Writing your TOK essay

Do not instantly seize upon a title that sounds appealing and plunge into it headlong. Instead, read carefully all titles (that is, all topics or questions) on the list. Which one allows you to demonstrate best your understanding of ToK issues and your own critical skills? Remember that you may not change the title to something else that you wish you had been asked, but must respond to what the IB has given.
WHAT ARE THE KEY WORDS OF CONCEPTS? Are there key words of the Theory of Knowledge course – words such as “belief,” “knowledge,” “truth,” or “justification”? Are you clear about what they mean? Are you aware of ambiguities in meaning, or of possible alternative meanings? Think back on class discussions and check class notes. How are the key concepts related to each other? Put the title into your own words for yourself to make sure you understand what is being asked -- but make sure that you don't change the meaning.
Instructions to candidates
Your Theory of Knowledge essay must be written on one of the ten titles (questions) provided below. You can choose any title, but are recommended to consult with your teacher. Your essay will be marked for proficiency in the six domains which are described in the assessment criteria published in the Theory of Knowledge guide. Remember to centre your essay on problems of knowledge and, where appropriate, refer to other parts of your IBO programme and to your experiences as a knower. Always justify your statements and provide relevant examples to illustrate your arguments. Pay attention to the implications of your arguments, and remember to consider what can be said against them. If you use external sources, cite them according to a recognized convention.
The statements in quotations in these titles are not necessarily authentic: they present a real point of view but may not have been spoken or written by an actual person. It is appropriate to analyse them but it is unnecessary, even unwise, to spend time on researching a context for them. Your essay must be between 1200 and 1600 words in length.

1. “In gaining knowledge, each area of knowledge uses a network of ways of knowing.” Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.
2. “Knowledge within a discipline develops according to the principles of natural selection.” How useful is this metaphor?
3. “The knower’s perspective is essential in the pursuit of knowledge.” To what extent do you agree?
4. “Without application in the world, the value of knowledge is greatly diminished.” Consider this
claim with respect to two areas of knowledge.
5. To what extent do the concepts that we use shape the conclusions that we reach?
6. “In knowledge there is always a trade-off between accuracy and simplicity.” Evaluate this statement in relation to two areas of knowledge.

Theory of Knowledge (ToK)  May 2014 examinations

 “When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails” (Abraham Maslow). How might this apply to ways of knowing, as tools, in the pursuit of knowledge?


We acquire new knowledge everyday, whether we are aware of it or not, but how do we know whether we are getting that knowledge in its entirety, or whether it is limited through the ways of knowing. The question that comes to mind when reading this prescribed title is ‘in what ways do the ways of knowing limit our understanding in the pursuit of knowledge?’ Maslow’s quote suggests that in TOK, we can look at the ways of knowing as a hammer and then everything else falls into place. However, this is not the case in my opinion. Lets take the example of emotion as a way of knowing and think of it like the hammer in Maslow’s quote. What Maslow is saying is that any problem that arises in an everyday situation can be solved by looking at it through the use of your emotions. But what about reason? More often than not, reason runs parallel with your emotions and you cant only use your emotions because your emotions are a results of your reason, or vice versa that your reason is a result of your emotion. This leads to the idea that taking Maslow’s quote into consideration, reason then becomes a screwdriver and isn’t able to help you solve the problem which is symbolised by a nail. Here we see the dilemma that is presented in the quote: why is it necessary to only use on way of knowing in the pursuit of knowledge when two ‘tools’ are used to come up with the solution? Effectively, the idea is that the ways of knowing are somewhat limiting us in the pursuit of knowledge in terms of the amount and type of that we can gain. 

Another example could be when I am in German class. As an intermediate German speaker I would consider the dictionary to be the hammer in Maslow’s quote. The dictionary helps me to translate words that I do not understand and the words then become the nails effectively. However the dictionary can also limit my knowledge when there is a word that does not directly translate into English and there simply isn’t and English word for the German word. This situation language is the way of knowing and if I am unable to understand what the German word means, then I am technically limited by what I am able to learn and gain from the German word as well as the sentence and the context that the word is used. 

With the idea that using only certain ways of knowing in the pursuit of knowledge in mind, we can consider the newly added ways of knowing into the new curriculum in TOK. It is clear that the IB has seen a gap in the TOK ways of knowing and have identified that they have possibly limited the knowledge that students studying the present curriculum could obtain. By adding faith, memory, imagination and intuition, there are whole new ways of pursuing knowledge. A popular discussion topic amongst people who are studying the current TOK curriculum is the idea of faith being a way of knowing. Take the idea of creationism in the sciences. Before faith was added, in science people would likely have had to accept that evolution was the only way that the Earth has come to be what it is today and students were expected to accept that idea but their knowledge was limited and this is a limitation that arises from faith not being a way of knowing. Some people may have already known about creationism but now that faith has been introduced as a way of knowing, they are able to obtain knowledge from a different ‘source’ and explore concepts and ideas from more than one perspective. Personally I believe that this addition to the ways of knowing is very beneficial in perusing knowledge. However saying this, I can see where they may be issues when teaching the theories of evolution in sciences and this could cause contradicting arguments in discussions. 

In conclusion, it is impossible to pursue knowledge with using only one way of knowing, because several ways of knowing work along side each other in order to allow you to see things from different perspectives and solve issues with the use of many different tools because they each help in their individual way. Knowledge is not only the form of a nail and so you need more than just a hammer to understand several aspects of an idea and to fully explore knowledge.  


To approach this question adequately, one needs to determine what a problem is, as well as what Maslow considered as the ‘hammer’ in this statement, which clearly is a metaphor. If ways of knowing are considered the tools, then the knower or one should say the knower’s body is the hammer. The ‘problems’ in the following essay, will be seen as the conflicts faced in the pursuit of knowledge consisting of the use of these tools. However, a problem could also be seen as the interference between the tools, such as how can the way of knowing of emotion cause a problem to the pursuit of knowledge using reasoning or the other way around. For example a situation in which a person is forced to take a decision due to his/her cultural background: according to his/her reasoning, this seems like a reasonable option, but then a certain ethical responsibility releases emotion, overruling this persons reasoning. 

On first sight, this quote seems like a very broad statement, however Maslow limits our view of the pursuit of knowledge, by limiting us to the possession of one single tool. With this statement, in which Maslow states a certain problem as well as its solution, the knower is forced to pose himself a certain question: what is the identification of a problem? – Do we identify a problem without being in possession of the necessary tool or is there a phenomenon that guides us to find the required tool? With such a limited spectrum of tools, do we really have such a reduced perspective, seeing a limited spectrum of problems? A great example one can use here is the “Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax” – the much debated idea that Eskimos possess hundreds of words to describe snow: due to the fact that they are limited in what they do not know (only a hammer) they develop a very narrow vocabulary (attacking only nails). This can also lead us to the famous “Chicken or the egg dilemma”: in this context leading us to – do we firstly identify the problems or the solutions/tools? The hammer first appears like a great powerful ‘tool’ to ‘solve’ any ‘problem’, but looking at this metaphor literally: not every nail fits into every material; meaning the hammer as a tool cannot solve every problem. So theoretically, the more tools we possess, besides the hammer, the more problems but also the more solutions we have. But do we only identify these problems when being in possession of these tools? Or do these problems lead us to the search after them? 

To build a connection with the ways of knowing being tools, being fully aware of the possession of all the ways of knowing, should lead us to the perception of all problems we can perceive with these. But how would blindness or the lack of taste then influence our sense perception? Would we identify and face problems that we could see or taste? How does our reasoning influence our other ways of knowing? It might depend on the knower, whether reasoning or emotion is the stronger ‘tool’.


“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” In his book The Psychology of Science: A Reconnaissance (1966), Abraham H. Maslow uses this metaphor to describe how people tend to view the world through the confined lens of the familiar - our familiar bias. If someone of a scientific profession is faced with a problem, they will most likely approach the challenge from a scientific stand point, attempting to apply scientific procedures to solve the task. An individual with experiences in the humanities will approach the same problem in a completely different way to arrive at some form of solution. It is the idea of utilizing the skills and experiences that we have and are familiar with, no matter if they are appropriate for the problem encountered or not. As a psychologist, Maslow found himself unsatisfied with scientific methods that reduced our minds to something quantifiable, for he believed the procedures of the natural sciences were not sufficient in tackling the problems encountered in trying to understand human consciousness - a more holistic approach was necessary. 

So when treating Maslow’s hammer (or Maslow’s law of the instrument) as a concept for acquiring new knowledge, several questions arise. When ways of knowing act as the different tools available to us, can the amount and quality of knowledge seized be limited, if these ways of knowing are viewed narrowly and applied persistently to all questions or problems? Are the four ways of knowing in our TOK course the only means of acquiring knowledge? 

One philosophical theory, supporting the concept portrayed in Maslow’s hammer is that of pragmatism; a practical, logical way of approaching situations and specific problems. If a child learns how to tie their shoelaces by watching an adult do it, they are acquiring knowledge through sense perception to then mirror the method of the adult. Now, although there may be quicker ways to tie shoelaces, in the child’s eyes, by pragmatic reasoning, why should they learn a new way if the primary method works and has not failed them? Thus, using reason as a way of knowing, we apply solutions to problems that may not be the most appropriate, but work to a sufficient extent. As a result of our confirmation bias, we use a hammer, even though the problem might not be a nail. Similarly, when studying for a history text, a student may sit down to learn lists of dates off by heart. He could be able to recite almost any significant date of the post-war Weimar Republic and gain reasonable marks in an exam, however is this really the appropriate approach to understanding history? Using sense perception by reading time lines, the student acquires enough knowledge to pass the exam, however the homogenous utilization of this way of knowing, limits the amount as well as quality of his knowledge. Had he used emotion, for example, in the process of studying, by considering the art of Dix or Grosz and Weimar culture to contextualize these dates, the quality of his knowledge may have been improved. However instead, he only used one way of knowing to hammer his problem.

 In his own theories on self-actualization, Maslow suggests that we must set ourselves goals and complete these in order to have self-esteem, confidence and the sense of achievement. Hence, it is important to recognize that not necessarily all problems are bad things, but in fact, facing such can be beneficial, as they challenge us to drop our hammer and search for a new tool. Within the IB diploma all students must write a 4000 word extended essay, a task that seems overwhelming and intimidating at first. Although I would tend to disagree at the moment, if I look at the given task from a decontextualized view point, I can recognize that this task has value as we are pushed to use a variety of ways of knowing in order to work towards a suitable solution - to find an appropriate combination of tools, rather than to perceive the problem as a nail.   

So, one can not say that Maslow’s idea on how people solve problems is abidingly true. Four new ways of knowing being added to the curriculum of the ToK course, is a prime example where the solutions were altered to fit the problem and not the problem was sculpted to match the solution. To continue Maslow’s metaphor, the problem was not perceived as a nail, but the selection of tools was improved instead. Now through the addition of WoKs such as imagination or faith, the lens through which we, the IB knowers, see and understand the world around us, has been widened. 

In conclusion, Maslow’s law of the instrument is very applicable when speaking of ways of knowing as tools in the pursuit of knowledge, as it describes a scenario where amount and quality of knowledge is limited due to bias of the knower. However it is important to recognize it is not valid for all situations where the individual is faced with a problem, as in fact the contrary can result from such a challenge, as the individual alters their approach in order to appropriate it to the problem encountered.


The statement “when the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails” by Maslow is applicable to all ways of knowing as they are all important in the pursuit of knowledge. This essay however, will primarily focus on reason, emotion and sense perception. The main knowledge issue implied by the question is, to what extent is our knowledge-making brain flexible and adaptable to real life situations. 

When looking at Maslow’s statement one can apply reasoning as the tool; in this case one would approach all problems using reason, and only reason. This is for example the case with ethics; people often find themselves bumping their heads against moral dilemmas such as the sinking of the William Brown, and struggle to resolve it. The William Brown was an American passenger ship that, in 1841, hit an iceberg taking 31 passengers with her and leaving another 37 in a lifeboat intended for 7. As a storm threatened it became obvious that the lifeboat had to be lightened to allow anyone to survive – the first mate reasoned that the logical thing to do was to force some individuals to leave the boat. He reasoned that such an action was not unjust, as the people thrown overboard would drown anyway, if he however, would do nothing he would be responsible for the death of all passenger. He reasoned, that since the only possibility for rescue required great efforts of rowing, the weakest would have to be sacrificed and it would thus be absurd to draw lots. As it turned out, after days of hard rowing, the survivors were rescued and the first mate was tried for his actions. When resolving an issue such as the above, we turn to various ethical theories to help us: utilitarianism and deontology for example. These different principals let us argue rationally and from a theoretical perspective they make sense; utilitarianism reasoning that the first mate’s action was reasonable as it was in favor of the greater good – while 12 people went over board and died, the remaining 25 survived while deontology reasons that a person is bound to their obligations and thus, an action is never ethical no matter what the outcome when moral rules (such as doing no harm) are not followed. However, the question posed is whether we would go through a similarly rational thought process if we were in the middle of such a moral dilemma. In most cases, one would not be think in such a rational and reasonable manner, as a survival instinct would activate or as one would not want to see people they care about die. As a result, while in theory many may argue in favor of the first mate’s decision as it did in fact save a greater number of people, our own emotions would overwrite reasoning were we to be in a similar situation thus showing the adaptability of our knowledge-making brain. Nevertheless, this is also a flaw as ones emotional reactions can often cloud rational thinking and reasoning, particularly in the area of ethics and moral dilemmas. This is due to the evolutionary reason of the “fight of flight” instinct, which not only saves time but also has the potential to save lives in a life or death situation where survival is the only consideration. 

Furthermore Maslow’s quote is almost a perfect summary of the opening lines of A.A. Mile’s Winnie-the-Pooh: “here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn't.” As shown through the example of Pooh, the solution to a problem is at times right in front of us we however, cannot see it. The misplacement of ones phone is another perfect example for Pooh’s problem; while the example assumes that part of the problem of knowledge may include misperception of lack of memory, these very ways of knowing can also help resolve the situation. Applying reason and sense perception as tools to resolve problems relies on a good understanding of ones surrounding and a rational mind, which allows for a logical thinking process in order to come to a solid and legitimate conclusion. This can for example, also be seen in mathematics as an area of knowledge, where one method is applied to a variety of different problems in order to obtain results. In some cases this method of working works very well, particular in fields where one true answer does exist. However, a single-minded attitude as conveyed through areas such as math which heavily rely on sense perception and reasoning in order to obtain a ‘correct’ answer, can become hindering and limiting in other fields. Sense perception and the conclusive reasoning, which may indicate a specific pattern in maths may be misleading in the natural sciences, physics and chemistry in particular, where reactions and other processes are not visible to the naked eye. As a result, the sole relying on these ways of knowing in the pursuit of knowledge may result in impossible results and a lack of understanding and knowledge. Sense perception and reasoning can however, also contribute to ones flexibility in the pursuit of knowledge in the natural sciences as they enable scientists and inventors to address faults in their experiments, which are designed to prove specific hypotheses, built on prior knowledge. 

As explored in this essay, Maslow’s quote: “when the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails” is applicable to the ways of knowing and their importance in ones pursuit of knowledge. They can be very helpful in our development and gaining of new knowledge as they can cause our brain to become adaptable and thus react differently in specific real life situations. However, they can also result in a very single-minded attitude, which limits ones pursuit of knowledge when only applies specific ways of knowing while neglecting the impact other way of knowing may have on the situation.

