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TOK Presentation

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Annick Ernst

on 24 November 2013

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Transcript of TOK Presentation

TOK Presentation
The Natural Sciences
Real-life situation
Ban on smoking in Luxembourg
Knowledge Issue
How far do reason and emotion affect our moral judgement on legal decisions?
Moral Judgement
How far do emotions affect our moral judgement
on legal decisions?
Relevance to
real life situation
Relevance to
knowledge issue
Relevance to knowledge issue
Reason is effective in allowing us to morally judge legal decisions because legal decisions require;

good generalisations
Relevance to smoke ban
scientific results and research is based on reason and constitutes a large part of argumentation toward ban on smoking.
Reason is a source of knowledge based on logic that provides us with rational certainty.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself."

George Bernard Shaw
personal examples

- grand-father who died because of lung cancer
- laws concerning fiscal evasion compared to rape
- death penalty
- compulsory education
Further Studies/Other questions
Types of Logic
Inductive VS
implies going from the specific to the general

more informative, less certain

implies going from the general to the specific

less informative, more certain

~ Example of a syllogism;
Fallacies and Hasty Generalisations
Post hoc ergo propter hoc;

"Every year, 46 000 deaths related to heart disease strike non-smokers. Therefore, not smoking causes heart diseases."

Ad ignorantiam and the scientific method;

"All Luxembourgish citizens are smokers, because we cannot prove they never smoke"
Four Ways of Knowing
Six Primary Emotions





Four Ways of Knowing
Social emotions

An obstacle to knowledge
Powerful emotions
influence the other ways of knowing
Biased perception
Fallacious reasoning
Emotive language
A source of knowledge
'Emotions help us to make rational decisions about things by narrowing down our options.'
Antonio Damasio
Relation between reason and emotion
need to find a balance
Core intuitions

Subject-specific intuitions

Social intuitions
law of Identity

law of Non-Contradiction

law of the Excluded Middle
Laws of Thought
The scientific method "generates scientific truth"

Where Reason, conjectures and refutations make up the basis of discoveries and new laws.
The Scientific Method
Emotion as an
obstacle to knowledge
Non-smoker's perspective
- powerful emotions
- biased perception
- fallacious reasoning
- (emotive language)
Smoker's perspective
- powerful emotions
- biased perception
- fallacious reasoning
- (emotive language)
Emotion as
a source of knowledge
'Emotions help us to make rational decisions about things by narrowing down our options.'
'Laws are only reached by non-logical methods. To make a law one has to have an intellectual love of the subject.'
Albert Einstein
Smoker's Reasoning
Smoking damages your lungs (as seen in UV)
Damaged lungs lead to lung disease
People with lung disease are more susceptible to infection
Infection kills
Smoking kills

Non-smoker's reasoning
Obesity =
= legal
= legal
Truth and Validity
Truth and Validity are NOT the same, however they are often used interchangeably.
Syllogisms based on reason may be valid, but aren't always true.
a major limitation of Reason as a way of knowing is that it is subject to
belief bias
Primary emotions
"Vertical thinking is digging the same hole deeper; lateral thinking is trying elsewhere"

De Bono

Concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct, or the distinction between right and wrong
Our moral judgement can be affected by emotion, intuition, reason and gut feeling.
Legal Decisions
"A conclusion reached after an evaluation of facts and law"

Role of
emotion and reason in Natural science
Paradigm Shift
The role of induction and falsification
"A branch of science that deals with the physical world, e.g., physics, chemistry, geology, and biology."

involves experiments and theories
usually supported with evidence and reason
- perception might be emotionally coloured
- prevent open-mindedness
- impossibility to think clearly
- provide the passion, intellectual love
- narrow down number of options to make
rational decisions
Emotions and moral judgement and legal decisions
- often based on intuition
- very much coloured by emotions
- government campaigns also play on emotions
- moral judgement leading to legal decisions (-> reason)
- provides the needed passion
('intellectual love for the subject' - Einstein)
- subject-specific intuition (Heureka!)
scientific breakthroughs
Scientific Investigation Method
Results are based on the perception of the scientists
Expectation, feelings, emotions and beliefs
Other limitations with observation
expert seeing
the observer effect
Hasty Generalisation and Confirmation bias
Number of trials
influences on perception
Example: 'planet vulcan'
We can never prove that something is true beyond reasonable doubts
There would never be enough number of trials
Scientists may look at trend and results and come up with a solution they
to be true (although it may not be the absolute truth)
"A fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions."
How do we know that the discoveries made are the truth?
Falsifiable: there is some piece of evidence that might disprove the theory
Karl Popper
Claims are made to operational knowledge from 'inductive' laws
The role of science: prove the laws (from habit or generalisation) wrong

Example: 'All swans are white.'
Hasty generalisation: when we draw up hypotheses we have preconceived ideas of what the results will show.

