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/

 

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?

Literature Circles in TOK

Book CLUB!! Young and handsome Brad Pitt loves them, so they must be good!  We’ll have a TOK book (short story) club next class!

Read one of the short stories below, then we’ll have a lit circle!

The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock: TS Elliot POEM, but more story than poem; it’s in lyrical form, thus poem:  ts-eliot-love-song-of-j-alfred-p

We read “to shoot an elephant” you’ve likely already read 1984, here is another short story by our man George!!      orwell-a-hanging

Nabokov, Lolita author, and Famous russian…short story:  nabokov-signs-and-symbols-new-yorker

EVERYONE Read THE SCHOOL, By Donald Barthelme

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Does History Matter?

This question may seem rhetorical, but it’s not. Seriously, why does history matter?

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If you’re paying attention, you’ve seen that people can’t seem to make up their minds…the Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump, dismissed his gross statements about sexual assaulting women as “11 years ago” in an attempt to render them non existent by time.

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The director of the recently released, “Birth of a Nation” Nate Parker, has made a film that he claims is necessary to bring the horrid truth of slavery to the forefront of our current american culture because the past matters. Yet he dismisses his own Rape trial as irrelevant because it was “17 years ago” See slate article below:

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2016/09/nate_parker_s_sexual_assault_trial_and_the_quest_to_confront_the_dark_side.html

So which is it? Does history matter or not?