Investigating the Moral Landscape: Knowledge systems, authority and a better way forward?

Watch the above TED Talk by Sam Harris titled, “Science can answer moral questions” and consider the following: 

  1. Summarize his thesis in 1-3 sentences
  2. What are the strengths of Harris’ argument?
  3. What are the weaknesses of Harris’ argument?
  4. Ok, so lets say you agree with all he has to say, where does that leave us? What are next steps?

“Grendel” Discussion Chapters 1-2

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For discussion and reflection (and maybe a journal entry or two):

  • Why does the ram make Grendel angry..why is he so angry period?
  • Contemplate Grendel as other characters from lit. Does he remind you of anyone? For me, it’s Holden from Catcher in rye, The narrator from notes from underground; what is genesis of frustration in all these characters?
  • What does Grendel think of the humans behavior as they’re observing him in the tree
  • Pg. 13– “I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual brute enmity in which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears” discuss
  • Page 16 is crucial… “suddenly I knew I was dealing with the most dangerous creatures I had ever met— pattern makers”
  • Middle of 17 also.. “all that I had come to understand— the meaningless object ness of the world, the universal brutality
  • Why, at the bottom of 18, does he state aloud what perceptions he is experiencing?
  • What is meant by, “ I observe myself experiencing what I observe”?

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

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/