What is Art? Final IA


Film Planning Doc


Estimated Timing of Pres 10 minutes


Resource: Does Nail Art Prove That Anything Can Be A Canvas For Artistic Expression?


Topic (why is it significant?): Defining art

Essential Question: What is art?


1.     What is the real life situation under consideration?

Looking at the many functional objects that surround us everyday and are designed for aesthetic appeal, we can question whether or not these objects are art.


2.     What is the TOK knowledge issue(s) (questions) that will be the focus of your presentation?

What is art? What constitutes artistic knowledge? Does functionality negate artistic value? Does art have its own function? Is it necessary to define art? Is a universal definition of art possible?

a.     How will you identify the knowledge issue(s)?

I will identify the knowledge issues by providing examples of situations that prompt these inquiries and then explain the larger idea and concepts that they represent.


b.     How will you show your personal perspective?

I will use examples that are personal to my life.


c.     How will you make connections to other Ways of Knowing or Areas of Knowledge?

I will talk about how art interacts with and uses emotions, reasoning, and perception to produce and spread knowledge. I will use the other areas of knowledge to examine if works in these areas can be considered art.


d.     How will you examine the knowledge claims and possible counterclaims (i.e different perspectives)? Tip: ask yourself, what would someone who disagrees with the claim say, and what reasons would he give? What about someone from a different culture, age group, religion, class, educational background?

I will make knowledge claims about if we can define art in the first place, how useful it is to define art, and how one would go about doing so. I will use counter-claims made by other philosophers and artists about how they define art.


e.     How will you examine the implications of knowledge?

I will examine the implications of this knowledge by examining how our definition of art affects how we produce art and how we obtain knowledge from it.


f.      If there is bias, how will you examine that? What about assumptions and presuppositions?

I will examine the bias we have to what is traditionally considered art: sculptures, paintings, musical composition, dance, etc. I will examine our assumption that the only type of art is what is traditionally considered “the arts”.


Type of Presentation: (list all that will apply)

(all possibilities)



Items you will need (e.d handouts, costumes, script, projector):

(all possibilities)

Microphone, computer, camera, supplies for filming (paper, pen, objects


TOK Presentation Planning Doc

Group member: Jacob Steiner and Zoe Cook

Estimated Timing of Pres: 20 minutes


Resource: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbNymweHW4E


Topic (why is it significant?): Math

Essential Question: Is mathematics discovered or created?


1.     What is the real life situation under consideration?

  • is math worth studying? does the origin of the knowledge affect whether or not its worth studying?

2.     What is the TOK knowledge issue(s) (questions) that will be the focus of your presentation?

  • Is mathematics created by humans or discovered from the natural world?

  • Does the way we perceive knowledge affect what it “actually” is? Is it “actually” anything?

3.     Write a summary in note form (like a bulleted list) of the way you plan to deal with the


a.     How will you identify the knowledge issue(s)?

  • clearly identify the two main knowledge questions and explain what exactly they mean, giving the example of mathematics (as shown in the video)

b.     How will you show your personal perspective?

  • examples of knowledge that we have learned in our classes

c.     How will you make connections to other Ways of Knowing or Areas of Knowledge?

  • an examination of each of the Areas of Knowledge and whether they are created or intrinsically existent

  • mathematics (duh)

  • history (two Nikola Teslas video, maybe)

  • the arts/ethics (math as an aesthetic, Alain Badiou)

  • sense perception’s lack of ability to connect to math


d.     How will you examine the knowledge claims and possible counterclaims (i.e different perspectives)? Tip: ask yourself, what would someone who disagrees with the claim say, and what reasons would he give? What about someone from a different culture, age group, religion, class, educational background?

  • “mathematics is created” and “mathematics is discovered” are counterclaims to one another, so each will be examined with respect to the other, including schools of thought and philosophers from each side

e.     How will you examine the implications of knowledge?

  • what does it mean is knowledge is not intrinsic, but created? does it make knowledge worth any less? does it affect the way we will use knowledge?

f.      If there is bias, how will you examine that? What about assumptions and presuppositions?

  • bias towards wanting knowledge to be external, to be discovered, that we aren’t just making up things to

Type of Presentation: Prezi?


Items you will need (e.d handouts, costumes, script, projector):

projector, notes, computer


The Burning House

The Burning House

1. My framed and autographed picture of Michael (a rational decision, because once he’s famous, it’ll be worth millions) 2. My Tinkerbell box (a rational decision, because it doesn’t actually contain any childhood memories but rather my money) 3. My … Continue reading

Chapter 2 Study Guide

1.    The first 3 paragraphs on page 64 list some ways in which we reason. Think about your day (or yesterday). Using the terms as a guide, try to write down all the specific ways you used reasoning. For example, if you worked on some math problems for an hour or decided which sandwich to buy…perhaps you predicted the surf conditions before you headed out!

