Of Personal and Shared Knowledge

One of the central distinctions about the nature of Knowledge in TOK is that between Personal and Shared Knowledge. Personal Knowledge is meant to refer to knowledge which has been acquired by the individual based on their own experiences, efforts and conclusions. Shared Knowledge is knowledge which is held communally, by groups which will vary in size depending on the type of knowledge being explored. For a start, I am not at all convinced that it is genuinely possible to ...

The Art of Knowing

There is no shortage of people who view Art or the arts as a largely redundant luxury which, other than as time filler, seem to add very little to the total sum of human knowledge. Art for them is an entirely self-indulgent, subjective and emotion driven enterprise. Artists do not solve problems, they do not provide new avenues of thought, they do not cure diseases or build useful devices, they cannot and should not therefore be considered as contributing to ...

How ever did they manage?

“How ever did they manage?” I’ve spent today at the Mesa Verde World Heritage Site  in Colorado, tromping around pueblo sites and gazing at the cliff dwelling houses of the native peoples of the American southwest. It’s hot out – too hot. How ever did the people get water to drink and irrigate their corn? Simply eating and drinking in this arid environment would be such a problem. Then what comes to my mind is one definition I’ve read of ...

Shared knowledge: 2 stories of significance

Behind the stark issue of climate change -- like the other challenges of our times -- looms a concept essential to explore in Theory of Knowledge: shared knowledge. How does knowledge reach people? Through what process of sharing does the public gain knowledge that will affect their lives?  Two recent news reports highlight contrasting processes by which knowledge claims on climate change reach the public -- with profoundly different implications for action. The two reports I pick out are from science ...

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 ...

“When will we ever learn?”: the arts and shared knowledge

http://youtu.be/QhnPVP23rzo “The establishment has always been concerned about music,” folk singer Pete Seeger said about his peace and protest songs.  “I’ve quoted Plato for years, who wrote, ‘It’s very important that the wrong kind of music not be allowed in the Republic.’ And I’ve also heard there’s an old Arab proverb, ‘When the king puts the poet on his payroll, he cuts off the tongue of the poet.’ I think they’re both right.” Pete Seeger, who died yesterday at the age of ...

international school kids ha ha

Do you share an experience with writer Autumn Jones?  You'll recognize it pretty quickly if you do!  I urge you to take a minute (you'll be glad you did) to scroll through "An International School Kid ('Your accent is so strange, you must be Canadian?')"  In TOK, we talk about scientists sharing knowledge, and artists sharing knowledge, and indigenous people sharing knowledge.  Some of it is shared through a conscious methodology, and some of it is shared culturally.  Where would you ...

Sensationalizing and distorting science: the media and “shared knowledge”

“Researchers Shocked To Discover Hidden DNA Code”!  Anyone even casually interested in the ever expanding pool of shared scientific knowledge is likely perk up at such a headline.  It takes a lot more than casual interest, of course, to keep track of scientific discoveries:  dozens of credible websites (let alone scientific journals) are crammed with articles about yet more discoveries about the human genome—or about yet another exoplanet  or species of bizarre beetle. Barraged with far more information than we ...