To what extent is the knowledge constructed in some areas of knowledge more reliable than the knowledge constructed in others?

Knowledge constructed in some areas is more reliable than the knowledge constructed in others to a significant extent because each area constructs knowledge in various ways through different tools and methods. Knowledge constructed in math is the most reliable because its theories and formulas are based on logical reasoning that everyone can be convinced. For example, mathematicians prove that if n is even, n^2 is also even by using direct proof and deduction. (image link)In the mathematical world, once something is proven to be true, it cannot be disproven, which tells that knowledge formed in math will never change. Natural and human sciences are also quite reliable since these two areas construct knowledge based on conducting experiments in real life. In natural science, people construct knowledge by using technology and scientific instruments that are accurate. For instance, by measuring the acceleration of an object from free fall depending on its mass, scientists can hypothesize the relationship between mass and gravitational force and conclude with the equation, F=ma. Human sciences are less reliable than natural sciences because their collected information is from surveys and interviews, which are biased and subjective. Also, since human behavior constantly changes over time, even in an investigation on the same topic, the conclusion will always change based on who and when they investigate, which shows that it is less credible and accurate over time. The least reliable subject is history and art since knowledge is formed based on individuals’ biased views. For example, some historians claim that imperialism is the major cause of World War One, while others claim alliance is. These different interpretations make its knowledge less credible as it is uncertain. Thus, the reliability of knowledge constructed in different areas varies a lot depending on the method of how the experts in those areas construct knowledge, like how math is based on proofs that everyone can agree upon, while art and history are based on individuals’ opinions.

Political Quiz Reflection

1. Do you consider yourself to be “political”?  Why or why not?

  • I would not consider myself as “political” because I don’t have a strong or specific political point of view of my own and do not mostly participate in political discussions with people. Although I try to focus on global politics and current events and consider politics as one of the most important global issues that I need to be aware of, I am personally not particularly interested in politics.

2. What does it mean to be political?  

  • I think being political means having a clear political opinion or participating in political debates or conversations. Also, even though people don’t have a strong point of view, if they know about each side’s viewpoints and have an insight into the effects of their future plans and decisions, I would consider those people as being interested in politics and would consider being “political.”

3. Is everything political?  Why or why not? 

  • I think everything is political since everything is used or made through political decisions. However, I would say there are different extents of being political. For example, events such as wars or summits between countries are extremely political since they are directly related to politics and cause different viewpoints of an incident. On the other hand, environment-related topics, such as pollution or plastic use, would be less political since they are based on scientific facts, which are difficult to have various points of view. Also, as everyone would have different opinions on politics and political decisions, this makes everyone “political.”

4. How important do you feel it is to be aware of what is going on in politics?   

  • Because the economy or business, things that significantly impact people’s lives, are affected by current events and politics, I think politics is something that we should definitely be aware of. We should always be aware of those events and take participation and express our opinions if there is a problem that should be addressed to both the public and the government.

5. What are the political issues that you believe are most important right now and why? 

  • I think the change of the US government and the conflict between the US and China are important since we are living in China and the Chinese government makes decisions based on its conflict with the US, which would affect our daily lives.

TOK First Semester Reflection

1. During the first semester, we considered knowledge questions related to “Knowledge and the Knower” and “Knowledge and Technology.”  Looking back, what learning engagements stand out to you the most and why?

  • “Knowledge and the Knower”: The eight stations that helped us to learn different ways of knowing stand out to me as all those stations had different activities that able to explore with peers. The stations were very approachable to learn the materials and understand each concept.
  • “Knowledge and Technology”: The live performance that we did in groups stand out to me because the preparation process was fun and enjoyable as we were able to select what kind of form of performance we will do, which provided an opportunity to work with new peers and discuss the topic together.

2. In what ways, if any, has your perspective shifted as a result of your participation in this course so far?

  • I originally thought people who got addicted to social media was because of their lack of self-regulation and self-awareness. However, after I watched The Social Dilemma and other group’s performances on the topic, I realized that social media has a bigger impact on people than I thought and strongly contributes to their addiction. Also, learning about how algorithms work and how social media or Google only show one side’s point of view made me cautious about social polarization.

