question is, is there a concrete justification for the knowledge that we seemingly posses that we exist with others? Are we, as I, alone and just watching and waiting?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Language without verbs

Is it possible? can anyone find an example or try to find a way themselves? I know mrs king used it as an example in TOK and someone called her on it, but is it possible?

Propoganda, is it really that bad?

I was listening to an IB conversation today, where several students were jokingly mocking freedom, democracy, and free thought; sarcastically in favor of totalitarianism, and propaganda. That got me thinking, is propaganda really all that bad? Propaganda is output by our society to "brainwash" us into following the rules of that society. Every society does it, even Sweden and Canada, though they do it much less than almost everyone else. Too much propaganda is obviously a bad thing, but is it all a bad thing? I mean, can a society function if people are not somehow trained to fit within its rules?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Is it possible to have ESP?

Hey I was wondering about things, as one often does. Well not normally but today was an odd day, so i was wondering, can knowledge come in other ways than observed? Can intuition be a 50% accurate source of knowledge or is it completely nonexistant?

Is it possible to know or think about something before it happens, and not really believe anything yet about what is to come, but still have ideas in your head about the outcomes that you think are most possible, and then what if it happens? Do you have ESP or is this knowledge just out of your intuition? Is it knowledge? what is it?!

For instance... Before today, i was thinking about the musical auditions, which, I tried out. I was thinking, negatively, that i wouldn't make it in, even though some people told me i did great. But, as it turned out, i didn't make it into the musical.

Thus we have the question: Can preconceived thoughts about an outcome influence an outcome, if indirectly?

"I don't know much." -Socrates

Agree or disagree?:
"The only thing that I know is that I know nothing." -Socrates

Will you openly admit that the only piece of knowledge that we can hold that is an absolute truth is that we don't know much? Or we don't really know anything to begin with.
But then perhaps we get more? Or not?

Side note: (Ignore this side note unless you're looking for a good bit of entertainment at my expense).
Did my question make sense? sorry i'm tired and my right eye was pushed into my head by like a foot or so when my dad tried to touch my forehead and give me acne when he was being evil but missed and hit my eye instead. owch. (I was exaggerating a bit about my eye being pushed in by a foot in distance...because that would mean my eye came out the back of my head a while back). (hahaha lol). (ok i'll be quiet now).

Do humans possess truth? How much? How do we know? Are these good enough questions dangit?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Canada has a battleship?!

I thought everyone might find this interesting. Most Americans (especially most people in highschool) have never once heard of Canada being in the news, or perhaps they just don't care, because, for crying out loud, its Canada! And what is even more interesting is that Canada has a battleship! I have two links for this... a satirical one and an actual news source.

Really you may be wondering "what is her point?!" Or maybe you just didn't know that Canada DOES go to war? well my point is to question our understanding of modern countries around us. We need to ask ourselves, 'am i really paying enough attention to the news? am i an educated being?'
And really more in depth, if you dont feel like reading the article or are for some reason unable to, why do we have so much fun joking about Canada, eh? How come we don't know anything about the countries that are directly above and below us, more specifically, how can we joke about it if we know almost zip about it? its as if we dont take an interest. Because nothing's interesting!

Links to learn about Canada:
The second link is for entertainment and to get you interested in the issue. i highly recommend reading the second link, its my favorite.

Another intriguing question to ask ourselves is 'what are satirists up to these days, and how are our actions affecting what they choose to satirize?'

Hope this gets you into satire! If not, I hope that it makes you think about Canada so that it doesnt disappear from the face of the Earth.

Meredith Salimbeni

Simulated Reality

I found this while on my daily trawl through my favorite website, It brings up some really interesting points, that I think are very suitable to our TOK class.
So I ask of you a few things.
First. Read the page, it isn't very long and it will help.
Second. Answer wheather or not you think we are in a simulated reality.
Thirdly. Should we ever try to create a simulated reality.
Fourth, and perhaps most interesting and applicable. What would happen if you grew up in a simulated reality and were taken out of it?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Can you think?

big e brought up a good point, and i want to open a new discussion to it otside of the 5 senses post.
The question is: Can you think without language?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Santa Clause

Today in class (by class, I mean Mr. Malone's 5th period) we were speaking of the existence of Santa Clause. We all unanimously agreed that this "Santa Clause" does not exist, however I would like to pose that question.

Does Santa Clause exist? How do you know?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Girl Imprisoned for 8 Years in Underground cell

We were talking about this in class today, this is the story of the girl who was kidnapped and imprisoned for 8 years in an underground cell. I find it kind of cool since we are right now reading the story about the prisoners in the cave. Maybe this would be an idea to how they would react. What does everyone think? What are your reactions?

Here's the Link.

Try out a ToK prompt!

Greetings, ToKers -
Now that you've learned some of the vocabulary and have engaged in some excellent discussions about relevant issues, I'd like to challenge you to tackle the following ToK prompt from a former prescribed title list.

As you think about responding, consider: What is the question really asking? Are there more than one way to answer it (think claims and counter-claims)? What real-life examples can you use to illustrate your claims and counter-claims?

Shoot for a paragraph or two. After you're done, you might want to give a quick reflection on how this went for you. Was it easy? Difficult?

If you don't want to try it yourself, you might want to read some of your fellow students' responses and give them some feedback.

Question: What is the difference between 'it is certain' and 'I am certain,' and is passionate conviction ever enough to say you really know anything?

Have fun! Mrs. King

Monday, September 04, 2006

Pile of chocolate ice cream

I feel like ranting (if you couldn't tell), so I'm going to post something! And this time it'll be wrothwhile!

