Knowledge Reliability in Different Fields of Study

To a large extent, knowledge constructed in some areas of knowledge is more reliable than knowledge constructed in other areas. This can be seen with knowledge constructed in math and science compared to knowledge constructed in art and history. Knowledge constructed in science and math follows precise and replicable procedures. For science, the scientific method was developed in the 17th century to produce knowledge that can be consistently be supported through experimentation. An example of a theory that has been put through the scientific method and proven is that objects, no matter the mass, fall at a constant rate in a vacuum. This experiment can be repeated over and over with the same result, as seen with the many experiments done in vacuum chambers and even on the moon, where the crew of Apollo 15 observed a falling hammer and a feather. For math, proofs follow a logical process that, once determined to be correct, creates knowledge that is irrefutable. In terms of art and history, complications arise in the reliability of the knowledge produced. In art, the knowledge that one color matches with another is subjective, as one might say that one color better matches with another color. In history, though knowledge constructed is based on real events that have been recorded and witnessed, there is still debate within topics as evidence may not be readily available to historians, and most primary sources used contain bias. Since knowledge produced in the fields of math and science can be considered knowledge that is replicable and, in the case of math, irrefutable, and knowledge produced in the fields of art and history may contain bias or is subjective, it can be said that the knowledge from the fields of math and science is more reliable than knowledge constructed in art and history.

Intro to Politics- TOK

I would not say that I am a political person, nor do I enjoy talking about politics. The reason for this is mostly because discussing politics with someone does not lead to any positive conclusion, it just leads to hate and resentment for people as most political discussions are “I’m right, you’re wrong and you are dumb because you think that way”. To me, being political means having a strong opinion as to how people should conduct themselves and govern others. Nowadays, this meaning can branch into topics that were not even political in the first place, thus it can be said that everything is political because there will always be someone with a strong opinion that is against your beliefs of how people should conduct themselves and govern others. Personally, I think that it is good to be aware of current politics, but it is your choice to have an opinion on it and actively comment on the matter. As of the start of this year, I think the most important political issues are the general non-reform of police (specifically in America, as it is the center of political discussion at this time) and government corruption.

TOK First Semester Reflection

Looking back at the first semester, I thought that The Social Dilemma activity made me more aware of how algorithms influenced current thought and politics. It also helped me to understand the mentality of those who have strong, one-sided beliefs. All in all, my perspective on knowledge has broadened now that I know the different ways in which people retain and back their knowledge. In the future during the exhibition, I want to make sure that I am using examples that have a specific connection to me, and that I am also analyzing instead of simply presenting evidence. In order to accomplish this, I would need to make sure that every time I write, I am asking myself many questions to bring me deeper and come up with a more in-depth conclusion.

The Social Dilemma: Takeaways

From this documentary, my biggest takeaway would be that all companies want is money. Every design choice on a site is optimized to maximize profit from the advertisements they put out, for example, how the notification system is only a means of tempting people back into the application. Another major takeaway from this documentary is that companies do not have the people’s best interest in mind, a prime example of this is how algorithms are created and fine-tuned so well that it causes addiction, and there are no committees or groups of people in charge of making applications less addictive. My final major takeaway from The Social Dilemma is the ways that tech companies are able to manipulate people. An example of this would be how a social feed displays content that is catered to the viewer, which can give a person a false sense that everyone agrees with them. This can cause radicalization and political polarization which had not existed at the scale it is today prior to a personalized content feed.

Personal and Shared Knowledge over Time

When my parents were my age, their methods of gaining knowledge were drastically different. Since they grew up around the same time and in the same situations, their experiences were almost the same. A lot of their learning came from books and encyclopaedias, and the information they got was often dated. My dad talked about an experience he had, around the 1980s, when he received an encyclopaedia from his uncle. Despite the encyclopaedia’s information being from 1969, he was overjoyed. Computers back then were seen as more of a novelty rather than an important tool. When interviewed, my parents spoke of how school, specifically doing research, is much easier now, as the internet enables today’s students to access information that would have taken days to obtain otherwise. Through the development of technology that allows people nowadays to quickly and accessibly obtain a wide variety of information, shared knowledge has become massively diversified. The interconnectivity that is brought about by the development of the internet is able to bring multiple perspectives from people all over the world. This, however, limits personal knowledge, as first-hand research and the effort to gain knowledge is lost.

“Ignorance is Bliss” Debate Reflection

According to the cons side, ignorance is not bliss because ignorance can lead to complacency and that chosen ignorance is just a coping mechanism. Second, ignorance and bliss are mutually exclusive, thus by not knowing, that does not entail bliss. The cons side won primarily due to the pro side’s lack of organization and preparation. Personally also side with the cons because I am a person who believes in science and its core principle, which is to find out and explain everything around us. A lot of hate against the scientific community stems from people’s ignorance, and to say that ignorance is bliss is very selfish, lazy, and close-minded (not that I have anything against the people in the debate, it is rather the idea itself that ignorance is bliss). When acquiring knowledge, it is our responsibility to gain as many perspectives as possible and question knowledge that is seen as fact or common knowledge, but at the same time, we have to be reasonable with our skepticism and not just assume that everything told to us is a lie.

Ways of Knowing

Are some ways of knowing more likely than others to lead to truth? Before answering this question, some key terms should be defined first. Ways of knowing are methods the brain uses to process information and come up with solutions or interpretations, and a truth is an undeniable fact.

