Monday, March 27, 2017

TOK 2, Day 72 (3/27): An Introduction to Ethics



First, let us watch this short video about "The Trolley Problem." As you watch, consider the following three questions:

  1. How would you behave in the first situation?
  2. How would you behave in the second situation?
  3. What, if any, difference do you understand there to be between the two?


Where do you see these ethical decisions cropping up in real life?


What other, similar, moral/ethical choices could you uncover by further modifying the trolley problem?

Here's Existential Comics' Take.


If we have time, we can watch Sam Harris's TEDTalk, "Science Can Answer Moral Questions." 

I'll also invite you to read "The Moral Instinct," by Stephen Pinker.

Finally, we might like to work our way through some of this Awesome Ethics Prezi.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

TOK 1, Day 71 (3/22): Writing Workshop - Thing Theory


Today, we will begin by sharing our beginning thoughts regarding the writing assignment.

  • Each person will take 1-2 minutes to lay the groundwork for their focus.  You should begin by
    • Identifying the topic you plan to address (this is the object or piece of knowledge around which you will build your response)
    • Talk a bit about the dialectical interaction that you see taking place across the human/nonhuman divide.
    • Talk a bit about your ideas regarding the "Visual Mapping" of your concept
    • Ask questions of the group about things you aren't sure of yet.
  • After each person shares, we will take a few minutes to "workshop" the idea. During this time, you have the opportunity to:
    • Ask for clarity regarding particular points
    • Share what thinking these ideas inspired in you ("that makes me think...", "and also...", "yeah, but...", "oo-oo, you could...")
    • Ask directional questions to guide further thinking ("have you considered...", "how does that relate to...")

For the second half of class, you will have time to write.  Please use your time wisely, and work quietly.  I will be finishing your Midterm Conferences (eek!)

  • The writing assignment is below.  It is due by Sunday.
  • Friday we will have a guest speaker from UWG who will talk about what it's like growing up in India.
Written Response Options:

  1. Follow the line of thinking suggested by Clark and Chalmers: Choose a specific piece of knowledge and consider how your understanding of it extends into the world around you. Your choice of topic should be concrete and specific enough to be manageable within the word-limit, but should be compelling and suggestive enough to give you some interesting things to say. Consider:
    1. Procedural knowledge: your understanding of HOW TO DO SOMETHING is very often tied up with the actual materials that you are manipulating in the world.
    2. Shared Knowledge Constructs: your understanding of HOW THE WORLD WORKS is often embedded in the objects around you.
    3. Identity: Your personality and the perceptions you convey about WHO YOU ARE are very often bound up with the things that you use, wear, and do. 
  2. Follow the line of thinking suggested by Latour: Choose a specific object in the world and investigate the social functions of the object.  Again, pick an object that is CONCRETE and specific enough to do some interesting thinking within the word limit (Consider how much Latour was able to say about a simple door closer).
    1. What human work does it do? 
    2. What assumptions does it make.  
    3. What action does it prescribe back on us? 
    4. What opportunities does it open, and which possibilities does it foreclose?
For both responses, create a visual map of the synthesis that you are attempting.


Monday, March 20, 2017

TOK 1, Day 70 (3/20): Mixing Humans and Nonhumans


Let's talk through "Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together: The Sociology of a Door Closer"

Then, you can begin working on your next writing assignment for me.  You have two options for this assignment:

  1. Follow the line of thinking suggested by Clark and Chalmers: Choose a specific piece of knowledge and consider how your understanding of it extends into the world around you. Your choice of topic should be concrete and specific enough to be manageable within the word-limit, but should be compelling and suggestive enough to give you some interesting things to say. Consider:
    1. Procedural knowledge: your understanding of HOW TO DO SOMETHING is very often tied up with the actual materials that you are manipulating in the world.
    2. Shared Knowledge Constructs: your understanding of HOW THE WORLD WORKS is often embedded in the objects around you.
    3. Identity: Your personality and the perceptions you convey about WHO YOU ARE are very often bound up with the things that you use, wear, and do. 
  2. Follow the line of thinking suggested by Latour: Choose a specific object in the world and investigate the social functions of the object.  Again, pick an object that is CONCRETE and specific enough to do some interesting thinking within the word limit (Consider how much Latour was able to say about a simple door closer).
    1. What human work does it do? 
    2. What assumptions does it make.  
    3. What action does it prescribe back on us? 
    4. What opportunities does it open, and which possibilities does it foreclose?
For both responses, create a visual map of the synthesis that you are attempting.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

TOK 1, Day 69 (3/16): Core Thursday

CAS:

  • Review feedback from Mrs. Lawler
  • Add to CAS Reflections
  • Plan future CAS
  • CAS Experiences for me:
    • Box Books
    • IB Scrapbook
    • Hang Art in Hallway
Extended Essay:
  • Research! 
    • It's time to MOVE BEYOND GOOGLE
    • Use the Media Center's website/databases to locate SCHOLARLY MATERIAL
    • Dig deeper - try to find THEORY to help support your DETAILS
  • Complete Formal Research Proposal (available on the IB Extended Essay Website)
  • Make your thinking Visible! (RRS)
OR, you can be reading the Latour Article (Due Monday)

I will continue conferences.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

TOK 1, Day 68 (3/14): Intro to Bruno Latour


Bruno Latour is a french academic who worked in what he (and others since him) have called Science Studies.  Latour is a sort of sociologist of science, which means that he is interested in understanding the ways that Science and Scientific understanding are Socially constructed.

Latour's is a particularly compelling perspective for us in the TOK, since he disputes the naive idea that Science = Facts or that Scientific thinking is necessarily more attuned to "Truth" or "The way things really are."  He is interested in uncovering assumptions in scientific thinking, and looking at how Science operates to organize our ways of thinking about the world.  He takes for granted that Westereners (in particular, Western intellectuals and academics and, to a lesser extent, policy makers) tend to organize their world under the assumption that Science = rationalism = better.

In "Mixing Humans and Nonhumans: The Sociology of a Door Closer", Latour has fun deconstructing the (as it turns out, somewhat arbitrary) division between what we think of as human and nonhuman

As you read Latour's Essay

  • Consider the ways that Latour links human action to nonhuman things (in particular, to technologies, which he calls techniques)
  • Consider the ways that he creates continuities of action and agency where we might assume divisions/binaries exist. This continuity is central to Latour's broader "Actor-Network Theory" which has influenced contemporary theories of Economics, Ecology, Sociology and Psychology)
  • Keep track of Latour's "Vocabulary", which he sets out carefully in order to "create a common language".
    • Write down the words he uses, and a working definition/meaning
    • many of these words appear in italics, though not all do.
    • One early example is "delegation"
While you are reading, I will be conferencing with you.

Monday, March 6, 2017

TOK 1, Day 66 (3/7): Binaries and the Dialectic


Let's begin by discussing briefly any new/interesting ideas from the Homework Reading about Binaries. 

Then, we'll compare notes on the Hegel Video.


Finally, I'll suggest a method, proposed most famously by Hegel, for unpacking and deconstructing these mental binaries, uncovering their assumptions, and creating a new and more perfect world. This method is known as

The Dialectic

Don't Forget your Blog Essay HW! (Due Sunday)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Day 64 (3/1): Deconstructing Binaries


We can begin by watching any Ethnographies that might have been submitted since last class.

Then, we will begin a discussion on Deconstructing Binaries.

Homework: