“Therapy wars” and the human sciences

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Thanks largely to the cognitive sciences, we’ve learned much in recent decades about how our own minds work. As knowledge flows from research journals to the popular media, recent findings in psychology have stimulated considerable commentary and advice on dealing with the problems that trouble our minds. Psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioural therapy, complex topics within […]

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Is mathematics a gateway to empathy?

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Is the study of mathematics really a gateway toward empathy? I’m not fully convinced by the argument presented by mathematician Roger Antonsen , but I like him for making it. We need all the empathy we can get in our world. Certainly, his mathematical visualizations do demonstrate the importance of mental flexibility and imagination in mathematics, and do stand metaphorically […]

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“Who’s an Indian now?”: concept, definition, and significant ruling

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A unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada on April 14 gives us a dramatic example to take to a Theory of Knowledge class: Métis and non-status aboriginal people in Canada are now defined as “Indians” by the federal government. The people who now fit into this category are celebrating. The implications are significant for the rights they can now claim, the programs and […]

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Perspectives and manipulation: 6 photographers and a single subject

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At first glance, this three-minute video ( 6 Photographers Capture Same Person But Results Vary Widely Because of a Twist ) provides a visually engaging, if rather obvious, illustration of differing perspectives at work as 6 photographers take distinctly unlike pictures of the same subject. Taken at face value, it’s an appealing resource for a TOK class on the effect of what we think (perspectives, WOK intuition/reason) on […]

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“Yeah.  But what about x?”: counter-argument, or just a tactic of diversion?

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We’re all familiar with tactics of diversion – various forms of evading or changing the subject. But journalist Andrew Mueller gives a particularly lively summary of one form in the following podcast: Monocle, The Foreign Desk. November 21, 2015. (starts at minute 10:24.) Vehement, articulate, and somewhat provocative, his four-minute piece could serve to catch student attention to discuss […]

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