There are some situations where one way of knowing would yield the truth better than the other ways of knowing. An example of this would be during a math test, where reason would be more likely to yield correct answers than emotion. Another example of this would be a theory proposed by Jean Piaget (1936), a psychologist who founded developmental psychology, where he proposed different stages in cognitive development, particularly during childhood. In this theory, he proposed that in the first stage of development happens in the first two years of life. This stage, called the sensorimotor stage, is when the child learns about their environment through their sense perception as they cannot comprehend language yet. It is only after this stage that children begin to use language and symbols to comprehend their surroundings. Thus it can be said that sense perception, at this stage of development, was their only way of reaching the truth. Therefore, sense perception was more likely to lead to the truth in that situation.

Some may state that all ways of knowing will equally lead to the truth, however, this is not the case as some ways of knowing will produce different conclusions that may conflict with each other. Take for example those who believe in the flat Earth model. Instead of using reason, they rely on sense perception and faith. Though in their mind, flat earth is the truth, but this is far from the case. Reasoning says that with the evidence acquired by hundreds of years of research by many people across the globe, the Earth is in fact round. By using reasoning, one can reach the truth about the shape of the Earth, however, Flat Earthers chose to rely on their faith, which states that the earth is flat. They rely on their sense perception when they look to the horizon and conclude that the Earth is flat due to their observation that the horizon looks flat. Because of how Flat Earthers use sense perception and faith to guide their conclusions to reach their own false truths, it cannot be said that all ways of knowing are equally likely to lead to the truth.

Through Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive psychology, and an everyday example of reasoning over emotion, it can be said that there are some ways of knowing that are more likely to reach the truth.

(445 words)


Works Cited:

Mcleod, Saul. “Jean Piaget’s Theory and Stages of Cognitive Development.” Jean Piaget’s Theory and Stages of                              Cognitive Development | Simply Psychology,

Mcleod, Saul. “Sensorimotor Stage of Cognitive Development.” Sensorimotor Stage of Cognitive Development | Simply                  Psychology,


What do you know for sure, and how do you know it?

Hello, my name is Miguel. I am Filipino, born in Japan and I’ve been in ISB for 12 years. I’m doing E-learning as I’m stuck in the Philippines. I have been here for 219 days.

As the Ancient Philosopher Plato once said, “I only know one thing for certain, and that is that I know nothing”. This is indeed true, as knowledge is the understanding of a widely accepted fact. This fact can change and overwrite the previously accepted fact, thus what is common knowledge that everyone is certain on now might not be an accepted fact in the future. In addition to this, there is no such thing as one hundred percent surety, as surety only based off of what is considered common knowledge and accepted fact, both of which can be changed at any time. For example, prior to the Civil rights movement, racism was a common and accepted occurrence and for many people, this was the norm. Thus it can be said that back then, a white person knew for certain that black people were inferior. After the Civil rights movement, racism and segregation were and still are not tolerated. This common knowledge of white people are superior to black people is now rendered not factual. Therefore by looking back at the past from the perspective of the future, modern society will view the people of the past as “knowing nothing”. By knowing based on common knowledge, facts that are right until proven wrong, there is no way one can say with full certainty that they know anything, and thus the only fact that can be said with full certainty is that we know nothing.

Useless Machine Project

This project was to make a really useless machine, to the point where the machine turns itself off. When we first started out, I was looking through a bunch of linkage systems on a website that highlights 507 mechanical movements. My mechanism is inspired by movement 93 of the 507 movements, which is the scotch yoke crank. What my idea is is that the switch will be slightly off center so that once the slider moves down, it will flick itself off and return to the extended position. 

(See full animated image here)

After finding my design, I decided on making a small LEGO model of it. Here is the video:

The switch to the system would be placed a stud beneath the 180 degree bar. When the bar moves down, the switch would be hit, turning off the system. After a small paper plan, which I have misplaced and cannot show here, it was determined that the bar would have to hit at the highest point of the switch as the force of the motor (5 newtons) would not be able to flick down a switch from its lowest point. Looking back, I think I should have planned a bit more, as my lack of planning would affect me later on in my process. Anyway, later I made a Fusion 360 model which gave me a rough idea of the dimensions of the linkages:

After finding out the dimensions and ironing out all the technicalities, I went straight to printing my board. My first prototype did not work at all (picture unavailable, it broke and I threw it away). This was due to multiple factors. The first being on of the linkages did not have enough structural integrity to function. This lead to said linkage breaking and ruining the system. The second reason as to why the first prototype did not function is because, due to the linkage to the motor being to long and the motor being in the middle of the base, the system did not have the required force to push the lever. In retrospect, this was due to my poor planning.

My next prototype, the mark two, was much more successful compared to its predecessor. It featured an offset from center motor and the linkage connected to the motor is about 3 times as small, thus the linkage connecting to the bar had increased in size. This would provide more less torque and more power, which means that the switch can be pulled down.

Here is the final, mark two product:


Balancing Model – MiG-15 bis

My balancing model was inspired by a Korean war era soviet jet fighter designated as the “MiG 15bis”. Here’s a picture of a surviving model that I based mine off of.

Since this is a plane, I did not need an initial sketch because there were already blueprints available of this jet online. As for the primitives used, cylinder s made up the majority of this model. To make the wings and tail section, I used the “Modify” function to pull the splines on the fuselage and shape them into the required shapes of the wings and tail section. Something I had to do in order to have a solid hole through the plane was to have one cylinder inside of the other one and connect their edges. The most challenging part was trying to fix all the mistakes that the many faces that made the plane. I fixed this by using using a fix form tool that found and fixed all the incorrect faces. This is the final model: