“Natural selection” and the early career of a metaphor

Theory of Knowledge banner

“Metaphors, as we all by now know, aren’t just ornamental linguistic flourishes—they’re basic building blocks of everyday reasoning. And they’re at their most potent when they recast a difficult-to-understand phenomenon as something familiar.” So writes cognitive scientist Kensy Cooperrider. In giving the backstory of Darwin’s choice of “natural selection” for evolution, he provides a short article for any Theory of Knowledge […]

Read more

Perspectives and manipulation: 6 photographers and a single subject

Theory of Knowledge banner

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 […]

Read more

Big lies, clever cons, and TOK ways of knowing, Part 2: What does storytelling do to knowledge?

Theory of Knowledge banner

Stories have power. In the scams of con artists, they have the power to “get you emotionally transported enough that you stop asking questions, or at least the questions that matter.” So warns Maria Konnikova, whose recently published book The Confidence Game prompted my post last week, and this week. At the same time, however, […]

Read more

“Evidence-based medicine”: a class discussion, with a caffeine lift!

Theory of Knowledge banner

(Originally posted on  Activating TOK)  Did you know that green coffee bean extract can help you lose weight? No? Me neither! Today, I’d like to propose a class discussion on thinking critically about media knowledge claims for products that yield fabulous (literally) medical benefits. The discussion is given a caffeine lift by a bite-sized example from a year […]

Read more