Titles for the TOK essay, May 2006
1 There are many different authorities, including academics, politicians, global organizations and companies, who make knowledge claims. As an experienced TOK student, what criteria do you use to distinguish between knowledge, opinion and propaganda?
2 “Tell me how you’re conducting your search and I’ll tell you what you’re looking for.” To what extent do the methods used in different Areas of Knowledge determine the scope of the research and the conclusions you can reach?
3 Statistics can be very helpful in providing a powerful interpretation of reality but also can be used to distort our understanding. Discuss some of the ways in which statistics can be used or misused in different Areas of Knowledge to assist and mislead us, and how we can determine whether to accept the statistical evidence that is presented to us.
4 To what extent do personal attributes affect Ways of Knowing and why, if at all, does answering this question matter in the first place?
5 Do questions like “Why should I be moral?” or “Why shouldn’t I be selfish?” have definitive answers as do some questions in other Areas of Knowledge? Does having a definitive answer make a question more or less important?
6 If education means learning to see through the clichés of one’s time, how does learning in the different Areas of Knowledge and in TOK contribute to this education?
7 Some people say that religious beliefs can be neither justified nor refuted by reason. However, while sometimes this claim is used as a reason for rejecting religious beliefs, at other times it is used to conclude that these beliefs are established by faith. To what extent is faith a legitimate basis for knowledge claims, in religion and different Areas of Knowledge?
8 Arthur Eddington noted that an ordinary view of the world, one “which spontaneously appears around me when I open my eyes” is “a strange compound of external nature, mental imagery and inherited prejudice” (Sir Arthur Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World, 1928). How accurate a description is this of everyday experience?
9 Compare and contrast knowing a friend to knowing how to swim, knowing a scientific theory and knowing a historical period. What conclusions about the nature of knowledge can you reach?
10 Sometimes we hear reasoned arguments that oppose a view to which we are emotionally committed; sometimes we hear a passionate plea for a view we have good reason to reject. Bearing this in mind, discuss the importance of reason and emotion in distinguishing between belief and knowledge?
Vade Mecum 2005 Diploma requirements, Theory of Knowledge Page E13

(a) Read the instructions. What exactly are you being told to do?
WHAT ARE THE KEY WORDS OF INSTRUCTION? If you are told to “assess” or “evaluate” a claim, then you are supposed to consider the arguments both for and against it, taking into account any ambiguities in interpreting it. Possible responses, for example: • that the claim is justified in these ways or up to this point, but not justified in those ways or beyond that point. • that whether or not the claim is justified depends on what is meant by one of its key words of concepts, so that if you understand the key word this way the claim is justified, but if you understand it that way it is not. • that, although some justification can be offered for this point of view, the claim is really an oversimplification of an issue which needs to be understood with awareness of the following complexities. If you are asked “to what extent” or “in what way” a statement is justified – or whether a given statement is true -- then you are being asked the same thing, but in different words. Notice that the instructions on making and supporting arguments are not unlike those for all other courses where essays are required such as Extended Essays or Ias, especially for history..
(b) Now look at the general instructions which apply to all the topics/titles, regardless of what the key words of instructions within them may be. These instructions tell you exactly what you are expected to do in your essay.
Remember to centre your essay on problems of knowledge and, where appropriate, refer to other parts of your IB programme and to experiences as a knower. Always justify your statements and provide relevant examples to illustrate your arguments, and remember to consider what can be said against them. If you use external sources, cite them according to a recognized convention. Examiners mark essays against the title as set. Respond to the title as given; do not alter it in any way. Your essay must be between 1200 and 1600 words in length.

(c) Now read over the criteria according to which your essay will be marked. Pay attention to the description of the top mark in each category in order to set your goals for an appropriate essay. Note that the first two categories (Knowledge Issues and Quality of Analysis) are emphasized in importance by being given double points. Treating the problems of knowledge in the topic analytically is at the core of your essay.

Think of the essay as a kind of game – perhaps basketball or soccer in which you have to show your skills. Or think of it as a performance of dance or music. The audience will recognize a good game or performance and give you applause – if you do it well. You’re going for gold. So read the marking criteria, and make sure that you understand how to get your gold medal.

A. KNOWLEDGE ISSUE(S) (10 points)

Is/are the problems of knowledge implied by the prescribed title recognized and understood, and prominently maintained throughout the essay?
The phrase “problems of knowledge” refers to possible uncertainties, biases in approach to knowledge or limitations of knowledge, and the methods of verification and justification appropriate to the different areas of knowledge.

for the top mark of 10:
• an excellent recognition and understanding of the problem(s) of knowledge implied by the prescribed title;
• the development of ideas is consistently relevant to the prescribed title in particular, and to ToK in general;
• it is a balanced, purposeful enquiry,
• and reflects the voice of the candidate.


Do the analysis, and the treatment of counter-claims, show critical reflection and insight in addressing the problem(s) of knowledge?

for the top mark of 10:
• an excellent level of critical reflection and insight;
• the discussion is detailed, and arguments are logically valid;
• the main points are cogently justified and evaluate, and there is effective acknowledgement of their implications;
• counter-claims are identified and thoroughly evaluated.


Does the essay reflect an awareness of different Ways of Knowing and different Areas of Knowledge, and of how they may be linked?
The terms “Ways of Knowing” and “Areas of Knowledge” refer to the elements of the ToK diagram. This is not to discourage reference to elements which do not feature on the diagram and which may be equally relevant and appropriate.
The word ”across” here denotes links and comparisons across elements in the same radial section of the diagram. The word “between” here denotes links and comparisons between elements in different radial sections of the diagram.

for the top mark of 5:
• an excellent level of awareness of different Ways of Knowing and different Areas of Knowledge;
• effective links and comparisons are drawn across and between them

Is the essay structured, clear and logically coherent?
If the essay is of fewer than 1200 words or exceeds 1600 words in length, zero will be awarded for this criterion.
This criterion is not intended to assess linguistic skills. Rather, it is intended to assess the extent to which the main ideas are clearly and coherently conveyed in an appropriate structured form.

for the top mark of 5:
• excellently structured, with a concise introduction, and a clear, logically coherent development of the argument leading to an effective conclusion;
• concepts and distinctions are succinctly defined and clarified.

E. EXAMPLES (5 points)

Is the essay well supported by appropriate examples drawn from a variety of sources?

for the top mark of 5:
• excellent (consistently appropriate and effective) examples, drawn from a wide variety of sources, including the candidate’s own experience, to illustrate succinctly the main points of the argument;
• the examples reflect a high degree of cultural diversity


Are the affirmations factually accurate and, if sources were used, were they reliable and correctly cited?
Essays which require facts to support the argument, but omit to use them, will be awarded zero.
for the top mark of 5: an excellent level of factual accuracy, and sources are reliable, and are consistently and correctly cited, according to a recognized convention
Sometimes we hear reasoned arguments that oppose a view to which we are emotionally committed; sometimes we hear a passionate plea for a view we have good reason to reject. Bearing this in mind, discuss the importance of reason and emotion in distinguishing between belief and knowledge?
Belief comes from every emotion of a person in order for him or herself to sense what is right and wrong inside their thoughts. On the other hand, knowledge is based upon reason that people had tried to discover to answer mysteries found in universe. One can argue that they both exist inside our minds and also have some similarities and differentiations. Focusing at emotion and reason will be the best way to distinguish between belief and knowledge.
With the help of emotion, people can sense spiritual things and such that belief is sensed through emotion by believer. As emotion may vary on different person in different situation, there would be infinite belief. Everyone have rights in following their own emotion and create individual statement that can be much more different from any other belief from different person. There often came times when things can not be proven yet. In any situation like this, he or she will just have to believe in what he or she thinks is right. Such as religious provides statements that can not yet be proven by anyone. Taking Christian, one of the most common religious in the world, as a matter of fact state that God exist. Many Christianities proclaim in their society that they had sensed the presence of God. In other cases, “many people say we can not know the truth of spiritual things”1. This will bring to a belief for those who put faith in it. God is to be categorized as spiritual thing for us human being. Thus no one can prove to those who do not believe in God that He really exists. Belief is born because of thoughts that still have got neither proof nor reason to judge its truth ness.
Unlike belief, knowledge is not directly supported by emotion, but people accepted knowledge as what is found in nature. When a statement is being tested and is always true for a prolong time, we can take it to be a knowledge. Reasons that support knowledge are made according to what people can see for themselves. “In most cases, people considered knowledge is a justified true belief”2. However, knowledge will always be incomplete in the eyes of all people because to accept it, we have to rely on our five senses and facts given from people that are influenced by authority. Mathematics, science, humanities, culture are some examples of knowledge. They have been proven by a given society. For example, who would say that chicken lives inside water? No one that have seen and know about chicken would say yes because we knew that it is impossible for chicken to breath inside water. Did we have two world wars in this world? According to the history of the world we did. We have reasons why it is like this and that. The answers can be sought inside the nature itself. Through experiments we can find proofs although it is limited to our perception. One will not be knowledge if only several people sense it. A very obvious example would be the existence of day and night. Everyone who lived on earth knows that the reason for day and night to happen everyday is because the rotation of the earth. With logical reason given, it is then becoming part of knowledge. No matter how hard someone tries to be against the theory, nothing in particular will change unless there are reasons that stand against the statement itself. There is no need for emotion to build up a solid fact that everyone can see. Now it is clear that belief and knowledge can be differentiate judged from their basis according to emotion and reason.
There are times when belief is somehow connected with knowledge. For example, Thomas Alva Edison, who invented light bulb, believed that he can make the night as bright as the day. He stick with his experiment even though he failed so many times that it seems almost impossible. Inventors like him believed “if any subsequent machines disagree with his belief, it is considered to be flawed”3. He then tries again until he finally achieved his goal. This case is an example that from belief, new knowledge was born. Emotion might also be important for the existence of knowledge since there is some relation between belief and knowledge itself.
In some debate like whether euthanasia is legal or illegal. If someone believes that it is legal, it is more likely for him or her to support own claims rather than being against it. Thus the knowledge will turned out differently than from those who claimed that euthanasia is illegal. This is what we experience in our life now and it can be called propaganda. Different opinion that came out of this debate comes from what he or she believes in. The presence of emotion in this case inside knowledge concluded that both knowledge and belief contain emotion and reason. Thus the two divine laws of life are doubtful to have the potential to discriminate between knowledge and belief.
As we could see that belief might be able to turn into knowledge in universe. However, it does not state that knowledge is fully influenced by emotion. There are some connections between them but it is more likely for emotion to be no more than trigger to start a statement. Reasons are the only one that supports knowledge. It is “the question under consideration which is called synthetic for extension of our knowledge beyond the limits of experience”4. Attempts taken for seeking true knowledge has been made many times were understandable. We knew in the first place that there are always reasons to search to answer mysteries in this world thus the basic of knowledge comes from reason.
What of the belief that seems to make division into groups out of debates? Knowledge itself is huge. It develops and is been forgotten as the time passes. If we put it this way, is not it going to be even more chance that the knowledge validity overwhelmed other areas of knowledge and even contradicts each other? Such that in the past, we used to believe that world is an endless horizon divided into east and west, taken the perspective from Europe. Land claimers who were once made up to an agreement that one may conquer the “East” and the other one may conquer the “West”. Ironically, they finally meet again in Sulawesi, Indonesia, when both are trying to colonize Indonesia because of its richness of seasoning. Taken from there, they now found out that their past knowledge was proven wrong and thus new knowledge replaces the old ones, which states that the earth itself has a round shape. Many other things we had claimed in the later on. As knowledge is found, there are also possibilities that the knowledge that can be lost and may eventually transformed back into a belief. Such as culture, symbols in historical monument, sacred knowledge which are buried in the past and discovered once again as a mystery for the future civilization to discover. Through debate, we may have a better conclusion in terms of what we humans all agreed. As for like saying knowledge realizes the existence of belief because many people, if not all, experienced it, but there are always doubts about what people believe and place faith in. Such that it is an opinion to state Christianity to be better off in engaging with God’s teaching than Catholic. These statement are rather bias because it is more to be based upon opinion and belief rather than a fact. If the reason given is not adequate and unacceptable for the society, then it is not yet becoming a part of knowledge. Belief mainly uses emotion as the background of everything and different with knowledge that uses reason as its background.
Although belief and knowledge may have many controversial, they may take place of one another and will always have similarities. It is critical to differentiate between knowledge and belief. The ways things are taken by the society determine whether it is a belief or knowledge, thus it is important to explain and acknowledge argumentations made by the society. There is no doubt that both reason and emotion have been the main fundamentals in distinguishing between knowledge and belief.
1. Kim Siever, Belief and Knowledge
2. Bob Losee, Belief and Knowledge,
3. B.W. Holmes, Belief-Fact and Faith,
4. Immanuel Kant, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason,
Word Count: 1469
Victor N.T.
IB 2

(a) Look back to the title you chose and start to identify the problems of knowledge which it raises. Are you clear in your mind what a “problem of knowledge” is? If not, re-read the explanation: “The phrase ‘problems of knowledge’ refers to possible uncertainties, biases in approach to knowledge or limitations of knowledge, and the methods of verification and justification appropriate to the different areas of knowledge.” Remember that a “problem of knowledge” is not really a problem at all in the everyday sense of the word – not unless you expect knowledge to be simple and certain in which case the problem may not be in the knowledge but in your expectations! Do not treat an area of knowledge as somehow inferior if there are numerous difficulties which it faces in trying to gain knowledge.
Ask yourselves: What are the problems of knowledge that I can see in the title I’ve chosen? What are the issues I should discuss?
(b) Think about how the problems of knowledge raised by your title are relevant to different Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing. Do all cultures see these problems in the same way? What comparisons can you draw, what general conclusions do you reach, and what arguments can be made against those conclusions? What are the implications of your main points? Can you find examples to illustrate your points? Counter- examples? Note down your ideas quickly, without trying yet to structure them. Write until your mind runs dry. It will.
What Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge are relevant? Which ones are the best to discuss here? Think broadly, drawing the comparisons and links between Ways and Areas. Try drawing lines between parts of the ToK Diagram and think of connections that your title suggests. Think about the people who are doing the knowing, and about different cultural views.


The hardest part of the essay is probably getting your scribbled notes of intertangled ideas to a plan for an essay which lays out a sequence of arguments which respond clearly to the title. This would be especially hard if you write like Robert. BUT remember that no one is born already knowing how to write an essay. It takes concentration and practice to learn to swim, to tango . . . or to organize ideas for an essay. Allow yourself only a few minutes to scream “*#@ this. . .!” and then settle down to try.

As you put your ideas into related groups and shuffle them into order, you should identify your THESIS – that is, the central point which you want to make in your essay. Distil it into a single sentence to write at the top of your plan. Make sure that every subsection of your essay develops this core idea in some way, including considering counter-arguments to it. If any ideas you gathered in step 3 are not actually relevant to the title, force yourself to cut them out of your plan no matter how much you like them.

There are many possible ways of structuring ideas in an essay, depending on the topic. For example,

• you might develop three reasons for accepting a particular conclusion, then counter them with four stronger reasons for rejecting it and accepting a different one;

• you might compare two areas of knowledge by developing first what they have in common and then how they differ in the terms of the title;

• you might consider a series of possible approaches to knowing and reflect upon the problems and the strengths inherent in each in turn in the context given by the title.

