Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Usual Question List (Not Quite)

Every year, by this time, an interesting list of 'prescribed titles' is circulated, provoking much debate among the hard-pressed students of the worldwide International Baccalaureate. In keeping with the mutterings of colleagues equally worldwide, I shall withhold my thoughts for a few weeks to give said colleagues a chance to discuss those titles first before I corrupt young minds with my own. Haha!

More seriously, I quote:
"Some sources of support may be acting in good faith, but nevertheless are offering a level of support and guidance that is not permitted by [redacted]. As an example, any that offers assistance on current [redacted] prescribed titles must be avoided, or approached only with great caution. A key aspect of the [redacted] essay is that it is devised by the student: assessment criterion B [redacted] looks for evidence of independent thinking, shown in the way the essay has been shaped and in the use of varied examples. Therefore, any advice of a prescriptive nature is likely to disadvantage the student who uses it."

So, please don't structure your essay around my musings. Rather, treat them as amusing. Or multiple musings. And listen to your supervisor when that worthy individual tells you not to rip off this blogger's thoughts and paste them in your essay. :)

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The list of questions for this year is here:
  1. Can we have beliefs or knowledge which are independent of our culture?
  2. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. — Arthur Conan Doyle. Consider the extent to which this statement may be true in two or more areas of knowledge.
  3. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. — Albert Einstein. Do you agree?
  4. What counts as knowledge in the arts? Discuss by comparing to one other area of knowledge.
  5. Habit is stronger than reason. To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?
  6. The ultimate protection against research error and bias is supposed to come from the way scientists constantly re-test each other’s results. To what extent would you agree with this claim in the natural sciences and the human sciences?
Note that the list is shorter this year — this is the list for November 2012 only. A later note elucidates.

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