3. Looking ahead to the exhibition requirement, what do you want to keep in mind? 

  • I think understanding the questions and thinking about how I will going to approach them is what I should keep in mind. Also, I think it would be good to think about various types of objects and be aware of what kind of objects are around us and how they would connect to the prompts.

4. Thinking back on the writing you have done so far in the course, what can you do to continue to hone your skills?

  • Reading exemplars and doing peer feedback would help to improve both writing skills and ideas. Also, using specific vocabulary and descriptions would make my writing more precise.

Implications for the development of knowledge

I interviewed my mom about her high school experiences.

Question 1: What tools did they use when they were going to school to learn and/or to produce knowledge?

  • She had textbooks, workbooks, and handouts to study for their tests, which were four times a year.
  • There was an educational broadcasting station that the students could watch for supplementary lessons.

Question 2: What were their experiences in school life, and how do they compare with your own?

  • She mentioned that all high schools were divided into girl’s and boy’s schools. The school usually ended at 5 pm, but they had to stay until 10 pm for study halls, which were mandatory.
  • Since there was no internet, ways to gain knowledge were very limited. If they wanted to know something, they had to read an encyclopedia to find that specific knowledge, which takes a lot of time.
  • They read newspapers and watched the news on tv for current events.

I think the development of personal and shared knowledge is much faster now than back then through the use of technology. As today’s students have access to the internet and can search for things they want to know, they have more resources that help to develop ideas and thoughts. For shared knowledge, students back then would have been limited to communities and societies since they didn’t have access to resources that thoroughly demonstrate the whole nation or different countries. Both gaining and spreading knowledge would not have been easy back then compared to now. 

Ignorance Is Bliss Debate Reflection

The affirmative side argued that ignorance is bliss and defined bliss as temporary or permanent pleasure. One of their examples was the movie Matrix. As people enjoy their life in the virtual world and avoid the harsh reality, they claimed that the responsibility to utilize the knowledge had led people to avoid reality. Another example was a Chinese tv program where rich and poor children experience each other’s life. After the program, the poor children realized the gap between the rich and them, which led to exhaustion and less passion for life. If they didn’t notice, they would have been more motivated and optimistic.

The negative side argued that ignorance is not bliss because ignorance doesn’t bring bliss, which they defined as perfect happiness and real fulfillment in life. One example was the Russo-Japanese war. Since the Tsar was ignorant about the enemy and his stupidity, Russia was defeated with a complete failure of their attacks. This example supported that ignorance doesn’t bring real fulfillment and cause severe consequences. They also mentioned an example of an asteroid crashing to earth, claiming that ignorance and bliss cannot be equal as they are two different concepts.

The negative side won the debate as they provided logical claims with strong supporting evidence. The affirmative side also had good ideas and evidence, but they could have made them stronger through prior preparation.

Personally, I believe that ignorance is bliss. If people are ignorant, they will be ignorant about not only the consequences but also their ignorance; therefore, they can feel true feelings when they are ignorant as they do not know that it is wrong or fake. For example, in the book The Giver, people often describe the society of the setting as a dystopia, but I opposed it because people in that society are ignorant of the fact that they are living in a dystopian society, so I would rather describe the society as a utopia for the people living in that society as concerns do not exist in the society, and the happiness that they feel is true for them. This example is similar to the Chinese program of the affirmative side.

When we acquire knowledge, we have the responsibility to use and take the knowledge into account when taking action. Also, before using the knowledge, we should determine whether the knowledge is credible or not.


Are some ways of knowing more likely than others to lead to truth?

I do not believe some ways of knowing are more likely to lead to truth than others. The TOK course guide states that truth is “in accord with fact or reality, or faithfulness to a standard.” In other words, the reality is truth; therefore, anything that exists in reality is truth. Therefore, I believe that the eight ways of knowing, which are language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, intuition, memory, and faith, leads to truth to the same extent as they are used to the same extent in reality.