There is no formula for a perfect plan. The only thing essential is that the sequence of ideas as you move from subsection to subsection in the body of your essay must develop your thesis, which in turn must respond to the set title.
In order to decide on an overall strategy for argument it might be useful to consider the following two major patterns of essay development.

1. Thesis First

In this pattern of development, you place your thesis in your introductory paragraph, usually as its final sentence, so that your central argument hits the reader right at the beginning. Each subsection of the body of the essay then supports and develops the thesis. The conclusion picks up the thesis again, restating it in somewhat different words as an argument which you have firmly established, and ends with a broader reflection or a stylistic flourish.

Note that the thesis will often have the counter-argument built right into it (e.g. “Although X has some justification, Y is more convincing.”). You will usually treat counter arguments at the beginning, in order to lay them aside as you move on to give -- in order of climax with the most persuasive at the end -- the arguments which you think are better justified.

2. Thesis Last

In this pattern of development, you raise a focused question in your introduction, placing it usually as the final sentence of the introductory paragraph. Each subsection of the body of the essay then treats aspects of the question or possible answers to it, usually in order of climax with the most persuasive at the end. The thesis then emerges firmly at the end of the essay as the conclusion of the argument. This pattern simulates the process of thinking and reaching a conclusion. Do not be fooled, though, into thinking that you really can just think and write as you go. This pattern demands just as much advance planning of as the other does.

Different school systems or writers favour one pattern or the other, but either one can be effective. If you are in doubt about which to use or unsure of your writing skills, however, the thesis-first pattern is safer in immediately getting your argument on track and giving a reader confidence in your control of ideas. Examiners tend to be more familiar with it as well, and it may fulfil expectations more effectively.

If you have prepared well it should be straightforward. Keep the following points in mind as you write and revise your draft:

• You should keep your thesis in front of you at all times to keep your mind focused on the central argument you must sustain. Write it on a large piece of paper and tape it to the wall above your desk or above the computer screen. Use it as a screensaver on one of the library’s computers.

• The marking criteria favour a concise introduction, one which establishes your topic and sets out your thesis, but does not go on and on and on at huge length. Know where you want to go and don’t use up hundreds of words just getting started. The introduction should do three things: catch the reader's attention (though this stylistic point is less essential than the next two), establish your topic, and take the stand on your topic with a clear thesis.

• Try to develop ideas in proportion to their importance in your overall plan. Your essay must be between 1200 and 1600 words in length, so control the degree to which you expand on an idea as you go. It’s not easy, but it’s easier than trying to readjust a whole essay at the end.

• You are expected to clarify concepts as you go, defining terms if necessary. BUT don’t pad out your essay with definitions of terms which are not particularly ambiguous. I don’t want to see tonnes of definitions which are not clearly linked your argument and are ignored thereafter. Do not, above all, make the mistake many students did for Martin last year in simply using a dictionary definition to bypass complexities: no teacher or examiner will be impressed if, after a course in which you discuss possible understandings of “truth” or “knowledge,” you “solve” this problem of knowledge by plunking down a citation from the dictionary as if you have thereby settled the matter!

• Select your examples from a wide variety of sources and cultures. Make sure, moreover, that they really do illustrate the points you are making. A reference to the Copernican Revolution and Galileo like a few did in IB2 last year might illustrate a change in beliefs, but it does not demonstrate an understanding of revolutions in thinking within contemporary science. Be warned that everyone goes on about Galileo! Is there no other example you might find in science of the past 400 years?

• Similarly, don’t use Inuit words for snow as your example to illustrate anything about language (as I do occasionally in geo)– unless you speak the language yourself. I read somewhere that almost every IB student in the world uses this example, usually badly. With all the languages spoken in the world, and all the variety of vocabulary, expressions and structures, can’t you come up with something else?

• Don’t throw in decorative quotations -- wise words that someone else has uttered -- thinking that you have thereby provided proof for a point you are making. You haven't. A quotation that is a well-worded summary of an idea can be a pleasant stylistic embellishment, but one person's opinion remains no more than that. If you are going to use fine-sounding quotations at all, make sure that you are aware that they are no more than a stylistic device, to illustrate a point, perhaps, but not to "prove" it. If the author of the quotation is relevant to your argument, or if the content of the quotation is something you are debating, then the quotation becomes more functional and there is more purpose in including it. (When I refer to quotations here, I'm really talking about the kind that simply expresses an idea nicely. I expect you to quote directly from your science textbook or the newspaper if those sources are relevant, and I expect you to footnote appropriately. If in doubt, it is better to footnote too much than too little.)

• You can use “I” in a ToK essay. If you are speaking about your own experiences or beliefs you probably will want to do so.

• Make sure that your conclusion is coherent with the arguments you made. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer to a prescribed title: your essay will be evaluated upon its awareness of problems of knowledge and the quality of your analytical thought. (See the marking criteria.) An effective conclusion must return to the thesis as the central idea which has been explored throughout.

• Polish the essay as you finish writing. Check for mistakes in sentence structure, grammar, word choice and spelling. Errors can interfere with the clarity of your communication.

• Finally, go back over your essay with the general directions and marking criteria in your hand, re-reading them, to make any last improvements. Check your facts. Are your assertions accurate?

1. It makes me feel uncomfortable to refer to the machine that I use every day in Hong Kong as "lift", because that means I can use it only for going up to but not going down from my home on the thirty-fourth floor. I prefer the Chinese translation -- "up-and-down-machine."

2. Maori believe that when Tane-mahuta created living organisms, it was man that was born last, and the first man was actually a woman. Because of this we see that all other living organisms (fish, plants, lions, eagles, slugs, etc.) are the older siblings, making man inferior to them all, including woman. So when Maori speak of these, our older brothers and sisters, we speak in very respectful tones, using forms of the words that imply greatness and prestige, thereby showing our elders the respect that they deserve. Through this we also see that it is impossible for a Maori to be insulted by being called an animal, no matter how vile the animal may seem to anyone else. So the Maori who has been called a dog by someone else considers him/herself complimented.

3. Another ambiguity regarding "truth" is its duality. There can be two or more contrasting views about the phenomenon, and both of them can make sense in some respects and be inappropriate in some respects, so they appear to be simultaenously true and false. In order to establish the truthful picture of reality we can suggest the solution, which seems to be fairly easy at first sight -- to combine contrasting views -- but it can be difficult as these views might contradict each other. As an example, we can examine two contrasting views about the same phenomenon:
"In 1945 the Soviet troops liberated the territories in Eastern Europe from Fascist Germany" and
"In 1945 the Soviet troops invaded the territories in Eastern Europe."
Both of the views find credible justifications in historical evidence (correspondence) and make sense (coherence). My grandfather, who fought against Fascist Germany on the side of the Soviet Union revealed to me that Soviet soldiers were greeted enthusiastically with handshaking, thankful hugs, tears of happiness and flowers. The monuments erected to commemorate the liberators and documentaries support his convictions. But behind the scenes, on the level of political command, Stalin and Churchill were carving up the map of Europe, dividing it into the spheres of influence, determining the fates of whole nations. So, together with liberating the East European states political goals were pursued.

4. Different languages create somewhat different perceptions of reality. For instance, in the philosophy lessons some time ago it was difficult for me to understand the thought of Mary Daly, a contemporary American feminist philosopher, when she protested against the sexist world perception, saying that the reason for it is the Christian image of God as a male. My difficulty was that in my mother tongue Estonian, there is no difference between "she" or "he". The common third person singular pronoun is simply "tema" or the abbreviated version "ta." Neither are nouns divided into feminine, masculine or neutral, as occurs in many Indo-European languages. I, as a native speaker, can say that although it may sound confusing, I have never had troubles with this "gap" and, in fact, am quite proud of this aspect of "sexlessness" in Estonian.
(You could say the same I guess about Chinese…)
The statement “Art is a lie that brings us closer to the truth” is in itself a lie. Art itself is not able to lie to us as it is a work of someone’s imagination. However, the meaning people can get from each piece of art may be in fact a lie. It was Picasso who said this, with his art often being seen as work to reveal the truth. This does not however, mean that his art is a lie. If you take art on its own and just look at it then it is individual and not a lie. It is only when you look at Art in a wider frame and take in the context that it can be perceived as something else.
Frederico García Lorca’s play “The House of Bernarda Alba” is seen to be an allegory of the Spanish Fascist Government that was in place when Lorca wrote his play. The house and family in which the play revolves around has a woman as the head of the household who behaves in a very dictatorial way. The play was in fact banned from being played in Spain for several years because of how people chose to see the play, and although it was labeled a work of fiction, people saw it as bringing to light what was going on in the Spanish Government. However, I disagree in the feeling that the play was a lie, even if the meaning some people found in it did bring us “closer to the truth.” The work was labeled as fiction, which cannot by definition be a lie as no one is claiming it to be the truth. It is simply a figment of someone’s imagination, and if we were all to be labeled liars for our imaginations then the world would descend into chaos. While studying this play in my English class, we looked closely at the “back story” and although some of the situations are similar this does not necessarily mean that they are the same, as many authors write from things familiar to them and of course the Spanish landscape will have been what was familiar to Lorca.
Picasso’s painting “Weeping Woman” is seen as a portrayal of the pain and suffering that woman have to face, while all the while being in Picasso’s typical style of cubism. The fact that the painting is not completely accurate means that it could be perceived as a lie designed to show everyone the truth of what a woman goes through emotionally. Again though there is an issue over whether or not the painting is actually a lie. Picasso’s painting was never specifically described as being the complete truth, while it was modeled on Picasso’s close friend, Dora Maar; neither of them ever claimed this to be an accurate depiction.
The problem with Picasso’s statement is not that it is a paradox, but that a person cannot define what a lie is. For something to be a lie it must, by dictionary definition, be “a false statement intent to deceive,” but which artist, whether they be authors or painters, ever sets out with the intention of lying to their audience. They simply create work based on what they feel, know and imagine. Unless a poet where to claim outright that their work was true, when it is a proven fact that it is not, that poet cannot be accused of being a liar simply for having an imagination.
588 words.
Jones, Jonathan. "Weeping Woman - Picasso." INMINDS Home Page - Boycott Apartheid Israel. 27 Sept. 2003. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. .

Arthur Eddington noted that an ordinary view of the world, one “which spontaneously appears around me when I open my eyes” is “a strange compound of external nature, mental imagery and inherited prejudice” (Sir Arthur Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World, 1928). How accurate a description is this of everyday experience?
I think Arthur Eddington’s notion of an ordinary view of the world is very accurate because when I open my eyes, what I can see is also external nature, mental imagery and inherited prejudice. For example, when it is time to eat something, I initially see the food (external nature), I am going to eat and then I decide whether I am going to eat it or not by using my taste, which is perception. For eating food, I am not sure that if we use mental imagery or not. We probably use it for imagining the taste by smelling the food. Therefore, I think Arthur Eddington’s notion of an ordinary view of the world is very accurate and also what we initially see is external nature, then the next one is mental imagery and the last one is inherited prejudice. However, could it be something else is there?
I do not think there are more than external nature, mental imagery and inherited prejudice. For instance, I saw news such as the Indian earthquake happened on October 8th of 2005, I initially saw the fact that the earthquake actually happened in India and it killed about 2000 on October 8 (the number of people died now are over 70,000). After I knew that 2000 people died on that day, I imagined that there would be more people dying and this is because I knew the earthquake in Indonesia was the same. And my inherited prejudice was that I thought 2,000 people were not enough to die by such a big earthquake and also, I thought that this is a natural disaster, so this kind of terrible thing should happen sometimes. Maybe some people thought in different way. They probably thought it was very terrible and they did not want any more people to die. Thus, there are no more than these three views of seeing the world.
Arthur Eddington’s also mentioned “ a strange compound of external nature, mental imagery and inherited prejudice”. What does he mean by “ a strange compound”? Do these three views are mixed each other? I think they do because each people have different views of the world and their views are the compound of these three views of seeing the world. For instance, if there were two different types of people who one is very gentle and the other is very rough, of course, their views of the world are different from each other. The gentle person considers that people’s misfortune as a very terrible thing and he might help them and the rough person is the opposite. I think their external nature is the same, however, first the external nature goes into their deep mind, and then it will create two different compounds which are totally in different way. However, how is it a strange compound? I think his notion of considering the ordinary view of the world is a strange compound is very interesting and I think so too. I do not know if Arthur Eddington’s reasons of mentioning the ordinary view of the world are a strange compound. However, I think it is because that it seems that external nature, mental imagery and inherited prejudice are not mixed. I think if I see these words directly, you consider them as individual things, but if there were no external nature, then there would be no mental imagery or inherited prejudice. External nature is the flashpoint of the people’s views of the world. For example, as I am learning history as an IB student, I learned that mentioning clear facts are very important things writing historical essay. For history, I think facts are the external nature because it is independent. And if there were no facts, we cannot write our historical essays. Thus they have connections to each other. Therefore, I think these three views of the world are a strange compound.
Therefore, I think Arthur Eddington’s notion that an ordinary view of the world, one “ which spontaneously appears around me when I open my eyes” is “ a strange compound of external nature, mental imagery and inherited prejudice, is a very accurate description of everyday experience. What we can initially see is external nature, and the next one is mental imagery and the last one is inherited prejudice. And it is a strange compound of the ordinary view of the world because as I mentioned before, if there was no external nature, then there would be no mental imagery and inherited prejudice at all.

