(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OSC TOK blog) Mathematician Alex Bellos was intensely irritated by the question. Was that person in the audience mocking him, or possibly ridiculing what he’d been saying about mathematics, to ask such a bizarre and irrelevant question at the end of his lecture? The audience member had asked him, as others had done before, “What’s your favourite number?” In this podcast conversation from Radiolab, Bellos describes his abrupt shift of perspective as he realizes that the questioner is asking in sincerity. Quickly, he discovers that half the members of his audience have “favourite numbers”. And so begins his own investigation into emotional and imaginative associations with numbers, and the non-rational characteristics that many people attribute to a numbering system he had previously seen exclusively in terms of reason.
Dombrowski, Rotenberg, Bick. Theory of Knowledge IB Course Companion. Oxford University Press, 2013.
Hi from Eileen!
- analysis arts cause classification cognitive bias concepts/language confirmation bias critical thinking definitions emotion ethics evidence facts fallacies history human sciences imagination implications indigenous knowledge intuition knowing how knowledge claims knowledge questions language literature mathematics media memory methodology natural sciences perspectives psychology reason sense perception shared knowledge sources statistics symbolic representation truth ways of knowing
Dombrowski, Rotenberg, Bick. TOK Spanish translation. Teoría del Conocimiento, Libro del Alumno. Oxford University Press, 2015.
- 2018 TOK blog posts compiled for download
- Facts and feelings: knowing better by knowing ourselves
- TOK Book Review: The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake.
- Engaging TOK with the world…but softly
- TOK double vision: lofty overview but critical engagement in the world
- Retraction of major research on eating: a failure in scientific methodology, or a corrective in the process?
- “Crisis of authentication”: true art, false art, and the science of detection
- TOK Ethics: balancing detachment and engagement
- “Deepfakes” and TOK: more trouble ahead for critical thinking?
- “Stay cool. TOK teachers can handle this.” Astrology & belief.
- “Art is dialogue about difficult subjects”
- Want to download TOK resources? I’m getting myself organized.
- Sense perception: Yanny or Laurel?
- A TOK class for exam month: mathematics, nature, art, technology…and peaceful contemplation of beauty
- “But then I checked the facts… “
- Exercise for awareness: facts, feelings, and changing your mind
- Biases, fallacies, argument: Would you argue with a T-rex?
- (Dis)trusting statistics: a one-page guide
- Facts matter after all: rejecting the “backfire effect”
- History: writing the past, drafting the future
- “Fake news”: updating TOK critique
- “How am I supposed to appreciate it?” Art, science, and some silly assumptions
- Download TOK resource: 2017 TOK blog posts, collected
- “2017, a good year”: Wasn’t it?
- “Those experts!”: cartoon, class discussion activity
- Signed language, symbolism, and reflections on inclusion
- Do Nobel prizes distort public understanding of scientific knowledge?
- SPOT and the cloak of invisibility: cognitive biases
- That event in the past: what do we make it signify in the present?
- Sharing knowledge – effectively!
- Standing at the Centre of the World: TOK class discussion (with handout)
- PS to “This is the nature of science.”
- “This is the nature of science.”
- Indigenous Knowledge: not a separable area of knowledge
- Controversy in the Canada Day Party: analyzing perspectives for understanding
- Love, betrayal, and physics: “Everything goes better with narrative”
- Consuming the news: Is knowing harder than dieting?
- Love, luck, literature, and logic: Who will win the lady?
- “Moral robots” and that messy human factor
- Red lines and “complex moral duality”: TOK and ethics of witnessing
the essential question of knowledgeThe question “How do we know?” drives inquiry. When we ask it with the stress on the last word – know — it opens up overview questions on the very nature of knowledge and the forms it takes. When we ask it with the stress on the first word – how? – it takes an analytical edge applied to methods of giving answers. In this blog, we follow this question — sometimes seriously, sometimes lightheartedly — through issues and stories of our day.