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 ...

Arts and transformation?

“There might be a case,” the TOK subject guide allows, “for supposing that the arts have an important function as a medium for social criticism and transformation.” Might be a case? Supposing? The arts are used so widely as a vehicle for social critique that I offer one more example only for its current relevance: 26-year-old poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner from the Marshall Islands was selected to read a poem to the Opening Ceremony of the UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit last ...

“The eye sees only….”

Ongoing research on the eye gives fresh meaning to an idea that runs right through TOK – literally most relevant to sense perception, but metaphorically to confirmation bias (WOK intuition) of all kinds. This 3-minute video on the way the brain anticipates changes in the visual field takes as its opening a quotation from French philosopher Henri Bergson: “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” This quick, clear video raises knowledge questions about our screening of the world, involving selective attention and ...