The Economists of Good and Evil?

In 2009 a book about economics appeared in the Czech language which soon became an international best seller and challenged many of the assumptions which underpin modern economics as both an academic subject and as a science of official policy. The book was Tomas Sedlacek’s The Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street (Eng. Ed. OUP, 2011). In it, Sedlacek does what every TOK student should do when exploring any discipline, namely ...

Written by cats and a hamster

It's Extended Essay time in the Northern Hemisphere (perhaps it's always Extended Essay time everywhere), and I'm sure that all students and supervisors are scrutinizing resources very carefully. How careful do you have to be? I thought I'd share these news stories... F.D.C. Willard's pawprint In 1975, The American physicist and mathematician Jack H. Hetherington, at Michigan State University, wanted to publish some of his research results in the field of low–temperature physics in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters. A colleague, who was ...

Scientific Morality?

Can Science provide a better basis for morality than other forms of human knowledge such as religion, psychology or philosophy? A look at the history of moral philosophy shows that by and large every significant contribution to ethics has come primarily from philosophers or theologians. It is not until the late twentieth/early twenty first century that some scientists have proposed that science can be a better basis for ethics, in other words that the answer to the question “how can ...

Is it fake nature, or is it a story?

First, I'd like to explore the "Is it fake nature" part of my post's title: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMZlr5Gf9yY "The 1958 Disney documentary into lemmings that won the academy award. Footage of lemmings jumping off cliffs was later found out to be faked. Edited version just showing the fake footage." My guess is that most of you reading this post are not old enough to have watched the above television show when it was first broadcast in 1958.  (I will admit that I remember it vividly.  It ...

What Then Must We Do?

A man pounds the keys of a typewriter in a frenzy, clearly in a state of heightened anguish. The words he types repeatedly, “What then must we do?” come from the Gospel of Luke (3.10 – 14), words which also inspired the title of a book by Leo Tolstoy on the causes of and possible solutions to extreme poverty. The man is a reporter in 1960s Indonesia where the government of President Sukarno seems oblivious to the fate of millions ...

Doing good is good for you: Ethics and the Human Sciences, TOK and CAS

(re-post from December 16, 2013 blog. It's so appropriate for this time of year!) Is there really anything newsworthy about the value of doing good to others?  So much has been said over so many centuries that surely current psychological research cannot add tremendously to our understanding!  And surely doing good falls within the scope of ethics -- and not within the scope of the human sciences!  Yet, quite the contrary: recent studies in the human sciences do contribute knowledge -- and knowledge that is particularly welcome at a ...

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

The relationship between the six concepts central to the delivery of the new Business Management programme is one that is worth exploring in detail with students. When applying concepts to contexts in the form of real life case studies, it is quickly apparent that there are significant overlaps and connections between the concepts and that considering any of them in isolation does not reflect reality. This post examines the relationship between culture and strategy, which seek to exemplify an organisation’s ...

Case studies and concepts: Lenovo

Growth is a topic that can be used as the focus for all 6 business management concepts: Change Culture Ethics Globalisation Innovation Strategy As a result, it will be useful for students to select a case study that relates to growth, as this can satisfy many questions set on Paper 2, section C. Given the broad nature of possible questions, it will be beneficial for students to research large multinational concerns to illustrate, and support, an answer to a concept based ...

Should Ethics Lead “Classic” and Great Design?

Hi DT students, Many of you will have heard me eulogise about one of my favourite architects - Zaha Hadid. She has produced some of the most incredible designs and architecture in the world over the last twenty years. She recently had her first design in the UK built in Hyde Park which I saw last weekend and it was amazing even though such a small building. She has recently won the Design Museum - Design of the Year for 2014 for ...

Shared knowledge: a moment of “Wow!”

You HAVE to watch this video from Discovery Channel! Watch it, and then rotate your screen for the view at the end. First, just enjoy it. And then we can link it to TOK.   Mount Everest in 3D: Experience the Trek to the Summit. For me, there are moments of wordless wonder – amazed at being given an echo of experiences so far beyond my own life, shared through stories or images. But, in a characteristic for which I have often ...