Some may argue that some ways of knowing are more likely to lead to truth than others. They can claim that ways of knowing, such as emotion, imagination, or faith, are less likely to lead to truth since they are based on individual thoughts that can be biased. In certain departments that require logical reasoning, for example, at the court, those ways of knowing may mislead. The juries shouldn’t use emotion or faith to judge the criminal because decisions based on subjective opinions will likely to sentence the criminal to an inappropriate punishment. In 2018, there was an incident when a white police officer shot and killed a black man and was sentenced to “relatively lenient ten years in prison” (Smyton). The racial bias among juries impacted their decision, causing the defendant to be sentenced to a weaker and inadequate punishment. 

However, this doesn’t mean that emotion and faith are less likely to lead to truth because they do lead to truth in different departments. For instance, faith is a way of knowing that leads to truth for religious people. Faith is the strongest factor that encourages people to have convictions in their religion and to have a perspective through the religious lens and religious values, which leads to the standard of their own faithfulness in their behaviors. Also, emotion is a way of knowing that leads to individual truth by empathizing with others. For example, the movie Five Feet Apart illustrates a love story between two patients that cannot be close due to infection. The audience feels sorrowful and miserable emotions from the tragic situation that the characters are in. After watching the movie, people realize how painful it is to be apart, which builds a standard that lovers shouldn’t be in a long-distance relationship or a situation where they often can’t meet. The gained knowledge through emotion provides clear guidelines for the audience to develop their individual truth about lovers, enabling them to evaluate whether their or others’ actions are acceptable or wrong in reality.

Even though not all ways of knowing are likely to lead to truth in the same department, as they do in different departments, the eight ways of knowing have their own characteristics, leading to various kinds of truth that exist in the real world. Thus, since truth is reality, all ways of knowing lead to truth to the same extent as they separately connect to particular truths in different departments.


Work Cited

Smyton, Robin. “Bias in the Courtroom.” Tufts Now, 9 Oct. 2019,

TOK pre-assessment: What do you know for sure, and how do you know it? 

I am Amy Park, and I like to listen to music and watch movies. My favorite movie is Inception.


What I know for sure is that only I can change myself.

Many things can be inspirations to my life, for example, people, books, films, lectures, songs, etc. However, no matter how much these resources are excellent and constructive, if I don’t get inspired, touched, or empathized by them, I will not be able to learn the lesson. Thus, what I want to claim is that the time when you decide to change and become a better person, it is only when my inner-self is impacted, and my inner-self makes my physical-self to act and change.

When I get inspired, I think about the future. For instance, when I first came to ISB, I was surprised by the English and curriculum of ISB. I saw my peers, who all seemed very intelligent and insightful. So, I got an inspiration to do my best to improve my English and adapt to ISB like my peers. As I strongly dreamed of my future-self, who is comfortable in English and finishing assignments perfectly, although I had a difficult time, my inner-self encouraged my physical-self and continued to change and take action.

There is a famous quote by Descartes, “I think, therefore I am.” This quote tells that I exist(physical-self) because I think(inner-self). I was able to change as I possessed a strong desire for a better me. Thinking has strong power. Only my inner-self can control and impact my existing body and make myself closer to the future I dreamt of. Since no one in the world can change me, and only I can, I should have faith in me and continue to attempt to find new aspirations and develop my thinking. Thus, I believe that only I, inner-self, can make myself move, change, and improve.


My street photography photos are in color.

Handbag Store

I chose this photo because the color really stands out and the different kinds of bags displayed are interesting to me. I took this photo outside a shop by peaking through the open door. As the bags are displayed from the foreground to the background, it gives the audience a feeling that the room is filled with bags and a feel of distance. If I can take it again, I will try to take the face of the woman and the other woman’s action to make the picture more interesting.


Old House

I chose this photo because the photo shows China’s past. The old wires and the fragments on the roof show the audience a sense of an old house in China. Also, the shadows in this photo emphasize the wrinkles of the window and the cloth covering the motorbike. The age of the wires is shown as we can see the bent silhouette of them. The texture of the wood is also showing the oldness of this house. If I can take it again, I want to take it in distance and play more with the composition. Also, I want to take at different times so the direction of the shadows is different.