Professor John Deere says “Statistics is a way to get useful information from raw data”[i] I here must emphasize on the word “useful” for different things are useful to different people, it is just like me saying, “it is hot in here” this is a value, and it only speaks for the one who said it. This by itself can trigger an illusion to the one that hears it. By doing this, I could make another person see a thing in the way that I want them to see it. Statistics work in the same way, by wording a question differently or even merely changing the tune of your voice when you ask the question or give the results, can change the outcome of what the audiences get out of the survey. In this essay I will further explore how statistics can be used or misused in different areas of knowledge to assist and mislead us. Then from those I will conclude how we can evaluate the statistical evidence that is presented to us, and I will give examples of problems that are caused by misunderstandings of statistical information.
Statistics are very helpful in history to help us to keep better count of events and their outcomes, it makes things more simple and comprehensive. Thanks to statistics, I know that approximately 30million people died in the Chinese “Great Leap Forward”, if it was not for statistics we would never be able to see the monstrosity that happened during this time period in China.
The problem comes in now. Statistics are sometimes so simple that it is useless. It gives no indication of how the data is taken and how it is constructed.
Statistics are very commonly used to distort our views on Historical events. Governments use statistics religiously to get the loyalty of its people. I live in China, a country known for distorting the facts. I was fortunate enough to be able to revive both Chinese and International education, and was able to see the difference in education. In Chinese history classes, statistics was just fed to us, and we were expected to memorize. The statistics given to us was from the Central Education bureau, which I latter found out was very different from the statistics given from foreign sources. In International School we are told to evaluate the sources of the statistics given to us. This gives us a chance to use our own ways of knowing to see the problem, which is different from looking at it directly from the way others want you to see it.
Human Sciences:
To quote Ed Finn, “If I were to pick the most dishonest case of statistical
Skullduggery, it would probably be the official unemployment rate in the United States.” So that is what I will use for an example of statistical use in Human Sciences. The unemployment rate in U.S.A. according to government surveys is 6.0%[ii] as of 2003. But according to Finn, many groups were omitted in these government surveys, “the under-16 group, those on strike or locked out and those who weren't actively looking for work in the four weeks prior to the survey. But by far the largest group omitted from the list of jobless in the U.S. are the working-age men who are out of work because they are in prison or on parole.”[iii] So after including all of these people, the unemployment rate comes out to be 11.4%, a major difference. Now why would the government try so hard to make this number look good? Because the big corporations want to convince the public that the free market approach benefits the workers as it does the shareholders. Therefore by changing around the definition of an “unemployed person” the corporations are able to trick the masses.
In the end, how are we supposed to look at a set of statistics and know whether we are being lied to or not? We can look at the statistics and ask our selves these type of questions.
1. How is the research presented in the press?
The press only wants to put out what the people want to hear, because if they do otherwise, no one will watch their channel or buy their newspapers. So very often journalist are attracted to a particular research not because of the essence of the search itself but because of some aesthetic side effect that they think the public would enjoy. For example, if I say that through the study of these cartoons I have concluded that children who watch cartoons are the same as the children who don’t, the media would probably dig more into the cartoons itself, and add a more dramatic effect to it, where in truth there is nothing dramatic at all about this research. So we must see beyond what the media thinks we want to see.
2. How was the research conducted
This is very important because the readers or viewers are usually oblivious to the methods of how the data was gained. Companies and government do take advantage of this. For example, if I did a research on whether prayer affects the quickness in which a patient recovers. If I tell the patient that I am going to pray for him, chances are that he will recover not because of the prayer, but because of his mind, by the thought of himself getting better. It is nothing but a placebo effect. But if this information is not given to the reader, they will think that prayer causes it. And visa versa, if the patients are not told that they are being prayed for but yet show the same results. Then people who don’t believe in God would say it was a placebo effect because it wasn’t stated whether they were told or not.
3. Who conducted the research
A good example of this is researches done on cigarettes. Marlboro does a research and states that the Marlboro light is healthier than the Marlboro red. But the same study done by a public institution says that the 2 have the same effect on the body and that there are no such things as “healthier cigarettes”
4. Who funded the research
This question is very important and is harder to find out, unlike (3), which is usually stated on the research itself. It is important to see whether the research was a public one or a private one. If it was a public one then most probably the results are aimed to glorify the country, and if it is a privately funded research then it wants to sell the product therefore making it sound much more better than it actually is.
5. Does anyone gain anything by the way the numbers are presented
In a public research the government gains if the numbers for unemployment looks low. In a private cigarette research, the cigarette company gains if their cigarette proves to be healthier. Therefore, if the one that is gained is properly identified by the reader, then he/she can have a better idea of the truth by ridding the agendas of the benefited person or company.
After all of this, It is clear that all of these are interrelated, therefore if you combined all of these questions together and look at a set of statistics with them in your head. The truth should come out to be much more clear. But still there are many biases, but some biases you will never be able to eliminate.

[ii] US censes bureau
Question: Statistics can be very helpful in providing a powerful interpretation of reality but also can be used distort our understanding. Discuss some of the ways in which statistics can be used or misused in different Areas of Knowledge to assist and mislead us, and how we can determine whether to accept the statistical evidence that is presented to us.
Can a person believe statistical data they cannot themselves prove? If not, the data could mislead us. I have always felt that a person could believe statistics presented to him/her, while the belief derives itself from his /her own perception, emotion, experience, reason, and acquaintance of the subject in question. Obviously it is clear to note that what a person believes is not always the truth, but caused by overuse of subjective views about the statistics. For that reason I believe that statistics may distort our understanding if we always being subjective to face some facts.
Consider the news and surveys we are bombarded with: junk foods have become the most harmful ‘new products’ leading to 300,000 American deaths each year from obesity and related health problems. The National alliance for Nutrition and Activity, a coalition of health organizations in the United States, has found that the original Macdonald ‘s burger, fries and 12-ounce coca-cola in the 1950s delivered 590 calories. But now an ‘extra value meal’ including super size fries and 42-ounce coke packs 1,550 calories. The super size fries contain 610 calories, 29 grams of fat, 390 milligrams of sodium and 77 grams of carbohydrates. Such numbers show the factors making Americans getting obese. When people see this statistical data, many of them might logically assume that fast food is the main cause for 300,000 Americans deaths per annum. This rather disregards the fact that people certainly have a level of personal responsibility, for in this case one could argue that everyone eats it, and everyone knows it is not healthy, especially when eaten regularly, because it is cheap and convenient. People are not forced to become less active and more isolated, and their children waste time watching TV and playing video games. As assistant professor of psychology Karen Cogan says, “Parents buy what they want and have less activity outside than ever before.” Source? In this case, the statistics are real but our original thinking is wrong. If we didn’t realize our mistakes, our understanding would be distorted directly by our prior belief.
Different areas of knowledge are not only used to help us determine the statistical evidence, but also could mislead us. I myself remember that during the SARS period here in China, we did not really care too much by perception, the symptom of SARS are react like fever. ? As SARS spread, the statistics of people infected by SARS was not noticed initially, and people did not worry too much because they trusted the authorities. When somebody died, it was too late to recognise the statistics. Thus we could not place great weight and trust on our perceptions. Faced with such a different situation, we could not over-depend upon either our knowledge or the statistical evidence, both of which are important.
Sometimes statistics could be used to distort our understanding dependent on two possibilities. One possible would be that we are more subjective to judge about the reality by our emotion, experience, and perception. The other possibility would be statistical error and unreal statistic. For instance, certain statistics claim that the unemployed rate was 4.3% last year. In fact some eastern cities reached 6%. As a result, we could not trust statistic greatly. WHAT COUNTRY ARE YOU REFERRING TO? IF THE US< SAY SO. BUT WHO CARES?
Another example would be when many people are confused by their lack of knowledge in economics. If people know much about the economy of China, they will consider the common issue of its unemployment in four particular aspects: Natural unemployment, Frictional unemployment, structural unemployment and seasonal unemployment. Consider an historical example from the Cold War, America declared that they spent X000,000,00 dollars on the military? , and it directly encouraged the USSR to concentrate on developing its own military, and spend less on developing economic growth and development. In such a way, America used statistics to deceive the USSR for 44 years. It worked both ways
All in all, the point is that people usually trust their own judgement more than the statistics presented to them, which means they believe their prior emotions, perceptions etc, initially, and subjectively determine the facts by their knowledge, even if the fact is true. In other words, our own ways of knowing prejudice our findings. I think by this way we are always misled, and indirectly misuse the statistics.
To determine the statistics presented to us, it is necessary to compare and contrast them with more data for reference, and to be more objective about the statistics. This would be most helpful in distinguishing the difference between the true reality and the mere statistics presented to us. Any description is really needed to briefly explain the situation.? Before I went to an IB school, I used to study in a Chinese traditional school where report cards were only used to present the grade we received. If any one received lower scores, parents would complain and demand that they work harder, but still didn’t understand the true problem with their kids. Here in an IB school, the report cards have been completely changed, with each subject teacher writing comments explaining how the student is doing, which subject the student needs to work harder with and concentrate on. With this final example we can see that without the additional use of language, statistics can do nothing to explain reality but may indeed distort our understanding.
Sometimes we hear reasoned arguments that oppose a view to which we are emotionally committed; sometimes we hear a passionate plea for a view we have good reason to reject. Bearing this in mind, discuss the importance of reason and emotion in distinguishing between belief and knowledge.
As a Hong Kong student, holding a British National (Overseas) passport, now living in China, and receiving an international education. I have been absorbing different perspectives of belief and knowledge. De to this multicultural environment and the various aspects gained as an IB student, I notice that while on the one hand emotions and reasons can influence our beliefs and knowledge, yet at the same time the opposite could hold true where we already start with a belief irrespective of the true facts and form a reasoned conclusion from it from prejudice or simple misuse of the situation.
Emotions and reasons sound compkletely opposite in meaning to each other in that a person can’t be emotional and rational at the same time. I found it difficult especially in the area of Mathematics which requires the most need for intensive reason and logical thinking. There is forever only one correct answer, regardless of whether you are emotional or not. In the Mathematics system, 1 plus 1 equals 2. One simply cannot say “I feel like the sum of 1 and 1 is 3” and try to change a truth accepted universally. Emotion in this case seems to have an invalid use, but actually it may not. Every road leads to Rome; there are various approaches to access the same answer. To choose an approach sometimes depends not on the fastest one, but the one that we feel more apt to use, probably because we are more familiar or confident with it. In this case, emotion has a valid position in helping us access knowledge. Nonetheless, mathematics sometimes can only be a tool for us to reach knowledge. By way of example, I use formulae to calculate physics problems and in again in this area; emotions perform no role but reason alone.
However, Art is the least dependent upon reason but the most involved emotionally. One day I went into the art room at school and saw some paper-cut pieces in a frame on the table. I put them up and had a look, before putting them back at random. My friend shouted to me from the back, “What are you doing? Put them back to the original position!” “What the point of doing that? They are just some random paper things.” I replied. “No! Can’t you see that is a human face?” I was confused and had no idea where the human face was. To my eyes, they were just simply shapes of paper. Yet to my friend’s eyes, they combined to form a face irrespective of the fact that one did not apparently need to know where the nose, ears and the eyes were. However, just by saying, “I feel like it is a human face” it was. It is a type of emotional and passionate argument, one which does not require any discernable reason or system of logic accessible to all. Nevertheless, we cannot use emotions in art while ignoring the general truth, such as colours. After all, we will not see green differently when we feel happier. Nonetheless, sometimes colours may be twisted by our emotions in some circumstances. People are said to often see things in red while angry caused by a sudden increase of the amount of blood going to the eyeballs and thus leading to the twist of perceptive colours. We can’t say it changes the fundamental truth of “colour”, however emotions can twist our perception of it,
Knowledge and belief can’t be achieved without either emotions or reasons to a certain extend. I use the latter to assist me to reach the knowledge and belief. Nonetheless, sometimes I find that my knowledge has given me reason to go against my emotions, and furthermore to challenge my beliefs. To cite one simple example, as a practicing Christian, I am taught that God flooded the world through forty days of consecutive rain. Afterwards, the winds blew away the water and the land was dry again. Yet in geography, the syllabus expects us to believe that the fluvial cycle on Earth is a closed system, whereby there is no input and output, thus the amount of water on the planet will always stay the same. Therefore, it is physically impossible to have extra water with which to flood every region at the same time and then simply evaporate or disappear. My religious beliefs and the information I am to be tested on in this school completely contradict each other challenging my beliefs.
That is where the problem lies. Emotions and reasons can lead us to beliefs and knowledge; nonetheless, knowledge forces us to have rational thinking and at times to go against our beliefs. Another example challenging my belief system was apparent in economics. Consider: International aid is to help third-world countries by giving money and food which I used to consider as altruistic and motivated by charity. Nevertheless, I was disturbed when I learnt of the consequences of aid when incoming food actually serves to bring down the overall price of the domestic crops and thus leading the entire market to collapse. What I had learnt again went against what I felt, and in doing so, changed my perception of it.
From my favourite film the Matrix, the question is posed: “What is real? If real is what we see, hear and touch, then reality is nothing more than electrical impulses passing to your brain” Who would have thought nowadays that the latest Hollywood blockbuster would pose such demanding philosophical questions? Assuming there is another form of existence that controls humans, then we are no longer at the center of the world. All we perceive from sight, feeling, hearing, tasting and so forth would no longer be valid regarding emotions or reasons as they are all just a part of the program. However assuming it is true, whether knowledge is based on emotions or reasons will be no longer an issue. Instead we will be frightened by the truth of our self-existence. Again we are confronted with where is the “truth”? Such was the question Pilate posed to Jesus from which we still seek an answer. We may never be able to access it unless we jump out of the “boundary” and see humanity from the outside.
Is there then any need to reach a conclusion for “knowledge”, “emotion” or “reason” if they are controlled by a “programme”? Were I to jump out from ‘the matrix’ and be convinced of my own existence in this world, my knowledge tells me that it needs a conclusion for my essay, so I write one. Emotions and reasons can help us to access knowledge and belief in some extends, nonetheless, it can be vice versa that what we learnt can bring us reasons to challenge what we believe. So should we stop chasing after knowledge to sustain our faith? Perhaps it is another TOK topic tworth thinking.
Do questions like “why should I be moral?” or “why shouldn’t I be selfish?” have definitive answers, as do some questions in other Areas of Knowledge? Does having a definitive answer make a question more or less important?
Moral questions are always hard to explain. Philosophers spend their whole life trying to conclude things but end up with ultimately different theories. Thus, some may say that there is no definitive answer to moral questions. However, I believe that everything has connections, from either questions such as “1+1” or moral questions like “why shouldn’t I be selfish?” They depend on the ways from which people look at them and from the axioms they set before coming up with the questions. However, having a definitive answer to these questions does not make the questions more or less important; the importance is the process and the methods that we used for finding the answers.
Areas of knowledge in the TOK diagram[1] is made up of 6 elements which include Natural Science, Art, Social Science, Math, History and Ethics. They may seem to be quite different from each other, yet they all interrelate, or in someway, are similar to one another.
In the movie “A Beautiful Mind[2]”, when John Nash proposes to his girlfriend, she asks how big the universe is. John’s answer was “infinite”. Not satisfied with this response, she demands how he can know such a thing. In an answer one would expect from a mathematician, he declares “Because all the data indicate it.” This merits in turn the retort “But it hasn’t been proven yet, you haven’t seen them; how do you know for sure?” Pondering for a little while he concludes “I don’t, I just believe.” This cinematic example shows that human beings like to assume. When we want to find out something, we always first assume some other things to be true or constant. In Economics for example we deal with ceteris paribus which “assume all other things are held equal, or constant, except those under study”[3]. In this way, mankind has come up with axioms which are certain assumptions and definitions we take without question[4]. We are told and indoctrinated to be moral from the time we can start to remember things. “Stealing is bad” and “Helping people is good” seem to be the axioms of ethics. We accept it without doubt at such an early age even though is offered no justifiable proof. There is almost no one who questions the authenticity of axioms seeing that these are the basis of all the theories and deductions in our daily life and they are learnt, accepted and rooted in people’s mind. Analogous to the ethical axioms, mathematical axioms seem to have the same effects on its field. In Euclid’s geometry, there is a so called parallel postulate which states that “for every line AB and point C outside AB, there is only one line through C that does not meet AB”[5]. People hardly doubt it and it’s an axiom which is used widely; in fact, it is required learning in the IB syllabus. Many theories are deducted from this axiom with the assistance of some other mathematical rules. In this way, to the question “why don’t two parallel lines intersect?” we say that “two parallel lines do not intersect” using a mathematical axiom, by which we get a definitive answer. Similarly, to the question “why should I be moral?” we say that “People should be moral” which is an ethical axiom, and hence, ethical questions have definitive answers too.
However, are all definitive answers the same? The answer would suggest ‘no’ as when axioms are changed, and the relevant results and answers would be consequently changed as well. In Non-Euclid geometry, people do not include the parallel postulate and assume either that “there are no lines through C that do not meet AB or that there is more than one such line”[6]. In this case, the mathematical axiom has completely changed, it still has its own derived theories and with definitive answers. It doesn’t negate the Euclid geometry axioms and answers; instead, they complement each others and developed the field of geometry from many facets. Likewise, egoists may steal purses as long as they feel happy about as they hold the belief that “Our own long-term happiness that is important, so we should behave in a way which turns out best for us in the long run.”[7] In relation to my moral axioms mentioned above, this is completely immoral and selfish. However, it works for some people as an axiom. After all, if a newborn baby is taught everyday that “stealing is good”, he or she might have ‘thief’ as being their dream career and proud of him/herself for making real his ambition.
In this way, we can say that ethical questions have definitive answers, but they are definitive only to the given axioms. Without an axiom, we can hardly say if selfish right or wrong; with the egoism axioms, we would have a definitive to this question that selfish is right. In “Lord of the Flies”[8], Ralph and Jack represent democracy and autocracy respectively. They lead the children on the island in different ways; one is equal and civilized, and the other is barbaric and primitive. They see each other as an enemy which is mainly caused by their different perspectives and axioms of politics. Also, Jack acts as an egoist where Ralph is more like an altruist. They both have their own ways of seeing things and develop their theories in a very different way. Hence, a moral question may have two answers like the square root of a number, there is always a positive and a negative; however, these questions are all definitive.
Nevertheless, there are some unsolved problems for which people don’t have definitive answers yet even though they already have the axioms. It’s like mysteries for which although we have the hypothesis, they still seem not to be definitive. This is doubtless because we lack sufficient evidence. Once we have such evidence, things would be solved immediately and become definitive.
A definitive answer, however, does not make the original question more or less important. Axioms are assumed, theorems are proved, and questions are raised. By people. Even if we get definitive answers, such answers are still provided by people from sources derived and used by people who develop and promote society by asking questions, setting standards and answering questions. It’s not the final answer which develops mankind, but the process and methods by which human beings use to find answers that benefit their society and advance the world. As in a chess game, we play by the rules, but the results would not be a big deal to most people. Some acknowledge through the game that sometimes we must sacrifice a piece to obtain a greater good. Such things we learn from the game is what we are really looking for. By this we develop through other areas in order to construct our society by inventing new technologies; sometimes we destroy our societies by things we learnt from another form of chess game: warfare. We can see this in the way of the “square root problem”. Both numbers would be definitive and both effects of the game coexist in the world, like the two poles of a magnet which can never be separated.
Even though we have these side effects, we are still working on finding answers. Because nothing is perfect, like the supply and demand curves in Economics, where equilibrium points in reality almost never happen as there is not a pure free market. Instead, shortages and surplus are the commonplace. The ideal situation is never reached, yet we are still trying to minimize the difference. It’s like an axiom, which people believe in but not necessarily exist. People still pursue their theorems as mankinds subconsciously believe in it and this belief is a lifetime belief.

