This is a site where I post articles, videos, and various resources relevant to a Theory of Knowledge teacher or student. As I find things that are relevant to the class, I post them here. There is no particular order in which the resources are posted but you can search by relevant Area of Knowledge or Way of Knowing by navigating the tabs above. Some of them have specific subject tabs for topics that seem to come up often like “Animals” as a common theme under “Ethics.”
You can also navigate the “Misc Topics” tab to help you find other topics that frequently come up in the resources posted here.
Some posts are simply articles with an excerpt included to give you an idea what it’s about. All have some relevance to helping you think about theory of knowledge topics or ideas.
Some posts are more well developed collections of resources on a particular theme or topic like this one about the ethics of facebook experimentation that has a series of articles on that topic.
Please contact me by email if you have any questions or to report any broken links.
A young woman’s suicide has sparked a backlash against the country’s labor conditions. But death by overwork is so common there’s even a word for it: karoshi.
5 Japanese Words in the English Dictionary
“Another decision: describing the attack that authorities say was committed by Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white man, as a “mass shooting” rather than “domestic terrorism.” When a Muslim person mows down innocent victims and terrorizes a community, media and authorities are quick to declare it terrorism; when a white, non-Muslim attacker does the same, he is usually described as a disturbed loner in a freak incident. In both cases, journalists arrive at these conclusions early in the news cycle when information is incomplete. (Official statistics show far more terrorism in the U.S. is committed by white men than by Muslims).”
“Most of us would sacrifice one person to save five. It’s a pretty straightforward bit of moral math. But if we have to actually kill that person ourselves, the math gets fuzzy.
“That’s the lesson of the classic Trolley Problem, a moral puzzle that fried our brains in an episode we did about 11 years ago. Luckily, the Trolley Problem has always been little more than a thought experiment, mostly confined to conversations at a certain kind of cocktail party. That is until now. New technologies are forcing that moral quandry out of our philosophy departments and onto our streets. So today we revisit the Trolley Problem and wonder how a two-ton hunk of speeding metal will make moral calculations about life and death that we can’t even figure out ourselves.”
Similar to the dilemma raised by the trolley car problem: is it right to sacrifice one person to save many?
“Here’s the story: Hawkeye has gone insane and is spending time at a hospital. Throughout the episode, he tells this story about how they were able to go out to a beach and have a great day. Just playing at the beach. They all pile up on a bus to head home. Suddenly, they realise that the enemy is nearby, so they shut off the engine, turned out all the lights and everybody got quiet. Except this woman in the back who has a chicken that won’t get quiet. In this scene, BJ shows up to tell Hawkeye that he (BJ) is going home but can’t because Hawkeye is getting very upset. So BJ calls in the DR.”
“It’s tempting to hope that someone else will come along and solve the trolley problem. After all, finding a solution requires confronting some uncomfortable truths about one’s moral sensibilities. Imagine, for instance, that driverless cars are governed by a simple rule: minimize casualties. Occasionally, this rule may lead to objectionable results — e.g., mowing down a mother and her two children on the sidewalk rather than hitting four adults who have illegally run into the street. So, the rule might be augmented with a proviso: Minimize casualties, unless one party put itself in danger.”
This article brings together many concepts from TOK including the role of sense perception and its connection to our emotions as well as the role of perspective in acquiring knowledge and the power of shifting perspectives.
“This article, by leading social entrepreneur Dr Alexandra Ivanovitch, explores how VR works in practice, the cognitive and psychological mechanisms underlying VR, and its potential application in the field of peacebuilding and conflict resolution. She reviews cutting-edge scientific research on how VR creates a “body ownership illusion” and “embodied cognition”, which help us transcend neurophysiological limitations inherent to our own point of view, and to adopt the perspective of another human being. The article also discusses experiments that show VR can reduce biases, build empathy and encourage prosocial behavior. Dr Ivanovitch calls for collaboration between technology, science and art to identify ways that immersive technology can be used to strengthen peace.”
Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
“Confederate symbols are still celebrated despite the ugly history they symbolize. John Oliver suggests some representations of southern pride that involve less racism and more Stephen Colbert.”