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".