TOK Practice Essays
After having completed a “short practice TOK essay”, I found it very helpful to have a checked attempt at this very different style of writing compared to what we do in other classes like english.
Having chosen the topic:
“The knowledge that we value most is the knowledge for which we can provide the strongest justifications.” To what extent would you agree with this claim?
I found that it was a hard topic to find information and other views on. I could easily write much on my own opinion of that topic, but that’s not how a TOK essay works, so I found that although it was an interesting topic, because there being such a small selection of topics, and also a much shorter word limit than the actual essay, it was harder to write.
However it was a very helpful experience to try it.
TOK Practice Essay Topic Three
Subject: Human Science
Watching the presentation by Mr. Howe on human sciences, we were introduced to many different concepts. Mr. Howe who used to teach psychology, showed us much about the study of human behavior.
One main theory introduced to us, was the “Gender Schema Theory”. With this, it shows the idea that everyday, our idea of each gender, our “template”, changes due to things we pick up and learn about each other. However the thing with human science is that one can only make very general theories, because every human is different, and with that, even very vague theories can be disproven.
The large difference between human and natural science, is the idea of defined answers. With humans, each being is different. We act different, and we think differently as well (I hope). So unlike in natural sciences, where the “truth is out there”, humans cannot really be generalized with theories, because there will always be those handful of anomalies.
We are all different.
Subject: Natural Science
The area of natural science as a area of knowledge in TOK was presented by Mr. Mejia. Looking at very different parts of natural science, we questioned many points which don’t seem very obvious at first, but seem to have much to it.
Introduction science, we discussed “Is science universal?”. This point is very interesting, for it brings up the question of “Is science a product of the west?”. A possible TOK essay topic?
The main part though with natural science, is the idea which links to math. The point that scientists work with theories. Scientists do not prove theories. They create myths, and then try to show them wrong. A great quote on that is:
“Scientist test theories, but not to falsify them but to put them on trial.” – Arnel Næss
Also considered when looking at science, is the idea of theory testability. That is where there are certain “rules” which are: A theory should
- be able to explain
- be able to generalize
- be able to predict
- be tested by experiment
The fundaments of science are then said to be:
- critical rationalism
Together, these are what scientists work with. Reality, through perception leads to interpretation, but must be tested to return to reality.
The truth is out there.
Looking at math, as one of the areas of knowledge in TOK, my grade was presented this topic by our math head, Mr. Brown. Discussion between theories and theorems where one of the topics but also other questions on mathematics.
One thing I learned was the idea that “In mathematics, there are theorems, not theories.” According to dictionary definitions:
A proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
A theoretical proposition, statement, or formula embodying something to be proved from other propositions or formulas.
Seeing this, I realized that it is true. We use theories in science more, and in math we only use theorems.
Also looking at questions on math, areas that can be explored using TOK are topics like:
- How should mathematics use IT?
- Mathematics has beauty! Can you see it?
These seem like very interesting topics, especially the second which can make great issues for TOK presentations or essays.
The subject of art as one of the areas of knowledge was presented to my class by one of our school’s art, Mr. Mc Crory. With this presentation, we discussed the meaning of art, and it’s links to other areas like with math.
When looking at the heated debate of “What is art”, things we came up with were:
- Expressing oneself creatively in a way which is aesthetically pleasing to others
- Displaying emotion and thoughts through senses using a variety of medium
- Self expression
- The idea of no “rights” or “wrongs”
- Simple belief of “Everything can be art”
- Creative outlet that conveys emotion or messages through any median
Reflecting on the different ideas discussed, I believe that art is a mix of all. Art is subjective to the person being asked, hence my view may differ greatly from others. I find that it is self expression in a way that pleases oneself and possibly others. Important to remember is that art includes both visual but also things like music, and when looking at music, it is said: “A good song is one that relates to the singer. A great song is one that relates to everyone.”
Also when linking art with other subjects, the idea that art and math relate is usually not the first thought that slips into people’s minds. Although many people believe that math and art don’t have anything to do with each other, it is noticed that math can be seen a lot in art. Famously known, the “Golden Ratio” is said to be seen in different works of art and in nature as well.
Thoughts on TOK presentations
Watching many TOK presentations, it is always great to see and learn new things, as well as find new views on topics shared by my classmates.
After seeing various ones and presenting my own, I found that my topic: “To what extent has capitalism destroyed ethics in the medical industry?” was a very interesting and a pressing current event, however I believe that I could have gone further with it, looking at more examples and real life situations. I also found that one thing I seemed to be missing were actual linking questions, which would have helped me further develop my presentation.
Also looking at presentations by my peers, I found the one on Facebook very interesting. Looking at the effects of social networks on us showed things which we all know are true, but probably don’t realize especially when using these networks.
The chance to also see these presentations really help get our minds thinking in “TOK mode” and allow us too see more than our own opinions.
You’re Being Tortured in the Morning
Taking the test on the following website:
I find that the result is very interesting, however I don’t agree with it completely. It touches on the fact of Identity Confusion Syndrome, but i don’t fully agree with it. I understood that if my mind and thought changed to a new body, I would be the new person and that I have only lost my physical body.
Considering emotions in our lives, I believe that it is possible to feel something which is difficult to describe in language. Sometimes language is not broad enough to explain everything in life, especially exact feelings of individuals.
Due to this, emotions such as love and grief have been shaped by language, because we understand and label certain emotions after words which describe them. Only with words available to we feel then these emotions, although there might be much more to them, causing them to be interpreted differently.
Emotions are also questioned weather they can be controlled or if they are inevitable. I believe that emotions are all controllable depending on one’s self control, and that if emotions “slip through” it is because the emotion is so powerful. For example the GSG9 of Germany (Bundesgrenzschutz), also known as the Special Forces, have to try and overcome their emotions and attachment to each other in order to come to the right decision in hard times. They must take care and attach themselves to a chicken and raise it like their child, just to kill it in the end, testing and controlling their emotions.
I believe and know that emotions are very powerful in our lives and that language has a strong effect on them, but I also find that emotions can be controlled or contained with enough self control and will power.
Zeitgeist Film – Personal Response
The film, Zeitgeist which looks at the different aspects of truth and possibilities, I believe that although it all seems very plausible and persuasive especially when analyzing the event of 9/11, it is manipulated and changed to make the audience believe certain things.
Both in the part for religion or 9/11, the editing is very wisely done showing only parts and cutting speeches to make it look like the speakers are saying something, which in the end, they might not at all.
It is a very entertaining and intriguing film, however I question it’s reliability and sources and do not believe all of what it shows.
To What Extent Is Visual Art A Language ?
December 9, 2010, 11:35
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A presentation on how far visual art can be considered a language, considering the definitions of Language, Communication and Art.