Confirmation bias: overlooking the evidence that is contrary to what we are trying to prove in order to confirm the hypothesis

Fallacies can arise with deductive, inductive and informal reasoning
If we begin with truth and reason validly we will end with the truth

(distinction between right and wrong)
(conclusion reached after evaluation of facts)
Good Generalisations
- number

- variety

- exceptions

- coherence

- subject area
Formal vs Informal
Formal logic refers to categories of Induction and Deduction (that can be structured)

Informal logic refers to generalisations and presumptions grounded in fallacies, often influenced by emotions.
Other perspectives
- people who lost loved ones because they have been exposed to tobacco smoke
both emotion and reason are 2 WOKs that greatly affect our moral judgement on legal decisions
there needs to be a balance between the two
without emotion and reason, there would be no laws
- How do value judgements apply to smoking bans?
(related to belief bias)

- As values are determined by our societies there are no real "universal values"
and Ethics
- Compassion is the basis of morality.
Arthur Schopenhauer
Emotions and Ethics
-A system of morality that is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception that has nothing sound in it and nothing true.

Utilitarianism and Self-Interest

‘Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.’

Immanuel Kant and his Categorical Imperative
The 'Social Contract' - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
- hierarchical society, run by a government
- decisions we take affect others
- by feeling sympathetic or not towards other people's actions, we make moral judgements
- intuition
- emotions are not the same for everybody - so no good indicator for a universal opinion and judgement (in the legal context)
- lack of objectivity, emotionally coloured perception
Reason and Ethics
- helps us arrive at an
moral judgement
- helps us come up with general rules
- deduction
Reason and Ethics
- not every situtaion is the same
- some time some subjectivity needed
The Golden Rule
"do as would be done by"
- deduction
All metals are shiny.
Copper is shiny.
Therefore copper is a metal.
Morals excite passions, and produce or prevent actions. Reason itself is utterly impotent in this particular. The rules of morality are not the conclusion of our reason.

David Hume
Ban on smoking in Luxembourg
But how reliable is the information given to us?
How do we know we can trust it?

There are numerous reasons to not smoke based on scientific research...
Problems with science:
Scientific Investigation Method
paradigm shift
causes cancer
carbon monoxide
Tar and hankerchief test
raises the risk of coronary heart disease
high blood pressure
causes an accumulation of fatty substances in the arteries (atherosclerosis)
second hand smoker
...and many more!
According to science, smoking...
- deduction
All metals are shiny.
Copper is shiny.
Copper is a metal.
- Does perception play an important role in our view of legal decisions and their repercussions on society?How much of a problem is bias?
-What is the role of language; to what extent does the formulation and the wording of a law affect our moral judgement on legal decisions?
- What is the role of history and the benefit of hindsight regarding our understanding of legal issues?
- What role does religion play?
- Can emotion be rational?
- How important is consistency in moral reasoning?
- Is there a logic in scientific discovery?
- Are humans rational animals?
- Are we driven more by reason or emotion?
- Is Ethics more a matter of the heart or the head?
- moral values are determined by society
- diversity argument
- lack of foundations argument
- tolerance -> to what extent?
- limitations of moral relativism
There is one and only one supreme moral priciple
We should seek the greatest happiness of the greatest number
Maximise happiness!
Self-interest theory
- humans are always and everywhere selfish
- humans therefore incapable of living up to the moral values
- definitional argument
- evolutionary argument
- hidden benefits argument
- fear of punishment argument
natural sciences and ethics are 2 AOKs greatly affecting our moral judgement on legal decisions
- induction is used to make fallacious predictions and scientific laws
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