[1] Samuelson, M 2004, The TOK diagram model, Class handout materials
[2] A Beautiful Mind 2001, motion picture, Universal Studio & DreamWorks, USA. Producer Grazer. B
[3] Glanville, A 2003, Economics from a global perspective, 2nd edn, pp.10, Glanville Books, United Kingdom
[4] Alchin, N 2003, Theory of knowledge, pp.56, John Murray, London
[5] Buckle, Cirrito & Dunbar 1999, Mathematics Higher Level Course of the International Baccalaureate, pp.3, IBID press, Victoria
[6] Buckle, Cirrito & Dunbar 1999, Mathematics Higher Level Course of the International Baccalaureate, pp.4, IBID press, Victoria
[7] Alchin, N 2003, Theory of Knowledge, pp.238, John Murray, London
[8] Golding, W 1996, Lord of the Flies, Educational edn, Faber and Faber, London
What is most striking in my conversations with friends at school here in Beijing is the extreme difficulty Western women have dating Chinese men, which is in sharp contrast to the renowned ease with which Western men help themselves to Chinese women. The purpose of this essay is to examine the reasons for this.
Every Western woman I talk to here describes her love life in Asia as highly wanting, and each offers the same explanation; namely that Asian men in general and Chinese men in particular seem fear Western women and are unwilling to risk asking them out for a date. Two of them said they felt it had to do with the “sissyness” of Chinese men and the third, when I referred this to her, embraced it as truth. Indeed, she went on to say that it went on more than this, but it may also have something to do with Chinese men's habits of clipping their toenails in the bedroom, spitting and urinating everywhere outside, not using a handkerchief but simply blowing their snot into their hand, and throwing their litter everywhere. As she told me, there is a supreme difference between a man having a 'feminine' side and being mommy's boy, who lacks any and all ability to empathise with a woman.
Is the argument therefore that Western men demonstrate their masculinity in a distinct way by being forthright, uninhibited while at the same time hiding their fears, and thus come across as strong and dominant –these seem to be traits that Chinese women find alluring. At least enough of them to keep Western men such as yours truly in China very busy.
Unfortunately the same is not the case for female expats who simply do not have it as easy. "Chinese men are very feminine compared to American men's constant masculine side," one of them claimed to me. "That in turn makes them very afraid of women who they see as strong-willed. They see strength as a masculine trait, and they see it in Western women in particular. This explains why one so rarely sees native Chinese guys here dating Western women." It is an iron point as it is exactly this trait that attracts Asian women (and gays) to Western men, while turning off Asian men to Western women.
From my own personal observation watching the body language of the guys here (as seen in the way they walk, carry themselves, hold their bag something not unlike holding a purse, the way they cross their legs etc etc etc, it is very different from the strong Western male’s intent to appear oafish.
So, are Chinese men really more effeminate? I certainly believe so, and have no fear having my way in this country. However I did notice something once I returned to Ireland this year. I remembered how offensive, antisocial (as in violent and aggressive) men were with their same football uniforms looking like they visit the same barber.
Here in my school every 15 minutes someone walks past my window spitting and ejecting snot from his nose so there's no refuge in or out of this school. When I go through the hell of cycling 30 minutes through rush hour home, it's to my hutong where the noise is unrelenting and the first thing I hear when I wake up is some guy coughing his lungs out. Can't they at least do it inside their homes? With women at a premium, don't they have any self-respect?
That is an important question as with the one child policy, there are now 116 men to 100 women in places. As long as I have the looks, the attitude and the big pay cheque, this works out just fine to me.

I appreciate the argument that by retreating down the "back in my day" path that I risk echoing the words of so many veterans everywhere, but sometimes one simply must call a spade a spade. I am 33, and I feel strongly that wrestling sucks today, and that it was far better in the 80's. 

I was born to this world a WWF fan (and I still am a WRESTLING fan) but I do not give a God-damn about 99% of what's going on in the WWE now, and I suppose that enough people are like me that Vince McMahon now is forced to start digging up the past just to keep people tuned-in. 

My abiding interest in the WWF started to decline in the early 90's, came back in the late 90's and died with the death of the WCW, and the forced adoption of the name "WWE". From that moment the WWE has been garbage. It is not the wrestler’s promotion; it's Vince and family, and their total lack of respect for wrestling and for WWF history. 

However, Vince is merely in part to blame. Without competition, he is losing his balance and perspective. The deaths of ECW and WCW were tremendous losses not only for the wrestlers, but also for wrestling and for America. For me its like factories shutting down and jobs being lost to foreigners overseas. 

Why do people in Japan obtain 10 different kinds fighting promotions with TV deals and spectacular cards shown for free on New Year's day while we in the USA are forced to pay 10 bucks a week to watch TNA? In the USA today, one can't even hear a boxing match on the radio let alone watch ECW on CBS. Isn't this supposed to be the future? 
Now regardless its product was good or bad, for years and years the WWE suffered at telling history. They acted as if we were living in an eternal present and ignored title histories as well as other promotions, and acted instead like Big Brother. Recently they have actually started referring to past wrestlers, such as when, a couple Wrestlemania's ago, and JR mentioned the Dynamite Kid. I suppose they believed even though he can't wrestle for them anymore, they still own the rights to some old videos he made, and that people have somehow remembered him despite any recognition by the WWE's publicity machine for over a decade. In addition, in a copy of RAW magazine they compared the Superstar Billy Graham to Scott Steiner. When I heard such things, it struck me as something the WWE is only going to do out of necessity, since referring to the history of one’s sport is a good idea and most of what the WWE does is stupid and assbackwards. 

Jesus son of the Almighty, did I just label wrestling a sport? I suppose I must still be living in the eighties. In fact, it was in 1989 that Vince McMahon "revealed" the business in front of the New Jersey state athletic commission so he could save a few dollars. When one looks at all the other ways he sold out the sport of wrestling, it makes perfect sense. Be patient and let me explain. 

In Mick Foley's first tome he referred to the time Ole Anderson told him a story about a man who saw a dead baby and claimed "HOLY mother of god in hell that's terrible!” then he came across a bunch of dead babies and claimed, "HOLY shit that sucks!" and then saw a busload of dead kids ad nauseum until after a while the bloke just didn't care anymore. The moral of Ole's story for Mick is that one need to be careful when one are putting on a wrestling show to pay attention to its HISTORY, and CONTEXT to obtain the most out of storylines, and to keep the fans caring enough to keep watching. 

In Terry Funk's book, he claimed that when Vince revealed the business in 89' he was angered at first, but then decided it was a good thing because it "got the monkey off our backs". Nevertheless, he claimed a part of him is still angered about it. I truly identify with that part of him and this is my main reason why: Awesome crazy magnificent events in wrestling are so much more awesome and edgy when one thinks they are real. Wrestling is better when one can let oneself be a goof, and at least the promotion and the wrestlers are encouraging one to be a mark. That is the reason why so many wrestlers for so many years did so many things to "protect the business". 

That is why many even dare claim that the Ultimate Warrior is the greatest champion of all time. 

Now, naturally I could never say how he would fare against a Lou Thesz or a Frank Gotch, or even Dynamite Kid. It would probably be like many of Warrior's previous matches: fast and fun to watch
ut probably in a much different way. 

Perhaps in retrospect nobody really believes that the Ultimate of Warriors would be a legit world-beater, but who really knows? After all, many people think Chris Jericho is a tremendous wrestler, but for all we know THE WARRIOR could whip the living bejesus out of them. We will never in fact know because of the completely predetermined match factor of professional wrestling. 

However, as Johnny Valentine supposedly claimed to Roddy Piper at one time, “I can’t make them believe that wrestling is real, but I sure as hell can make them believe that I’m real.” The Ultimate Warrior was one of those blokes, and he still is. I believe if one listens very closely in Wrestlemania 7, he tells Sherri Martel, "Come here bitch!" This was back in the super kid friendly 80s WWF, the same federation that had all these stupid sketches and angles to appeal to kids, and THE WARRIOR was the ultimate good bloke who was in fact loved by kids. Why then, why was he swearing? Did he not know the cameras might catch what he was saying? That's not supposed to happen, it must be real! If it was fake why is he really calling her a bitch? Wouldn't we have caught him telling her something like "Duck" or talking to her under his breath in a Jim Hellwig voice instead of the Warrior’s growl? Maybe not, but it was somewhat real, somewhat even God-damn edgy. 

By way of contrast, I recall watching RAW nearly a decade later and Ken Shamrock was SCREAMING at his sister Ryan for being a whore with the cameras right up in his face but as he didn’t have a mike he thought we could hear him. Then he clearly whispers, "slap me" to her. And she slapped him. I then changed the channel. 

I don't know what the Warrior’s actual fighting ability was like or indeed what fighting style he dare to call it, but he bloody well sure was the correct person in the right place at the right time, for a good while, and he pulled off a character that no one else could ever obtain over. Consider: What other champion ever played the insane cosmic space warrior role? 

I cannot say regardless if the Warrior in his prime would still be in wrestling today, however back then it all just clicked in my brain because THE WARRIOR had a horrific and inspiring look and a unique amount of intensity and because he was given the right stage to perform on. 

The WWF of the 80s benefitted from both Vince McMahon's cocaine-inspired creative genius, but also more so from those fans and the people and wrestlers who set the standards and created the context for what wrestling was expected to be. Great men like Terry Funk, Gorilla Monsoon, the Poet and the Iron Sheik and too many others to dare mention. People that cared about legitimacy, because they knew it would always matter to the fans. 

Of course in hindsight they were lying to us, but would one rather read a regular Stephen King book where at the very end, the main character declares "And right after the monster ate me I woke up and it was all a dream". "All a dream!? What the hell was I reading this book for?” So maybe it was all fixed, but would Gorilla or Jessie ever admit it? Jesus Christ in heaven with all his saints, a thousand times NO!!!!!

The WWF used to have a practice whereby the "Superstars" would wrestle blokes like Frankie Williams on Saturday morning TV and the Superstars would always win. ALWAYS. It still seemed real because it felt like a tune up match for the star wrestler. Vince later abandoned the practice when Nitro was recreating wrestlemania 5 every Monday night, and people were changing channels. But after watching Stone Cold battle the Rock for the 100 th time and the second consecutive wrestlemania, I felt "Hey, Give Frankie Williams a shot at the belt," because it just seemed at the time like a more real thing to do. One never sees boxers going beyond a trilogy of big fights and that makes each Gotti Ward fight so much more interesting than Stone Cold v Rock #232. By contrast, the Ultimate Warrior only took on Hogan once in the WWF! And he had great opponents like Macho Man Randy Savage, who I believe only wrestled him twice. And he benefitted further from events packed with talent like Steamboat, Sergeant Slaughter, Bob Orton, Greg Valentine, and Tito Santana; wrestlers that created a background of relative normalcy against which the Warrior could shine like a diamond against an azure sea. What also asssted, again, was that the WWF still cared about coming off as legit. So when THE WARRIOR obliterated his opponents in 3-minute matches, he truly seemed invincible to us owning tricycles. When my older brother grew up watching Stone Cold, even at the age of 6, he still knew it was fake. It's not Stone Cold's fault, it's the promotion. 

I don't think that is ever true. The Ultimate Warrior was a big hulking individual who was ripped to shreds and yet could run to and from the ring like a bat out of hell’s flames, giving the illusion of limitless stamina and energy and basically a man who could whoop a good deal of ass. In addition, the gorilla press slam. Who had the balls to make THAT one’s finishing move? One'd have to be willing to try to lift any future opponent clear over ones head before launching them in the air, and he did it to the immortal Hulk Hogan and other heavyweights. One risks failure and looking like a pussy and a damned fool. 

To what extent do personal attributes affect Ways of Knowing and why, if at all, does answering this question matter in the first place?

We receive knowledge through 4 ways which are emotion, reason, language and perception. Yet these ways of knowing are highly effected by the knowledge which is gotten through them since personal attributes which have been gained prior to now filter out the knowledge which is fed to us now. I personally am a Ukrainian who has been living and studying in an International school, in China for my whole life as well as a strong patriot of Communism and an atheist! These personal attributes makes it hard to perceive the knowledge which is given to me for example the information which is given to me by someone who is strongly religious and strongly anti-communist.

I don not consider that I have a first language since I speak English and Russian yet I am not fluent in neither of them. This is my personal attribute yet it is also a large barrier which constantly affects the knowledge which I gain through the verbal language which is presented to me. An example to show this is the fact that when I get a text for my English commentary which I have not seen before I am unable to receive the deepest meaning and hence I have problems with commenting on the meaning of this passage. Yet once again language does not only consist of verbal output it also consists of body language and images. Although body language and images are not as contradictive and are more widely understood then verbal language but still their interpretations vary alongside with cultural and historic background.

