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ARE DIFFERENT VIEWS OF KNOWLEDGE POSSIBLE? THE KNOWER'S PERSPECTIVE
Einstein vs. Chaplin.jpg



Introduction:

In this unit we will return to our examination of the knower and explore how our perspective influences what we value, how we interact with the external world and to what extent we influence reality. This unit calls upon you to reflect on your assumptions and understandings as a knower/learner so you can discern to what extent "objective truth" can ever be obtained. Our unit will be driven by the below questions:


Essential Questions


1. To what extent is mathematics a product of human social interaction? What is the role of the mathematical community in determining the validity of a mathematical proof? Why is it that mathematics is considered to be of different value in different cultures?

2. Can human behaviour be usefully classified and categorized? Can it be classified within a culture? Across cultures? Can patterns of behaviour be identified as human behaviour? Within a culture? What beliefs or prejudices might be involved in our answers to these questions?

3. Is science, or ought it to be, value-free? What implications does your answer have for the regulation of science? For example: Who should decide whether particular directions in research are pursued? Who should determine priorities in the funding of research?

4 .About whom is history written? Are the lives of some groups of people more historically significant than the lives of others? Why do selected past events appear in books as historically important while others are ignored?

5. What knowledge of art can be gained by focusing attention on its social, cultural or historical context? To what extent do power relationships determine what art or whose art is valued? Is all art essentially a product of a particular place and time in terms of its subject matter and conventions of expression? Does art become obsolete? Is art understood more fully by emphasizing what all cultures have in common rather than by stressing what is unique to each?

6. How may moral dilemmas arise? Is it possible for an individual to act in a morally justifiable way within a context of restricted choice, oppression, or corruption? To what extent may the circumstances of people’s lives excuse actions that might be condemned by society’s moral principles? Can respect for a culture, in harmony with principles of tolerance and openness, be reconciled with a condemnation of specific practices within that culture, on the basis of other principles?

For more questions from each of the AOK's check out the Subject Guide Questions:

MATHEMATICS AND THE KNOWER
HUMAN SCIENCES AND VALUES
NATURAL SCIENCES AND VALUES
HISTORY AND VALUES
THE ARTS AND KNOWLEDGE PERSPECTIVES
ETHICS AND KNOWLEDGE PERSPECTIVES

Assessment

The summative assessment for this unit will allow you to practice your writing in TOK to help you develop an awareness of your perspective
and the implications of this view. As you are aware in order to be successful in both the essay and the presentation, a TOK student needs to show an awareness of their view and be able to effectively evaluate the strengths and limitations of their view. For this assessment, you will create a 1200-1600 word response to the question:

What is the key to living a "good" life?In your answer you should make reference to two areas of knowledge and one way of knowing

In order to answer this question, you are going to develop a position statement that presents your "key". You should develop your response with clear evidence that you have gathered/researched and all researched examples need to be documented using MLA format. The goal of the assessment is for you to reflect and explain how you came up with your key to a good life and how your own life experience has shaped your view. You will be assessed using the TOK Essay Rubric, so you should take time to re-read the success criteria and guidance for writing the TOK essay.



All essays will due Thursday October 10th.



Unit Calendar
Week
Objectives
Activities and Resources
WEEK 1
To what extent is mathematics a product of human social interaction? What is the role of the mathematical community in determining the validity of a mathematical proof? Why is it that mathematics is considered to be of different value in different cultures?


Ted Talk on Teaching Math Without Words

Homework Task:
Develop a 2-3 paragraph response to the question:
To what extent has your culture impacted your understanding of mathematics?
Week 2
Can human behaviour be usefully classified and categorized? Can it be classified within a culture? Across cultures? Can patterns of behaviour be identified as human behaviour? Within a culture? What beliefs or prejudices might be involved in our answers to these questions?

Is science, or ought it to be, value-free? What implications does your answer have for the regulation of science? For example: Who should decide whether particular directions in research are pursued? Who should determine priorities in the funding of research?
The Problem of Being at Third Culture Kid
31 Signs You're a TCK How Many of These Apply to You

More Information of TCK's

Class Discussion: How does an ambiguity of cultural identity impact how we view the world and the knowledge claims that are made?



Gallery of Problems of Culture in Human Sciences

Class Discussion: Is it possible to eliminate all bias/cultural perspective from the study of humans?
What about the natural sciences? If so, how? If not, why not?
Week 3
About whom is history written? Are the lives of some groups of people more historically significant than the lives of others? Why do selected past events appear in books as historically important while others are ignored?

What knowledge of art can be gained by focusing attention on its social, cultural or historical context? To what extent do power relationships determine what art or whose art is valued? Is all art essentially a product of a particular place and time in terms of its subject matter and conventions of expression? Does art become obsolete? Is art understood more fully by emphasizing what all cultures have in common rather than by stressing what is unique to each?






Variation on Activity # 2 (Teacher Resource)


China Week

Week 4
How may moral dilemmas arise? Is it possible for an individual to act in a morally justifiable way within a context of restricted choice, oppression, or corruption? To what extent may the circumstances of people’s lives excuse actions that might be condemned by society’s moral principles? Can respect for a culture, in harmony with principles of tolerance and openness, be reconciled with a condemnation of specific practices within that culture, on the basis of other principles?

Introduce Summative Assessment
Ethical Dilemmas and Knower's Perspective

Extension Resource
Science Can Answer Our Ethical Dilemmas
Week 5
Complete Essay
Assignment Sheet for Summative Essay