  • We all use reasoning as a way of knowing to make decisions in our everyday lives. For example, today I had to decide what course of action to take when my alarm went off. I could turn it off and get up, turn it off and stay in bed, press snooze, or ignore it entirely. I had to decide what clothes to wear, whether or not to take coffee with breakfast, how much to eat, and what books to take to school. Once at school, I had to use reason to decide which parts of history class were important enough to write down in my notes and which were simply details. I had to decide what to do in free period and what to eat for snack. Now, in TOK, I have to choose between three assignments to work on and reason my way through prioritizing.

2.    Curate an article or video on cognitive computing or cognition in general that appeals to you. Perhaps you want to find something that has to do with the relationship between REASONING and other WAYS OF KNOWING (emotions, sense perception, and language). Post and comment on.

  • http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200107/iq-the-test
  • I thought that this article was very interesting in that it examined intelligence not just as what exactly it affects in life but what exactly in life affects it. We consider our intelligence level to be a very central part of our personality and yet so many small things can affect our IQ score. For example, the type of school lunch that I ate as a child. I certainly would have never considered that it would affect my intelligence, or that my intelligence would then affect the money I would make throughout my life.

3.    Think of a GENERALIZATION you have made or heard recently (see pg. 68). Can you describe some examples of harmful generalizations?

  • I am generally very opposed to generalizations. You hear them all the time and not just in obvious situations like stereotypes. Generalizations often come in the form of life advice or philosophies. “You can do whatever you set your heart to,” “everything happens for a reason”, “if you aren’t living on the edge you’re taking up too much space”, etc. Philosophies and advice like this are harmful because they don’t apply to all situations equally.

5.    Make up your own variables (actual words) for P and Q in the DEDUCTIVE REASONING exercise on page 70.  (just try this out so it makes more sense) – I tried “Swedes” and “blonde”.

  • All apples are red. This statement can be negated by: Some apples are not red.

6.    What are the 2 KEY ASSERTIONS of deductive reasoning? What is the MAJOR DISTINCTION between “Validity” and “Truth”?

  • If the argument is valid and all premises are true, then the conclusion must be true.
  • If the conclusion of an argument is not true, then either the argument is invalid or at least one of the premises is false.
  • Validity depends solely on the on the form of the statement or the argument, whereas truth examines the context and the meaning of the statement or argument.

7.    Pick up one of your textbooks OR find an article on an online newspaper. Identify its premises and its conclusion. Look for key word hints, such as those located at the top of page 73.  Are there any implicit premises (those not stated explicitly but implied)?  (***note: premises are sometimes called “assumptions”)

·      Is the major premise of the argument true? How could one find out?

·      Is the argument valid? How would you know?

·      Assuming that the minor premise is true , is the conclusion true? How do you know? (see page 74 for help)

8.    Construct your OWN deductive argument or “SYLLOGISM” using the template in the middle of page 73. (remember to go from general to particular…)

  • All homework is hard.
  • This assignment is homework.
  • This assignment is hard.

9.    Construct your OWN FALLACY, or invalid deductive argument, similar to the one on page 74-5.

  • All dogs are soft.
  • My cat is soft.
  • My cat is a dog.

11. In your own words, how does INDUCTIVE reasoning differ from deductive reasoning? Can you provide an example of how you personally have used inductive reasoning recently? (see page 76)

  • Inductive reasoning could be considered deductive reasoning backwards. With inductive reasoning, you start with individual examples and then are able to arrive at a general conclusion, whereas with deductive reasoning you start with a general rule and then apply it to individual instances. Personally, I have recently used inductive reasoning to conclude from the evidence of being tired on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after staying up late that I will be tired at school the next day if I stay up late.

12.  In the last paragraph of page 77, the author states “Much of our knowledge about the natural sciences is based on generalizations backed by repeated observation of phenomena”. Can you provide an example of CLASSICAL induction from your own science courses (group 4)?

  • The phases of DNA replication and the enzymes used have been demonstrated through repeated observation.

13. Try the “random percentage” experiment discussed in the Statistics area of page 78. Type in 3 different random percentages into Google – what do you get? Try to find a statistic with a percentage via Twitter.

  • An average of 54% of assaults in the last five years were not reported.
  • Juvenile crimes in Mumbai up 34% last year.
  • Approximately 78% of the volume of the atmosphere is nitrogen.

14.  Find an INFOGRAPHIC that not only offers statistics, but “tells the story” or offers correlations (see page 79).

15. Provide an example of ANALOGICAL REASONING from your own life. How likely are you to trust your own results, on a scale of 0 to 10?

  • I used analogical reasoning today when I decided what to buy for lunch. Having previously bought several of the concession stand options, I trusted myself to about a 9/10 to chose something that I would enjoy again.

17.  Curate a TED TALK (http://www.ted.com ) that highlights the use of CREATIVE REASONING (pg. 82), post and provide a brief overview. (***you might want to check out TED MED at the top)

  • http://www.ted.com/talks/alexa_meade.html
  • This style of painting is certainly a way of “thinking outside the box”, as the book describes creative reasoning. By taking a creative approach to the typical problem of portraying someone using paint, the speaker is utilizing this particular skill, even though painting may not seem like reasoning of any kind.