After being bitten by a dog, at the age of 2, my friend has always been scared of dogs. This serves as an emotional boundary to what ever she perceives. She finds it very hard to communicate with people who keep dogs as pets. Roughly 5 months ago my parents bought me a dog! Now my friend is trying to stay away from me, and hence we are loosing are friendship. This personal attribute of hers has had a great effect on her and the knowledge which can be obtained from dogs and from their owners.

Any disorder of any of the 5 senses can be considered an attribute as well as an anchor to normal life and perception. I have problems with my sight and hence I am unable to rely on this primary sense, but I am extra sensitive in the touching sense. At this point of time I do not have to see something to get its texture and create a visual in my head with 90% of the details and I consider this my attribute. Yet once it comes to things like color or objects that are far away my attribute is useless and my eyes became a problem for me. For example during a PowerPoint presentation I find it hard to read some of the data presented unless it is read out or is of sufficient size. This is a large barrier to the knowledge which I am able to gain from something visual.

Reasoning also comes as a personal attribute obtained by us through the up raising by our parents and hence by our cultural background. Once again this means there is variation between a Ukrainian and a Chinese person. This means that once I moved to China from the Ukraine, I was unable to understand the logical reasoning of a Chinese person and of course vice versa. For example at the age of 6, at this age I moved to China, I completely failed to understand why did the Chinese ask my parents for permission to touch my hair and take and take a photo with me. Only after a few years of living here I started understanding that for them it was something so rare to see a little girl with, as they say, ‘hair made of gold’.

As far as I consider answering this question does matter. Once we know about the boundaries which our personal attributes have on the ways of knowing maybe people will not be as ignorant and actually might start at least trying to understand each other. If at least 1% of this will be achieved then already the world will become a better place to live in and as far as I consider the first people who have to do it are the presidents since I perceive them as the most ignorant people in the world!!!

As seen through out the essay our personal attributes affect our ways of Knowing to a very great extent. Language, emotion, reason and perception are our ways to gain knowledge yet various attributes, especially cultural and physical, become barriers in the process of getting knowledge.

Question: Compare and contrast knowing a friend to knowing how to swim, knowing a scientific theory and knowing a historical period. What conclusions about the nature of knowledge can you reach?

We can compare many things and many people only by its/his/her quality. Contrast them with their qualities will be at the same time, easy and hard. Comparing a friend with something that is not alive, like knowing how to swim is two different things. Friend is a human being same as everybody, he/she will help you anytime you want, give you support, understand and love you. According to the quote which was written by Jane Sequichie Hifler, says: “In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil”. We learn from our friends, and they learn from us. So it is “us” who teach each other, and let them know of the world we live in. Knowing how to swim, is something like giving knowledge to the person of how to swim, by showing it, basically, knowledge of swimming is floating on the water, not sinking, swim wherever you want and teach this person how to survive in any circumstance, in/on the water, and save people’s lives. For history and science, people perceive these two as a way of discovering something new from the past, creating or making something for the sake of human kind, prolonging human life. History tells us who are, where were born, when we were born, who is your father and mother, history is interesting to know. A scientific theory is stated by a person who choose this path to contribute his own work to people. If these two combine it can be obtained that another history can be born.
Who do we see in our daily life? We see a person who talks to you, tells jokes, supports you, and waits for you when you ask him/her. In my life I see friends, every day I talk to them, tell them jokes, and we play soccer, etc. I have many friends, and they know me and I know them. Knowing a friend is like listening to a book that knows everything. Why I say everything? It is because they have experienced something that some people and I haven’t experience yet, they know it and understand it their way, understood it by their own philosophic world that they created. As Aristotle said: “Loneliness is the most terrible poverty”, people keen to look for more friends but its hard to find a faithful friend. For instance this quote: “remember man and keep in mind, a faithful friend is hard to find”, I don’t know whose quote iss this, but it makes sense to any person, and it is true, everyone has problems of finding a faithful friend. As Samuel Butler says: “We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversation with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk. Thomas Moore, PhD, in the essay “Embracing the Everyday” The happiest conversation is that of which nothings is distinctly remembered, but a general effect of pleasing impression.”
Swimming, if person learns how to swim he/she knows how to swim, that is true. A person has a reason for doing so, he/she wants to know how to swim. Knowing how to swim is a special skill for him/her. They also learn it emotionally, coaches motivate, tell them what to do, and of course they motivate themselves, therefore they do something based on emotions. Even sometimes emotions can make us do something we don’t expect. Coaches train some of their students by using their emotions, pressing on them, shouting, etc. A person who learns how to swim perceives what is water.

In history, man is famous not only for his/her existence, but also that he/she makes his/her own history. Time leaves marks, which is unlikely to those that was left by time on other things. Knowledge that man obtained, was obtained from his/her own actions, this makes better man’s decision. Man possess control of the time, understands its motion, which he/she can change the history. Only man has power to do so.
His/her life is determined by time chain and ends with death. Man hardly remembers the past and meets the present whether he/she wants it or not. Lifetime of animals and plants has limitations as well, but unfortunately they can’t be called historical creatures. Their life consists of different events, from what we can understand, they are trying to survive, “survival of the fittest” as we know. Contrary to man, his/her decisions are problematic, he/she chooses future at the present.
Finally man’s history can be written when he/she meets another man, now man can be called a historical creature. “Being in a historical period, man with the help of his decision is able to change himself and the historical period, where he lives in, and participates in it”, by Kolomer. Man make history in their everyday life. They work on something that would help them and their country to prosper, to be known in the world. We contribute our power to make this world happy and grow to a more better world. Lets say, we work in a garden, we try to make it look good and pleasant to look at and then that we could spend our time in there. But for that we have to work hard to achieve what we wanted, to make it look good. The same we do for the house we live in, fix some parts of the house, paint it, extend it, etc. The things that we do and did in our lifetime, are considered to be history, our country’s history, our family’s history. History is that what we do and make everyday. History says that tomorrow’s day will be different. That is true that tomorrow’s day will be different, but this touches the internal layer and doesn’t touch the historicity. Historicity and history are not only defined by change, but also by stability. One can argue that the change in “everything is different” can change to “everything is completely different” because man does something that changes the other. Therefore, man will be “completely different”, to what he/she is today from what he/she was yesterday. This leads to that human nature of that kind doesn’t exist, but we can say if we try to find ways to make that human nature exist, this will work out well for human being.
Talking about stability of human nature, we can’t claim that human nature can be unchanged in all cases. Man created his own world with the help of modern and determined science and form of his existence, and this world will affect on his existence in the world. So if human nature is capable to live with stability, then this can be only stability in the change. On the other hand, according to the above mentioned, it is to be said that changes within the human nature, should be only within its borders. Man should change the world only within his power and capability to undertake the change. This will only have impact on his own world.
In conclusion, knowing a friend is our daily life routine, a friend is who you trust and love. Knowing how to swim is just one of the skills we are taught in our life to swim in the water, one of the ways of self – survival. Science and history are interconnected with each other, scientific theory comes from what we are trying to prove that it is true or that it will work. Historical period, for instance, timeline of our life, timeline of our house, etc., historical period is a diary of our past. These all can be considered as a way to gain knowledge in human nature, nature of knowledge. Nature of knowledge consists of these mentioned above words, all these we perceive and see in our daily life routine. Comparing and contrasting them we can come up with a conclusion that these are the ways we keep ourselves alive in this world. Knowledge that helps us to survive in this nature. We have to learn to obtain or achieve things in our life, finding a friend, to learn how to swim, to prove a scientific theory, to write or tell a historical period, we do all that for the sake of our future. We learn to know, therefore by learning we gain knowledge, we learn everyday, learn from anyone, so nature of knowledge is non-stop learning. To learn means to survive and continue your survival and further on we will or may be prosper.
Knowledge is generated through the interaction of critical and creative thinking. Evaluate this statement in two areas of knowledge.
As a student we are rarely motivated to think creatively to reason with information in the areas of knowledge like natural and human sciences which are based on facts /evidence.
Instead we are motivated to be very critical thinkers for generating knowledge from information we are given out of the natural and human sciences. So it seems like it is the most advantageous to use critical thinking when evaluating this information. From this we can get some knowledge issues. Is critical thinking in fact more advantageous when generating knowledge from from the natural and human sciences and far less advantageous in the area of knowledge, the arts? Is it likely that bias is causing us to use critical thinking over creative thinking, as we might consider critical thinking to be more accurate. How does critical thinking help us generate knowledge in the arts compared to how does creative thinking help us generate knowledge in the human and natural sciences?
To answer the question we first need to distinguish between creative thinking and critical thinking. Critical thinking is when you analyse, evaluate and/or judge information that has been collected through a variety of ways like observation, experience and reasoning. Creative thinking on the other hand is when you create something that is totally new or come up with ideas that have not yet been thought of as well as expanding ideas.
When looking at the natural sciences area of knowledge, critical thinking is what we mainly do when we want to come to conclusions about observations we did or the results of an experiment. We are inspired to critical thinking over creative thinking in the natural sciences by our teacher as it appears to me the more desirable way to generate knowledge in this area. So why is this? Why is creative thinking not part of the process of evaluating experiments or data? Is creative thinking despised of when generating knowledge in the natural sciences? It is impossible to not think critically when your task is to evaluate results, use the data to come to certain conclusions or when calculating something which is needed for the experiment. Creative thinking will not help you generate knowledge for those tasks as you cannot make up information that is not proven to be correct for the experiment or come to wild conclusions that you thought of. Creative thinking can however help you generate knowledge that is relevant to the natural sciences. Creative thinking could be required for creating the experiment for example, creating new hypotheses for something totally different, developing the ideas as well concepts and possible reasons you might have come up with. When scientists come up with new theories these theories would most likely by generated through creative thinking because they are new ideas, created from all other theories, facts and other information relevant to the topic. These theories can be used but it will not mean that they are true. A process of critical thinking then needs to be applies to prove the theory correct through experiments and evaluation of other experiments results as well as other theories. This implies that although knowledge in the natural sciences can be generated through a process of creative thinking they will not be considered correct as it is a new idea. However as creative thinking involves the creation of new ideas these usually do not need accurate proof to prove the validity as they are simply new ideas. In the natural sciences these ideas can not however be considered correct or trustworthy without accurate proof. So creative thinking is necessary in order to think of new theories or of possible reasons. Critical thinking from then on, is used in order to test the theories, find mathematical explanations, prove or prove wrong the reasons that were thought of.
In the arts area of knowledge the picture is totally different. With the arts we usually associate theatre, music and art in the form of paintings or sculptures. What all these have in common is that the knowledge is conveyed in an abstract way. Every individual who looks at these arts perceives it in their own unique way. They have their own thoughts, opinions and feelings towards or about it. These thoughts, opinions and feelings are all generated through creative thinking as well as the piece itself because the artist puts his own meaning into the piece. So If I am asked to give my opinion about a work of art, like a painting, I think creatively about it so that I understand the meaning of the work. I think about all kind of possibilities, about the significance, the value of the painting. I relate this piece of art to others I have seen to come to further ideas. So when judging and evaluating a piece of art to generate knowledge this I solely use creative thinking. As an art student I need to generate new and original ideas in order create a piece of art that is like no other. Whilst we are told to let us be inspired by other artists this is purely for in order to get a main idea. The process of making the artwork is achieved majorly through creative thinking apart from if I incorporate technical objects in to the artwork were I need to make sure the perspective is correct. I’ve used critical thinking in addition to creative thinking when creating certain pieces usually creative thinking is favoured by myself. Since in art you have to create new ideas creative thinking definitely seems the more favourable and advantageous way of thinking.
Perception plays a big role when generating knowledge through creative and critical thinking. Every individual perceives something in a unique way due to past experiences, interests, intelligence, creativity and from the society the have lived or grown up in. When someone is analysing or evaluating a piece of art from a different culture they will most likely not be able to understand the meaning of it like the people from the culture it originated from could. Thus the way they generate knowledge from this will be different from one another. Critical thinking in the natural sciences is however less, or rarely influenced by culture or society. Scientific theories based on facts and mathematics will be less affected by the culture and upbringing of the scientist for example because mathematics and scientific theories are not based on culture or society like most art is. Mathematics is seen as a universal language, where all mathematicians can communicate with any other mathematician from around the world without difficulty because it is the process is the same. So no matter the beliefs of the mathematicians or the scientists the results are based on a language which is independent from culture and society.
In both areas of knowledge the natural sciences and the arts the knowledge is created though both critical and creative thinking. You cannot only generate knowledge by using only one, critical or creative thinking because this would most likely not make any sense. In the arts critical thinking is needed to come to conclusions about the work of art. For example when evaluating graffiti. Most people just see it and think directly that it is pure vandalism without using common sense or partly creative thinking to generate the idea that maybe the space where this graffiti has been placed was opened, built, private property belonging to the artists or that permission has been granted. They only criticise the graffiti without realising the artistic skill required for some of these works. So critical thinking can be used to evaluate, justify the artwork and creative thinking needs to be used to analyse and discuss only ideas relevant to the artwork itself. In the natural sciences again both critical and creative thinking is needed to come to new ideas about something and then to justify and prove or disprove this idea. Without creative thinking in the natural sciences humanity would not be able find out nee information or create new machinery. For both areas of knowledge I think the importance of critical and creative thinking is balanced, as from neither knowledge can be generated purely from one creative or critical thinking. No doubt in the arts creative thinking is more important then critical thinking however critical thinking is still needed to come to a conclusion.
‘It is more important to discover new ways of thinking about what is already known than to discover new data or facts’. To what extent would you agree with this claim?

In this TOK essay I will evaluate wether it is indeed of greater importance to come to new aspects of what has been discovered allready or if infact it is of greater importance to discover new data or facts. To a certain point I indeed believe that discovering new was of thinking might infact be superior to finding new data, however there is a certain need for new data and facts to progress in thinking of new ways. My focus in this essay will be directed certain aspects of of the rapid evolution of technologies over the past years and I will take into account certain aspects of sciences in reference to logic and arts which are very closly related to perception and emotion to evaluate this claim.

The great importance of discovering new ways of thinking about what is already known be observed thourougly through looking at certain innovativ products from companies such as Apple. Apple had been able to successfuly redesign and tweak certain products to perfection. Lets take the iPad for example. At its launched there had been great criticsm towards this products as using out-dated technologies packed in a modern design at a unreasonable price, tablet computers had certainly not been something new at the time same with the touchscreen technology. However the iPad had been a very successful. Apple had managed to use touchscreen technologly in a way no other company had managed to do. The patented “Multi-touch” technogolgy had been a break through in the computer industry and had certainly done its part in Apples great success. Through this “door” which had been opened to computer programmers from all over the world news ways of using a product such as the iPad had evolved on the market. By looking at this example, I may come to the conclusion that the discover of new ways had done its part in discovering new ways to use a product which had been seen many times before.

We live in a time where we, as consumers are bombared with advertisments always suggesting to need the “newest” and “latest” product. Through this bombardament of ads and slogangs we might have come to the perseption that a product which uses freshly found data and facts is infact better than buying the “old” product. However this might not always be the case. From my own experience, it had nearly always proven better to buy a product which is development enough and without any flaws rather than buying a product which is new to the market which may have certain defects. An example for this would be

If we look at the movie industry for example, there are a great lot of remakes of movies. These take an original film, and adapt it to technoliges of the present time. For example the movie “The Italien Job” feature 3 Minis. This movie had allready been published in the year --- and had been published again in the year --. This shows that due to the discover of new data, in this case the exisitance of the new mini featured in the remake. It was possible to make a new movies, with a similiar if not near to identical story. However using newer Film Technoliges and car. This again proves to myself, that the discovery of new data and facts is interconntected with the importance of new ways of tackling a movie.