I chose the photo because I think the subject is very interesting. As the laundries are all different kind of clothes and are layered, it makes the audience to see the subject carefully. Besides the subject, the context and the person are also interesting. The context and the background are very clear and show the viewers a street of rural China, and the person helps to build it. Also, the subject in the middle and the background that contains diverse components of rural China fill the picture and make the photo not boring. If I can take this photo again, I would take the photo after the person disappears or when he goes far so that the audience can concentrate on one subject.



I chose this photo because I like how this picture shows the China past through the background. The blurry background fully shows the context to the audience. The style of the building looks ancient and the red boat makes a Chinese background. The fishing rod and the man are in the diagonal of the picture and create a full image. Also, the color of the man’s t-shirt stands out. If I can take this photo again, I would try different angles such as the front of the back of the man.



I chose this photo because it fully shows the context and I like the photo. As the woman riding the bike is in the middle of the road and the cars are going beside her, the context is very clear. Also, the blurriness of the background gets slowly stronger and shows the distance between the object and the woman. The streetlights are parallel and give the feel of distance as well. The facial expression of the woman is clear and shows that she hates the weather of that day. If I take this photo again, I will try focusing on her face and try taking the picture horizontally so that it shows the building on the left.

Hutong Photo Day Plan of Action

The photographer who I found is Fred Herzog. I like how his photos show things that are really common on the street. They all are in color, which shows how much the street is chaotic and filled with all sort of different types of objects and people.

Plan: I will go to places where people are crowded and take the picture with a wide lens so that the context(place) is well shown. Also, I think focusing on a subject will help me to create a theme of a photo.

I hope to accomplish taking photos of close up people and photos that fully show the context tomorrow.


Examples of Fred Herzog’s photos:

Some Street Photographers to Look at

  1. Gianni Berengo Gardin

There is no one particular subject in the photo. Everyone is doing their own job on the train. The passengers are sitting and standing, and the station employee is guarding and observing the passengers. This photo is in black and white as it makes the audience focus on their actions. If this was in color, it might distract the audience through the various colors of the passengers and the train. As there are many people in the photo and have individual actions, the overall view seems a bit chaotic. I think the photographer is crouching under the ground so that he doesn’t appear in the reflection of the window. The angle is straight and facing the front. I don’t think he used a wide lens, but by using the reflection of the window and the mirror, he shows a lot of information on what is happening in the place. If I make the title of this photo, I will name it “In the Train” because the picture is showing people and their actions inside a train. I would like to ask where specifically the place is or what situation is it.




2. Nick Turpin

The subject of this photo is a girl looking outside the window of a bus. The image is in color and the color makes the texture of the vapor stands out. The overall mood seems very calm as there is only one subject in the photo and the background is blurred through the vapor. The photographer took the photo in front of the girl, he was pretty close. Through the person sitting in front of the girl and yellow bar in the background shows the audience that the place they’re in is a bus. I will name this picture “A Girl on the Bus” as it directly shows the context and the subject. I would ask the photographer if the girl is a random person on the bus and if the girl wiped the window. Because the place where the girl wiped seems is interesting as it shows the girl’s character and makes the audience curious about what she was trying to draw or see.




3. Martin Parr

The subject of this photo is the background because the woman in the foreground is blurred. The photo is in color, which makes the overall mood joyful and more interesting. As there are many saturated colors and different kinds of people doing all different actions, the picture seems to be complicated and chaotic. The photographer took the photo very close to the woman and focused the camera on the background, the beach. This makes the audience to have more information about the context and the overall theme of this photo. He took the photo up to down to make the people in the background all show, and I don’t think he took the photo while he was moving. He captured a lot of information including the place, people, and situation. I will name this picture “Beach” because the photo was taken at the beach and the woman on the right shows the mood of a beach so well. I would ask the photographer why he put the woman in almost 50% of the photo and when he took it.