Conspiracies Examined: An investigation into how truth is constructed

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We’ve been discussing myth making via our reading of Sapiens as well as our recent examination of the myths that exist in our society. We’ve discovered that there is often a very fine line between what Harari would describe as MYTH and what our society calls TRUTH.

While watching the Zeitgeist documentary on 9/11, many of you questioned the “truth” of the situation.

Your task is to examine work through this learning helper as it guides you through the examination of a conspiracy. We’re looking at conspiracy theories because they are excellent exercises in “truth making” Through our analysis, we’ll gain great insight into the tools of knowledge used to construct “truths” as well as gain greater insight into what that word means.

So click on the link here and start analyzing: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1m42-mCeQ5lm3VKahYG0nzsgtNGYLuRX0vG5FIWW_TIQ/edit?usp=sharing

Myth Making in a Post Modern World

As you read in Sapiens, Harari contends that myths are necessary in order for humans to live in large groups cohesively. He contends that until we had myth making, we remained living in small clans of extended families. So myths certainly serve a purpose, and they certainly can unite and do good; however make no mistakes—they serve the purpose of mind control.

At this point, it’s important to comprehend that “mind control” is not meant to be a pejorative term. Mind control can be used to create a society of caring, loving, intelligent and altruistic humans. However it can also be used for a variety of other purposes.

The point of this activity is for you to become aware of the myths that surround you so that you can examine the origins of your beliefs as well as the knowledge you consume.

Download and work through this learning helper: Myth Making

Reality as a Shared hallucination

After watching the TED talk by Dr. Anil Seth below:

Meditate on the following questions in TOK JOURNAL form:

  1. What are implications of “reality as a shared hallucination”?
    1. For knowledge acquisition?
    2. For Truth?
    3. For Shared Knowledge?
    4. For Perception?

As an aside, my favorite quote from the talk, “When we agree about hallucinations, we call that reality.” 

Is tolerance the root of democracy’s Demise?

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Karl Popper, a famous Austrian philosopher of science from the 20th century put forth the thesis that too much tolerance is a bad thing. 

Is it? 

Watch the Vice Media coverage of the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi gathering/protest below and assess your position on tolerance and censorship: 

https://news.vice.com/story/vice-news-tonight-full-episode-charlottesville-race-and-terror

Questions to Consider: 

  1. What arguments exist that the group should the group NOT be tolerated? I.e not allowed to protest and spread their ideas?
  2. What arguments can you come up with that the group should be tolerated and allowed to protest and spread their ideas?
  3. What dangers exist in letting the group speak? What dangers exist in preventing them from speaking?
  4. How would this issue be viewed from a utilitarian perspective? How would the issue be viewed from a Kantian perspective? 

Popper’s argument against too much tolerance is summarized below, what logical fallacy could you argue is present in his argument? 

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And lastly, let’s return to our title question: is tolerance the root of democracy’s demise? 

Heidegger and Quantum Mechanics

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Most people likely don’t connect Heideggarian philosophy with quantum physics…but you’re going to! 

Watch the trailer for the film, “The Quantum Activist” below. In it, physicist Amit Goswami is discussing implications of quantum scientific concepts.

Your task is to write your Second Journal entry on the following prompt: 

How are Heidegger and Goswami’s ideas related? Discuss the connection between Heideggarian philosophy and quantum physics.

To help you better understand Heidegger, read the NY times column below:

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/heideggers-philosophy-why-our-presence-matters/

 

Raymond Carver’s Cathedral as an analysis of perception

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Read the short story titled, “Cathedral” by the famous american author Raymond Carver linked here: cathedralraycarver

While reading the story, I want you to consider the following questions.  We’ll discuss these as a Socratic Seminar next class! 

  1. What role does perception play in the creation of knowledge in this story?
  2. What role does emotion play in the creation of knowledge in this story?
  3. At the end of the story, the husband is asked to describe a cathedral to the blind man.  Why does he struggle with this?
  4. While the blind man and the husband are drawing, what way of knowing is guiding their drawing?
  5. Discuss the ending. Why the change in emotion in the husband?