From my own knowlegde I may also come to a certain conclusion on this claim. When I was a child nearly at a daily basis I had learned new things. From how to eat with fork and knife to how to use my new toy. However as I got older I might say that the amount of things I learned had not increased so quickly, but I had learned about new ways to approach what I have allready known. Similiar with my schol career. During the IB, there is certain knowledge I have to take in to be successful in my studies. If i would not discover new data and facts I would still be at the state which I was in at the start of the IB. However from my experiences in the past year, I believe that one may only be a succesfull IB student if you are able to learn from your mistakes and have the ability to change certain ways you think about a certain subject or essay. If this though process would not happen, you would have the facts however the way they are presented would not have developtment during the duration of the course. For example there has been a incline in the grades I have gotten for my economics internation assessment. This shows me that during the IB, I have found new and more efficient ways to share my ideas in a superior fashion

I believe that discovering new ways of thinking it becomes easier to achieve new data and facts. Therefor one leads to another, and in the end there has to be a relativly equal share of both. Weather we take sciences, arts or my own experiences in my life as an example discovering new ways of thinking about certain things had always been connected to the discovery of new data and facts or vise versa. This is why I have come to the conclusion that there is not “better”, I much rather believe that one is important for the other to happen.
Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of using faith as a basis for knowledge in religion and in one area of knowledge from the TOK diagram
(My AOK = natural sciences)
The American psychologist and philosopher, William James, hit the nail on the head when he said, “Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible”. To me, knowledge means something that has been proven or can be proven through observation. For example, the phrase “To the naked human eye, the sky appears to be blue” is relatively indisputable, and thus, in my opinion, can be held as knowledge. To me faith is the opposite of knowledge, and requires believing something that hasn’t yet been proven.
Firstly, what is religion? What does it mean to be religious? The main problem with this question is many people have different grasps on the idea of religion. In the modern western world, particularly the US, it seems that being religious means you belong to a religious organization, such as Christianity or Judaism. To me, it means you belong to a religious institution and believe in, and follow, a set of doctrines set by that religion.
There are numerous touted health benefits of religion. It is generally accepted that religion provides health benefits. According to Psychology Today religion provides relief from “existential anxieties”[1][1], meaning that it helps its followers feel they have a purpose in life, which leads to a peaceful state of mind, and a better ability to cope with the stress and hurdles life throws their way. It also tends to provide a sense of community to those who practice their faith regularly at a place of worship. I know from experience that belonging to a religion provides a sense of community. When I was younger many of the girls I was friends with were Christian. They sometimes talked about what they had learned at church that weekend, and often brought Jesus into conversations. Being raised in a non-religious family I felt left out. I envied their belonging to something bigger, and the bonds they’d created through it. My then-best-friend’s father wouldn’t allow her to be my friend because I wasn’t Christian. How can religion provide psychological health benefits if it places boundaries on who you can and cannot associate with? Does it not place restrictions on you? Perhaps you’d feel happier when free from all ‘moral’ expectations. I’m not suggesting you go out and commit a crime, but maybe considering why your religion disapproves of certain activities will help you think for yourself and feel free to believe in your own ability to make decisions and judge situations.
Religion can provide healthy happy, and stress free lives for those who believe, and a large support network when they do fall ill. If the community believes in the ethicality of the actions the patient wishes to take then all is well, but if they don’t then that person loses their support system, and thus suffers psychologically and emotionally whilst already ill. Take the 9-year-old Brazilian girl, who became pregnant after being repeatedly raped by her Step Father. Her mother agreed to a life saving-emergency abortion. The mother and the doctors who performed the abortion were excommunicated, but the stepfather was not because apparently “although he had allegedly committed "a heinous crime", the Church took the view that "the abortion, the elimination of an innocent life, was more serious".”[2][2] The Christian God is supposed to be loving and merciful. How can the religion representing that God excommunicate the mother of an abused daughter who is likely in need of help and support? Is that not contradictory?
Most gods are supposed to be loving and caring, yet many so called religious groups spread intolerance, hate, and homophobia. Take Al Qaeda for instance. Purportedly its purpose is to spread Islam and Sharia Law. Why would an organization, whose religious God is supposed to be benevolent and loving, massacre thousands in his name? The organization must be using religion as a cover-up for what they really want: power and control. Osama Bin Laden was college educated. How can an educated person honestly believe their God encourages mass murder and self sacrifice, with the promise of 40 virgins in heaven? He must have had an ulterior motive, and if this proves to be true, it also proves what many people believe true: religion is about power and not God. Total faith in a religion or religious doctrine can have its downfalls. It’s okay to have some faith in religion, but it’s not okay to have blind faith. You can’t leave your mind behind when the words of its doctrines and authorities shape who you are, and what you believe.
Science and faith don’t often accompany one another in sentences. Science tends to be thought of as hard, rational, logical, and most importantly, proven. Many scientists tend to consider faith illogical and unproductive; indeed most scientists are either atheists or at the very least agnostics. Ironically every scientific theory must have started out as a hunch, and been researched on a leap of faith. Louis Pasteur and Alexander Fleming must have had some faith in their ideas before they began researching into germs and antibiotics respectively. If they hadn’t had faith in their ideas many people wouldn’t be alive today, and that possibly includes me. But what about the atom bomb? It all started harmlessly, with research into atomic structures and the nature of matter, but it soon became one of the most dangerous threats to mankind. Although it became obvious their discoveries could lead to destruction, the scientists continued to conduct research. At what point is it no longer acceptable to continue following your leap of faith, despite your immediate information rendering it unsafe? At what point should you abandon your faith that everything will work out fine? It seems faith should be used, provided the logical information you’re armed with doesn’t hint at severe danger for those around you.
Scientists have used the results of their research, such as the discovery of atoms and later electricity, to create modern technology. We are surrounded by technology twenty-four/seven, and despite this a fair amount of people don’t quite understand how it works. This can be frightening, and without faith they’d live a life of paranoia and possibly even suffer from agoraphobia. You need to have faith the airplane you are boarding will fly, the electric wires servicing your house have been safely installed, and the architects who designed your house fully understood the laws of physics. You have to have faith these wielders of science were qualified. I sometimes suffer from anxiety and begin to wonder at what point I should begin to listen to myself. How can I tell the difference between anxiety and a hunch? When should I have faith in myself? I don’t want to ignore myself, and end up injured, but I also don’t want to live in fear.
When a doctor prescribes pills to a patient, it helps if the patient believes the pills will work. Irving Kirsch, Ph.D., found that 80% of the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs is due to the patient’s belief in the medicine.[3][3] Having suffered from depression myself I was surprised that up to 80% of my recovery may have been caused by the placebo effect! People with positive mindsets feel less stressed, which allows their bodies to focus on healing themselves, as well as letting the medicine do its job.
When medical officials first became aware of the AIDS virus they were reluctant to believe that their existing blood supply could be tainted. They assumed all was well, and their existing measures were enough to ensure the safety of the blood supply. They didn’t monitor the supply as tightly as required by the threat of AIDS, and ended up infecting what may have been thousands of people with the virus. This is an example of when using faith and not doing further research into all related possibilities is not okay. If someone else’s livelihood depends on your decisions, it is never okay to only use faith.
When I began this essay I had never considered the benefits of faith, I’d always thought of it as something I didn’t need, and didn’t use. Now I realize I was wrong. When used in the right circumstances it can provide peace of mind and comfort, and lead to scientific and medical breakthroughs that improve, lengthen, and save lives. I realize that I was likely using faith when recovering from my depression, and that faith helps to keep us sane. I also better understood what I already knew: faith needs to be used with caution. Everything needs to be questioned, to an extent. How far that extent should go, is hard to know, and varies from circumstance to circumstance, but everything must always be questioned. Your livelihood and that of those around you depend on your balance between faith and knowledge.
Works Cited:
Adams, Guy. "Brazil Rocked by Abortion for 9-year-old Rape Victim." The Independent.
Independent Digital News and Media, 09 Mar. 2009. Web.
Barber, Nigel. "Is Religion Just a Downer?" Psychology Today. 16 Feb. 2012. Web.
Dold, Kristen. "Fake Pill, Real Power." Women's Health Dec. 2011: 128-31. Print.

The statement “Art is a lie that brings us closer to the truth” is in itself a lie. Art itself is not able to lie to us as it is a work of someone’s imagination. However, the meaning people can get from each piece of art may be in fact a lie. It was Picasso who said this, with his art often being seen as work to reveal the truth. This does not however, mean that his art is a lie. If you take art on its own and just look at it then it is individual and not a lie. It is only when you look at Art in a wider frame and take in the context that it can be perceived as something else.
Frederico García Lorca’s play “The House of Bernarda Alba” is seen to be an allegory of the Spanish Fascist Government that was in place when Lorca wrote his play. The house and family in which the play revolves around has a woman as the head of the household who behaves in a very dictatorial way. The play was in fact banned from being played in Spain for several years because of how people chose to see the play, and although it was labeled a work of fiction, people saw it as bringing to light what was going on in the Spanish Government. However, I disagree in the feeling that the play was a lie, even if the meaning some people found in it did bring us “closer to the truth.” The work was labeled as fiction, which cannot by definition be a lie as no one is claiming it to be the truth. It is simply a figment of someone’s imagination, and if we were all to be labeled liars for our imaginations then the world would descend into chaos. While studying this play in my English class, we looked closely at the “back story” and although some of the situations are similar this does not necessarily mean that they are the same, as many authors write from things familiar to them and of course the Spanish landscape will have been what was familiar to Lorca.
Picasso’s painting “Weeping Woman” is seen as a portrayal of the pain and suffering that woman have to face, while all the while being in Picasso’s typical style of cubism. The fact that the painting is not completely accurate means that it could be perceived as a lie designed to show everyone the truth of what a woman goes through emotionally. Again though there is an issue over whether or not the painting is actually a lie. Picasso’s painting was never specifically described as being the complete truth, while it was modeled on Picasso’s close friend, Dora Maar; neither of them ever claimed this to be an accurate depiction.
The problem with Picasso’s statement is not that it is a paradox, but that a person cannot define what a lie is. For something to be a lie it must, by dictionary definition, be “a false statement intent to deceive,” but which artist, whether they be authors or painters, ever sets out with the intention of lying to their audience. They simply create work based on what they feel, know and imagine. Unless a poet where to claim outright that their work was true, when it is a proven fact that it is not, that poet cannot be accused of being a liar simply for having an imagination.
588 words.
Jones, Jonathan. "Weeping Woman - Picasso." INMINDS Home Page - Boycott Apartheid Israel. 27 Sept. 2003. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. .

1. Using history and at least one other area of knowledge, examine the claim that it is possible to attain knowledge despite problems of bias and selection.

I will interpret the possibility of attaining knowledge despite bias and selection depending on the way bias can affect the information and if in fact the bias is the source of the knowledge. If I was to focus on the aztec sacrifices to bring down the brilliance of their ancient society for example it would be with selection that I had chosen a specific value to bring down or also strengthen my opinion on the aztecs. Of course my opinion was nonsense but in the study of history knowledge is transferred by the authors own ideas. Similarly in art one could paint a violent scene depicting the aztec sacrifice, this is also selection of a detail to exaggerate, nevertheless delivering knowledge about the happenings. The knowledge issues that struck me from these ways of knowing were “How much bias can be tolerated in sources during the process of attaining a certain knowledge?” and “What bias is ethical”? I will attempt to investigate these issues using my ways of knowing and examples from both ancient and my own culture.

To examine the affects of bias, I have to explore the meaning of knowledge on a personal basis. Knowledge for me is my experiences in practical and theoretical situations which I have the ability to reflect on in the future. Therefore in my eyes knowledge can be both the opinion of another person, or the general theory based information. The question is whether an opinion is more cogent than a source, if in fact belief is more significant than knowledge. If it is in fact so that belief, or opinion is more important than data then the answer to the question would be that yes, it is very possible to gain knowledge despite bias. However it may depend on the situation of this bias and so it is unclear to draw a conclusion about the importance of belief in regards to cognizance.

History can deliver a significant source of knowledge, where selection and bias both play a role when taking into account of the origin of the information. As an IB Student taking the history course one often encounters material and sources that are influenced by bias and selection, a common example is the question “Who caused World War One?”, the orthodox IGCSE view taken from textbooks is that it was Germany that was to blame. If one was to examine the other countries roles in the build up of tension like Britain one can begin to evaluate a subjective answer to this question.The frequent question therefore is whether this information should be used or is a viable source for knowledge when it could be prone to selection or skewed information. Discarding these sources would ultimately cripple the study of history, as almost all sources can be found to suffer from a degree of selection. As a completely objective historical source is unlikely, the claim that it is possible to gain knowledge despite bias is therefore legitimate.

The effects of bias on a source can be the selection of a detail that is than exaggerated, or even understated. An example of this is Thucydides, the legendary greek historian used selection to give the pure facts and information about the war between Athens and Sparta.He did not mention woman nor did he mention feelings emotions and opinions. This type of bias and selection is an example of when selection can enable the most amount of knowledge to be found. As the study of history relies heavily on material which suffers from bias, the ability to contrast these sources by an historian grants access to a deeper insight into the subject and so enabling more knowledge to me discovered. A knowledge claim would therefore be that bias itself can deliver knowledge. A counter claim to this statement is that it can be exaggerated to the point of distortion, meaning the actual knowledge is perfidious, and so the knowledge gained from bias can be of a different from the knowledge one has sought to attain. Nevertheless this is knowledge. One can recognize
the knowledge issue; “How much bias can be tolerated in sources during the process of attaining a certain knowledge?”.

As an artist I am instantly prone to bias and selection, in particular in the color. I use, the texture I create and the message that I specifically want to comment on from my own personal point of view. Therefore I have come to a conclusion that bias in art is knowledge. Art is a specific way to express emotions and feelings through different mediums, if this were to happen in a historical source for example, it would definitely be seen as a high degree of bias. Exaggeration also plays a huge role in the art- it helps the artist manipulate an event to make it more exciting, essentially the role of an artist is to use ones own bias to bend the information and mold it into a piece of acrylic on canvas or watercolor on paper. The claim therefore in art is not that you may gain knowledge despite bias, but rather that the selection and bias in art conveys the knowledge. A development of a piece of art is dependent on the artists perception on an event, the art created displayed both the artists opinion and the way he/she's opinion on the event as well as how he/she perceives the knowledge that is going to be conveyed. A example of this is “Liberty”,by Delacroixe – the famous painting which hangs in the Louvre depicts the victory of the french revolution, both summoning a feeling for the significance of the event and the emotion that followed. This is a personal aspect of knowledge that one can attain through art and its bias, a piece of artwork painted to depict the other side of this happening would definitely be in a more sinister style to conjure the grief about failure and loss. I have also experienced this as an artist when I indulge in a piece I use my personal opinion to express myself, conveying a statement with the use of hyperbole and bias to selectively manipulate my tools letting the viewer in turn grasp the message I am expressing.