18.  Look around your bedroom OR your laptop: In what ways do you classify things? What is the method to your madness? Describe some common classifications in the AOKS (Areas of Knowledge, i.e. all your courses). Can you think of an example where technology or advances in science/ newfound “knowledge” has changed the classification system?

  • All my books go on the bookshelf. All my college letters go on the floor. All the clothes that are recently washed are on the chair, the rest are in the dresser or the closet. The clothes that belong to other people go on the shelf. The old school supplies go under the bookshelf and the useless items go in the second closet.
  • Biology has lots of classifications (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_classification) and it is a very important part of learning about species to be able to relate them to similar groups of organisms.
  • Classification systems have to change all the time in order to accommodate new discoveries. The largest change in taxonomy was made my Linneas, a Swedish biologist, in 1753 when he implemented the standard naming procedure we know today.

20. Pages 86-7 discuss the dangers of classification, i.e. racism, stereotypes, and other prejudices. CURATE a relatively recent ARTICLE or VIDEO  that highlights an instance of one of these issues.

21. What stereotypes, generalizations, or prejudices do you think you have?

  • Unfortunately, like everyone, I use generalizations to help understand something about people before I actually have a chance to get to know them. I try not to do this consciously or use these generalizations as the basis for any of my actions, however. If you are rich and displaying it obviously through clothes, cars, or your home, I will probably assume you’re either oblivious or a snob. If you’re much more into sports than you are school, I will assume certainly things about you there as well. And if you like the same TV shows as me, I will assume that you’re a wonderful person with a great sense of humor and taste.

22. TRY IT OUT: Take Harvard’s Race or Gender TEST: http://www.understandingprejudice.org/iat/ OR the Diet and Lifestyle or Race and Advertising TEST at http://www.understandingprejudice.org/drawline/

  • When I read my results (that I had a slight association with women/family and men/career), I was slightly disappointed but not particularly surprised. Yes, I don’t consciously think that women should stay at home and men should work. But years upon years of that being the cultural norm has (unsurprisingly) left an impact.
  • I don’t think that this test says something that I ought to be particularly concerned about. I’m already aware that, like everyone, I do make unfair associations but I do my very best to not base any of my actions on these instincts but rather to use rational thought.
  • I didn’t really question the validity of the test. Despite the fact that I would have liked to have been told I had no bias, I did recognize that there is at least a slight association that I have. However, I don’t necessarily think that the test is valid in that it proves you are a racist, sexist monster who must learn to change their ways.
  • Just watching TV or movies provides countless examples of women in the home and men in their careers, and any aversion of this is noted as unusual and perhaps especially feminist or progressive.

Summer Curation


This video deals with the Area of Knowledge of Ethics, specifically the ethics of artificial intelligence. This is a topic that has, in the past, been discussed many times and led to much debate because of the complexity and how completely unfamiliar it is to any ethical questions raised before. This video, however, argues that it is not completely unlike any knowledge issue before. It specifically compares artificial intelligence to other inventions of the past that were groundbreaking and changed the way our society functioned. It brings up the printing press, which would forever change communication and help spark social and cultural changes. When I looked at my knowledge of history and helped to find a similar step forward in technology with unforeseen societal consequences, I thought of the cotton gin, a machine which had a large impact on the agriculturally-focused, antebellum south of the United States, not only allowing for greater yields but also increasing the practice of slavery. In the video, the atomic bomb is mentioned as an example of technological advance with horrific results. However, the video mentions philosopher Alain Badiou who argues that these technological events, these breakthroughs are necessary for “progress”. Not attempting to create these moments (such as the creation of artificial intelligence) and create progress is unethical. The topic that the video is handling is obviously complex. It is acknowledged that progress is not always good (harkening back to the atomic bomb example, as countries are now trying to regress in a way by reducing the number of weapons of mass destructions they possess).  However, we can hardly know which inventions will change society forever in a net positive way and which in a net negative way. Does this mean we should fear technological innovation and progress? Does this mean it is ever ethical to avoid progress, though it may lead to better lives for future generations?

Though the video does speak broadly about technology and progress, it is primarily about the issue of artificial intelligence. It brings up the concern of robots eventually taking the jobs of humans. Not just the menial jobs which are necessary for survival but more intellectual jobs as well, such as teachers and lawyers and doctors. Though he doesn’t focus much on a world in which this is true, I can’t help but question what this world would be like. What would be left for the humans? If we no longer are needed to provide services to the world, do we no longer have jobs? How is money addressed if we cannot work? Are the only jobs available “creative” jobs that artificial intelligence cannot fill, such as philosopher or artist? Is this world, where everyone is unburdenedby working/unnecessary, a utopia or perhaps a dystopia?