Theory of Knowledge. Essay Preparation By Steve Reynolds Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong. Background to the assessed task: Choose one title from a prescribed list of 10 set by the IB. Externally assessed. Word limit – 1,200 – 1,600. Worth 40 points.
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By Steve Reynolds
Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong
The first thing to decide on is which question to choose! This is a vital first step. Students should consider which question:
This presentation focuses on an example of approaches to writing a TOK essay focusing on a question set in 2007:
A machine is defined scientifically as a device that transmits or alters energy. Machines can range from a washing machine to a computer.
Knowledge has many definitions relating to information, fact, experience and understanding.Unpacking The Question
Question arising: What philosophy/ies of
Knowledge shall I refer to?
Question arising: What kind of machine shall I focus on?
“To reflect on the nature of knowledge with reference to how far machines possess it?”
Identifying the Knowledge issues:
Re-writing the question for more personal understanding (but not forgetting I must answer the actual question)
Option: A mind map that keeps elements of TOK much in focus and raises knowledge issues:
Can AI feel? Does it have, ‘social intelligence’? Dreyfus vs. Newell & Simon.
Alan Turing’s test vs. John Searle. Language processors?
Can a machine know?
AoK and WoK LINKS
Logic & reason
Materialist theory of physical mind. Mind is physical therefore can be reproduced.
Computing devices all rooted in mathematical devices. Algorithms at base of AI learning. “Qualification problem”. “Dartmouth Proposal”.
Input from sensors to define world e.g. microphone, camera. Recognition e.g. fingerprint matching.
Language: don’t computers have a ‘language’? Language processors recognize human voice? Claim: Alan Turing’s tests including, ‘Polite conversation’. If AI acts as intelligently as humans it is as intelligent. Counter claim: John Searle’s, ‘Chinese room argument’. You can use a book to ‘translate’ Chinese symbols but you still don’t understand it.‘Thought shower’ – Mind Map in Focus
Having explored and researched ideas, identify a thesis. That is, a ‘central point’ or, ‘main idea’.
“Whilst machines can exhibit and utilize elements of knowing, they lack the self-conscious, sub-conscious and emotional traits of full human knowing.”
The body of the essay, broken into paragraphs. Use the sub sections of the thesis as a structural guide.
Now re-read the essay against the assessment criteria. Does the work meet the assessment requirements (have you ‘played the game’).
“unpack the question” – key words; understanding the question; identifying knowledge issues.