A huge part of the history of Germany, the country which I live in- and in particular Bavaria is the Nazi reign and their effects on the art during the 1930s. As the culture is all around me, I chose to investigate the Nazi's affect on the artistic progression in Germany. I specifically investigated their bias. Hitler demanded a certain form of art to be labeled as acceptable-in particular the traditional impressionist styles that reflected what the Nazi's wanted to be their attributes; culture, pride, the beauty of the agriculture and cohesion for example. The expressionist movement was labeled as “Degenerate” and banished from being shown in Germany. For me this is the highest degree of selection, to actively pursue and cripple a form of knowledge in order to push forward the movement that one sees as right. From our point of view, looking back at the awful bias presented by Hitler, this clearly helps us attain knowledge about both the time period and the conditions during the 1930s in Germany. This brought me to the knowledge issue; “What bias is ethical?”. Is it a white lie, or extermination of a genre of art? Theoretically both can deliver the same amount of falsehood, and the question of whether it is ethical cannot be based on the significance of the source.

Having examined the claim I have attempted to prove that knowledge can be acquired using both history and art despite bias. I investigated from a wide variety of sources, ranging from the french revolution to Hitler's bias and developed knowledge issues. I drew up knowledge issues which are a significant part to whether or not the claim can be confirmed. The knowledge issue “What bias is ethical?” can determine whether the knowledge presented is one that we even want to attain, or one that is severely distorted. Another issue was “How much bias and selection can be tolerated in sources during the process of attaining a certain knowledge?” there is no specific degree of bias that I could pin point to be the line to draw when gaining knowledge, both purely objective as well as opinionated sources can deliver knowledge- which one is acceptable again ties into ethics. I claim was therefore difficult to answer, as one must take into consideration the context of the situation, and using this essay to prove that knowledge can be attained through my own selection is the last example of bias that I can present.
When should we discard explanations that are intuitively appealing?
Intuition, is it a way of obtaining knowledge? When I was a small child and lived in Denmark, my parents have heard from the teachers that if my twin brother got hurt when we were not close to each other, then I would get a gut feeling that my brother was hurt and I would usually arrive before the teachers would. This is usually referred to as the twin connection. However, this creates a problem with my initial perception of intuition. I used to perceive intuition as a sudden emotional reaction when experiencing an event and your intuition would provide knowledge and create an opinion immediately. The event from my childhood, however, suggests that I could obtain knowledge about my brother without being able to use any of my senses. It suggests that I perceived my brother through my own intuition, thus my brother’s knowledge was transferred from my brother to myself. Is intuition then not affected by what you perceive yourself, but by what is perceived by others? Can I then get asked a question and my intuition tell me what another person believes is the correct answer? I see it as human beings are connected together by our intuition and it is a way of transferring knowledge between us without any interaction. However, it is not something conscious, but it must come from the subconsciousness and it is therefore not possible to control. Knowledge will therefore be shared, but not necessarily with the people next to you. If the intuition is a subconscious connection between all the human beings on earth, then it seems like a database for the human mind in which it can access knowledge from. Does intuition influence the creation of knowledge? It is difficult to grasp where your intuition comes from and what the nature of it is. After examining memory my perception of intuition has changed. It is no longer knowledge created by you, but it is knowledge gained by sharing the knowledge between people subconsciously. The assumption in the title is that we should discard intuitively appealing explanations, but it wants me to consider “when”. I see an obvious answer, which is that we should discard them when they are wrong. This begs the question what influence intuition has on the creation of knowledge and whether the knowledge can be trusted. In our experienced world as human beings, there are various scenarios where the importance of your intuition varies greatly. Examples of when your intuition varies between natural and human science as well as the ways of knowing reason and emotion. These examples will help explore whether knowledge is created and if it is trustworthy.
The explanations of arguments in areas of knowledge such as natural science and visual arts are based on the interpretation of data and of art. When considering natural science then, it is based on the interpretation of data collected from various experiments. From the trends in the results and data, theories are created and the theories are tested to see whether they are true or not. The tests will come back with a clear answer to whether or not it is true. Visual art on the other hand is very difficult to interpret and I personally cannot see the difference in quality between paintings. It is therefore hard to determine the quality of a piece of art using language and it is usually not very precise and clear. The other difficult aspect is that two different people can interpret it differently depending on their environmental background and past experiences. I experience frequently that my mother tells me to wear a jumper because she feels cold and therefore assumes that I must be cold as well. This problem is easily avoided using a thermometer to determine the temperature. The value of the temperature cannot be felt as cold or warm it only represents a measurement. Natural science communicates through the language of mathematics and the advantage in mathematics compared to language is that it is clear and it can only be what it is. Language can easily be biased if the person prefers a certain artist then they will be biased when explaining why the painting is great. Mathematics on the other hand cannot be biased, since it can only be true or false and the opinion of the person interpreting it cannot affect it. In natural science, they often encounter an explanation that shifts the paradigm, but in art it is rare that an explanation shifts the paradigm. Should we then discard literature, art and other sources of knowledge, as their explanations are rarely final when searching for answers and meaning? We waste a lot of time on explanations that are appealing to us, because they seem plausible. Within that category lie intuitively appealing explanations. I therefore have to consider how intuitive explanations differ from other explanations? I think an intuitive explanation is the explanation I believe is true without using my consciousness to consider whether it is true or not. Intuitive explanations are therefore easily affected by language because it can appear to be biased. However, intuitive explanations are therefore reliable in the context of mathematics since mathematics is not biased. Intuitive explanations differ from other explanations in the way that they are affected by what context they are perceived.
I believe intuition is a source of knowledge and that it can be used to acquire knowledge and understanding. The knowledge gained from your intuition must come from somewhere, similar to the rest of the ways of knowing. However it is difficult to determine where the knowledge from these ways of knowing originate. Consider your emotions, when you look at objects an emotional response will emerge and provide you with knowledge of the object you perceive. It is difficult to fathom where this knowledge originates; one possible solution is that it is created by ourselves when we need it. Does intuition create knowledge? It is impossible to determine whether knowledge is created or discovered, because how can you determine whether you have created something or discovered it? Considering mathematics in the mentioned scenario, then it is not possible to create new mathematics but only to discover new relationships. However, in art it is possible to create new art. This leaves me in a dilemma, because depending on which way you approach it the answer changes. A similar pattern emerges, because just like mathematics and language then with natural science you can be precise and art there are a lot of uncertainties. Applying it to this example then the science based areas of knowledge do not believe that they discover new things, where the opposite side of the areas of knowledge believe they create new things. It is therefore impossible to determine whether knowledge is created or discovered since the perspective determines its nature. Consider that knowledge could be created then there would be an infinite amount of knowledge and we would never reach the limits of what is possible because new knowledge will continuously be created. On the other hand then if knowledge is discovered then we have a finite amount of knowledge we can gain, there is no way we can determine when we will reach the limit. I do not like the thought of knowledge being finite, because it means at one point there will be nothing new. Everything is known and there is nothing left to discover. I am left in a similar paradox as when determining whether something is created or discovered. Intuition suits these paradoxes because the nature of it is determined in which situation it is perceived. If we use intuition to acquire knowledge should it be regarded as another way of knowing? Intuition could be another way of knowing, because it is a source of knowledge like the rest of the ways of knowing. Intuition is not affected by the ways of knowing; therefore it must be a way of knowing since the areas of knowledge are influence by the ways of knowing.
Throughout this essay my perception of intuition and its nature has changed multiple times. In the beginning I believe it was an immediate emotional response to an event and it would provide you with knowledge. However, in my childhood I experienced that without any of my senses, my intuition could tell me that my brother was hurt. My perception of intuition then became a global connection between each human being in the world where knowledge was shared and could be downloaded when needed in the form of your intuition. Intuition ended as becoming a new way of knowing that would provide you with information in similar ways as the other ways of knowing. Even though intuition is now considered to be a way of knowing it does not mean that the knowledge gained from it is fully reliable, because one way of knowing does not necessarily cover everything. When should we discard explanations that are intuitively appealing? It is hard to determine when, because intuition does change depending on how it is perceived. The situation when an intuitively appealing explanation should be discarded will change depending on who perceives the explanation. The simple and obvious answer to the question remains unchanged and the answer is, when they are wrong. 
Theory Of Knowledge
Q2: Compare and contrast knowledge which can be expressed in words/symbols with knowledge that cannot be expressed in this way. Consider CAS and one or more areas of knowledge.
The question asks to compare both methods of expressing knowledge through words and symbols, and without. This creates a problem for me, for, to distinguish knowledge that can be expressed either with words and symbols or without, we need to redefine the terms used. To me, the word symbol is a very general word that can be used loosely in a lot of situations. What is important, however, is how a symbol can vary from something relatively simple, such as an indicator for a certain function or process, to something vast, destructively powerful, and emotionally awakening. So what is a symbol? Is a symbol the notes we read on sheets of music in order to play the melody of the piece, or is there some sort of subliminal truth of emotion and knowledge that can be expressed through the tones and sounds created by the instruments? Can we go further into saying that the perceiver interprets the emotions that arise from knowledge communicated, by either medium, uniquely? Or does the difference between the expression of knowledge being presented in words and symbols or without an expression of universal understanding?
If we look at history we can see the difference of symbols creating emotion through the expression of knowledge. In the IB’s history higher-level course, we learn about Russia under the Soviet-Union. We can see symbols being implemented by looking at flags. In Soviet Russia, the Hammer and Sickle was chosen to represent the workers and the farmers of Russia. Symbols were taken very seriously, for when Lenin and his fellow comrades were considering including a sword into the hammer and sickle seal, Lenin discarded the idea by saying “a sword is not our symbol”[4][1]. Lenin knew how powerful symbols can be, and he feared that the sword would be too visually aggressive, and support underlying ideas that the communists did not represent. The symbol of the hammer and sickle is much the same as the Nazi Swastika, here in Germany. Growing up here, I have taken it for granted that drawing Swastikas and doing the Hitler salute were absolute taboo. It is true that the Swastikas and Hitler salutes are illegal in Germany, as the post-war German laws prohibit any use of the swastika, whether it anti-Nazi or not. After the Second World War, the German government were afraid of being affiliated with Nazi Germany, and attempted to distance themselves of anything that could represent Nazism. Another example of this would be Hitler’s autobiography—although just compilation of words—the German government fears that the autobiography could potentially be powerful enough to spread an emotive idea. However, can we say that the swastika has the same effect on people who are completely disconnected to Germany’s history? Because our generation isn’t as affected to those who were present during the end of the war—or who have parents to tell them how it was—have the same attitude towards these symbols of the past? If so, can it be said that symbols are ephemeral, and their impact diminishes over time?
The arts also hold truths to whether knowledge can be expressed through words and symbols, or without. Looking at poetry, we are able to discover different opinion, thoughts, or feelings. Poetry is the expression of intensive feelings or ideas through different literary devices. If we look at war poems from Sassoon, Owen, or McRae, we can see the messages of life on the front portrayed poetically and metaphorically. Russian generals under Stalin’s command in the Second World War would not hesitate to commit genocide, however, these generals were fanatics over poetry, and the Russian poetry would move them more emotionally than the war did. Omar Khayyam recognized the power of written knowledge, by writing “The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ, Moves on: nor all they Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”[5][2] Though the power of written poetry intensifies our emotions and perspectives, one must also take into consideration the bias that poems also have. If we look at the war poems, it is important to investigate the poet, if you seek the knowledge of how life was like at war. During this time period, only the educated and elitist were able to express themselves through words. Because the majority of the soldiers drafted were unable to write to express their perspectives on the front, we can not know to what extent the literature we read is accurate in representing the atmosphere and emotions that all the soldiers were thinking. Because our, the knower’s, perspective is now fairly limited. This raises yet more questions as to, how are we able to address knowledge if only recently we were able to have the liberty to express ourselves freely?
One way to get closer to the answer is through music. Music does not require any form of education to express oneself, or any use of words. The symbols involved with music would be the notation of the scores, which can be read and played by musicians. However, there is knowledge in music that cannot be expressed in this way. The simplicity of a single tone is enough to alter emotions or introduce ideas. Look at meditation, for example. Only one note is played along side the spoken “om”, which defines as a sacred syllable from Hinduism. In its simplicity, an understanding of the Brahman’s knowledge is expressed through this one syllable. However, other pieces of music seem to be completely unrelated but still share the quality of expressing knowledge. Although it seems simplicity and clarity is intrinsic for exploring within, other songs demonstrate vast complexity to express opinions and perspectives much like poetry does. To return Russia in the Second World War, the so-called Leningrad Blockade was the source of inspiration for Shostakovich’s 7th symphony “Leningrad”. The piece is known for representing the siege of Leningrad, however, much like war poets; Shostakovich’s perspective on the siege wasn’t representational for the city of Leningrad. The beauty and complexity of the piece do not hold an account for the starvation of Leningrad’s citizens, who were forced to cannibalism.
We often learn in history about the dates and statistics of historical events. Although this expresses knowledge, it does not address the perspectives and emotions of the time period. One example of this is the famous statistic of six million Jews executed in the Holocaust. If I am brutally honest, this number means nothing to me. I am not a Jew, nor have I, or my family, been affected by any external force, which radically changes the way we live. This is not to say that I have no feelings towards the subject, it is only that through the use of words and symbols, as given to me in class, the statistic is no more to me than a statistic. It is, to me, another set of numbers. However, I took a trip to Dachau concentration camp, just outside my hometown Munich. My experience there is one that history textbooks cannot teach. I remember the day in detail, seeing the barracks where the häftlinge slept. I remember going through an exhibition full of medical equipment that were used on camp attendees. What struck me most, however were the photos of committed suicides within the camp. The few photos I saw of these created a much greater impact on me than any statistic has done. The knowledge I gained was because of experience there, to enter the places you read and hear about. This is also what I find fantastic about the CAS program. Unlike all the other classes I take, CAS presents an opportunity for me to experience knowledge, rather that to attain through written works and symbols. CAS, although uses a fair deal of words and symbols is also constructed on a basis for one to find a path of self-discovery that simply cannot be put into words.
Before writing this essay, I expected not to conclude on a definitive answer. However, what I did not expect to discover is that, through looking at different examples of expressing knowledge with or without words and symbols, that there is no answer to the question at all. That there is no clear distinction from knowledge communicated from words and symbols or without. The problem that has arisen from writing this essay is that now the question seems black and white. There either is knowledge expressed through words and symbols, or there is knowledge that isn’t expressed through words and symbols. What I found, through all the examples given, is that knowledge is what the knower perceives it be. To express one’s knowledge—through any medium—and expect others to understand it flawlessly is unfathomable. The knowledge that we, the knowers, interpret depends entirely on the knower. The hammer, sickle, and sword would not have made a difference to me whether the Soviet Union had decided to use it, despite it’s aggressive qualities. However, to another individual the symbol of the sword may have changed their whole perspective on the Soviet Union and its intentions and qualities. This brings about my concluding knowledge issue: we all attain knowledge, and wish to express it, however, can we know how our knowledge that we express will ever be received as we interpreted it? How can we know what expressions in our knowledge will be taken in as we intended them to? As Socrates tackled this question by answering: “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”.

[1][1] Barber, Nigel. "Is Religion Just a Downer?" Psychology Today. 16 Feb. 2012. Web. .
[2][2] Adams, Guy. "Brazil Rocked by Abortion for 9-year-old Rape Victim." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 09 Mar. 2009. Web. .
[3][3] Dold, Kristen. "Fake Pill, Real Power." Women's Health Dec. 2011: 128-31. Print.