So, lets to say that I really want to be a pile of chocolate ice cream. I tell myself that I am a pile of chocolate ice cream day after day, until soon I believe it, and I see myself as a pile of chocolate ice cream. Thus, am I actually a pile of chocolate ice cream? Or, because no one else will see me as a pile of chocolate ice cream, am I not a pile of chocolate ice cream? Is this worthwhile to talk about when thousands of people are dying in Iraq? Please to answer.

Pink Text!

The Genius of a Child

To play off of Sara's post about "Baby Geniuses", I thought I'd present to you... Marla Olmstead, a six-year old who sold her first painting for $250 when she was 2 years old and is now considered an artistic prodigy. Check out her work by following the link above. She has been featured by...

LA Weekly
The New York Times
60 minutes
The Today Show
BBC News
and many, many others...

Just thought it might add to your discussion as to what defines genius and the subjective nature of artistic "knowledge". What do you think?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Baby Geniuses

The other day I happened to mosey into a gallery and saw a work of art that consisted of a cut-out of a moose stapled to a piece of canvas going for about $6,500. I do not pretend to be a connoisseur of art but I couldn't help but think that a kindergartner could produce something equally impressive, if not more so. It led me through a series of random questions. Do average children have just as much genius as adults? Who defines genius? What is it? Is it naturally bestowed on an individual or can one work for it?

Knowledge, Understanding, and Jazz

Last night my parents and I were having a dinner discussion that has become common at my house. That is, a conversation during which I try to explain Jazz to them and they continue to not understand it. For instance we were listening to "Blues and the Abstract Truth" by Oliver Nelson, an album that is catchy, melodic, and all around accessible. Then ITunes went on to "The shape of Jazz to Come" by Ornette Coleman, an album which is squawkish, atonal, and all around much less accessible (but still not truly "avant garde"). As I went to change the music to something more enjoyable my father made the remark: "That would fall more under the category of "unorganized jazz"".
I said: "Oh, it's organized".
Quoth my father (slightly sarcasticaly) "You mean to say that there are things in jazz that are more complex and sophisticated than I might think?"
"Well, yes" I had to say
Then my mother said "But if we don't understand it then how can we believe you?"

Thus, my question:
Can you really believe, and thus know, something if you don't understand it?

For instance: If your best friend came up to you and said "Pablo ate an entire swinger" And you had no idea who Pablo was or what a swinger was, could you really believe or know that "Pablo ate an enitre swinger".

Knowledge, Understanding, and Jazz Corollary.

This question goes along to the story told in "Knowledge, Understanding, and Jazz"
How do we know art to be good?
And if you answer simply "Art is Subjective" Then answer this:
Why is the claim "I know Coletrane is a good musician" really that different from "I know Penicilin is a good antibacteriant" or even "I know the sky is blue".

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

My sister showed me an article that she was using in her AP history class, and it really reminded me of some questions that were brought up during the Plato discussion - is enlightenment / the gain of new knowledge always appropriate and/or good for society? Are there times when a new knowledge is not beneficial and it is better to exist without this knowledge ? (I can’t remember the exact wording of these questions). Basically, the author of this article argues that there was an instance in history where the embracement of a new knowledge/technique was detrimental to society. What do you think?

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

The article is a bit lengthy but you don't have to read the entire thing to get the basic point of it


Are Eugenics ever justified?
Would the world be a better place if our mates were chosen for us?
"Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution" ~Slogan for the Second Internation Congress of Eugenics

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Teaching and Knowledge

Suppose for a moment that the goal of teaching is to imbue your students with knowledge.

Teacher: one who gives knowledge to his or her students.

So would you be a failed teacher if.
a) What you say is not true.
b) Your student is not convinced.
c) You don't believe it (but its in the curriculum).

I know the above statements are vague. It is to stimulate conversation on the words used in this post itself.
Also, mention any other circumstances that might define a failed teacher.

Humanoid Robots!

So, first of all, this post is based on this article in PopSci.
What are the social implications of humanoid robots.
And please don't limit your comments to this question, but expand above and beyond!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Stem cell research as an ethical issue

Ok guys, I know this is a bit random, but as I was taking a break from writing the Extended Essay, I came across a really interesting article about new developments in stem cell research, and thought it might be worth y'all's perusal. So the big question is, at least in my mind- could we have ethically justified the destruction of embryos, is this an acceptable solution, and what possible ramifications do you think this might have for the future? How do we know if something is morally right or not? Where does that line fall? Not just with stem cell research, but take this farther- how do we define morality, and can we even define it? Something to think about... (

5 senses response

Never used a blog before, so we'll see how this goes...(It's Sara, btw).

No senses, eh? I believe that internal comprehension is completely separate from the physical being, meaning if all senses were eliminated, we would still be perfectly capable of absorbing experience and synthesizing the information we gain through that. Anything we are able to internally comprehend (intuitively, logically, emotionally, etc.), we could technically know. For example, human beings can instinctively sense hostility in one another or that they're being followed. Without being able to physically grasp that, we still know that information if we trust our gut enough. Our discoveries might not be as profound with this limited way of experiencing, but it's still quite possible to produce some sort of knowledge based on external observation while lacking sensory awareness.

Monday, August 28, 2006

How do you know?

First question for you all...

If you had...
no sense of smell...
no sense of sight...
no sense of taste...
no sense of touch...
and no sense of hearing...

...what knowledge about the world could you have?

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Welcome to the PHS TOK Blog.

This is intended to be a forum for all students and teachers to discuss any and all ideas and thoughts that apply to Theory of Knowledge. Our hope is that this allows discussions to leave the classroom, maybe even spread to other schools, and eventually spread to other countries. This is the beginning...

So share, discuss, challenge one another. Help each other become greater thinkers and push your own understanding of what knowledge really is.