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Trinity Grammar School, Sydney

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The art of Debatig For a good debate you need citrine factors like your emotional appear. The “Emotional Appear” is how you debate. You can debate strong and attack the arguments of the other team or you can with the ordiance and try to win their sympathy. I can show you these two types at the example of an Osama Bin Laden-Debate : First the strong argumentation: “He has killed thousands of people and that is why the killing of Osama Bin Laden was right!” Now the emotional argumentation:” Osama Bin Laden was a man like you and me and no one has achieved…

TOK Presentation


Introduction - Richard               

The Real-Life Situation discussed in this presentation is investigating the vaccinations debate, in particularly the Ways of Knowing that arguments on the conflicting sides appeal to. The MMR vaccination or Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination and its impact on rising numbers of autism expressly was researched.

Both presenters had reserved initial thoughts and reactions upon this topic, however were further enlightened when advancing our investigation into the topic and applying the fundamental principles of understanding Real-Life Situations relevant to Theory of Knowledge.

Our initial reactions were complemented when seeking a third party’s personal opinion. When questioned for their opinion of “what Ways of Knowing do you think both sides of the vaccinations debate are appealing to?” a friend, with no previous Theory of Knowledge experience, answered that the side supporting vaccinations are appealing to “reason and intuition,” and are contrasted by the party disapproving of vaccination as they said they appeal to “emotion, faith and intuition.”

Knowledge Question/Areas of Knowledge Decontextualisation – Richard

The knowledge question formulated for this presentation is; How does emotion and reason assist or limit our justification of the methods used in natural sciences? The knowledge question is based off vaccinations as the methods used in natural sciences. As well as emotion and reason, other Ways of Knowing that must be considered include ethics intuition and faith.

The area of knowledge of natural sciences includes our own physiology and anything involving medicine. In the methodology of vaccinations, technology is also applied, however this is an applied discipline, not a part of natural sciences.

Claim – Richard

Upon investigation of online articles and studies into our Real-Life Situation, the claim is made that intuition is the salient Way of Knowing used to rebut this method of vaccinations in the natural sciences. On the contrary, those in support of this method used in the natural sciences appeal to reason as the principle Way of Knowing.


Limiting our Justi.....[read full text]

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Those supporting the vaccinations debate are particularly appealing to reason to assist in justifying the method of the MMR vaccination and to demonstrate that it does not cause autism. Compelling evidence through research impacts this use of reason, as seen in the following quantitative results:

Richard read this off

  • A study of more than 440,000 Danish children vaccinated in the 1990s compared with 96,000 unvaccinated children provided strong evidence AGAINST the hypothesis that MMR vaccination causes autism or autistic spectrum disorder.

  • A large study in Finland followed almost 600,000 children for 20 years after MMR vaccination and found no evidence for MMR vaccine-associated autism or other neurological disorders.

  • A study of the rates of inflammatory bowel disease and autism among 6,100 French school-aged children found no association between MMR vaccination and these diseases.

  • A study in Sweden in 1998 looking at the prevalence of autism over 10 years found no change after the introduction of MMR vaccines.

  • Additional studies in the US and UK found no correlation between trends in early childhood MMR immunisation rates and trends in autism diagnosis. For example, a study done in California showed that, although rates of autism have gone up by 373% over 15 years, the increase in the number of children immunised with MMR vaccine has only increased by 14% in that time.

    This extensive range of statistical data approves the claim that reason is the principle Way of Knowing used as the data facilitates the justification of this method used .....

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    Emotion Cannot be used by itself

    However, a counterclaim to this is that emotion by itself can lead to harsh and unjust conclusions. I will demonstrate this through the following example. I believe that murder is the worst act any man or woman can commit and therefore, any person who kills another deserves maximum punishment, a life sentence imprisonment.

    However, I also understand this is not the way the law works. For example, there may be instances in which a person suffers from pure psychiatric mental illnesses and commit acts without understanding what they are doing and the implications of what they are doing.

    To be found guilty of murder, an accused person must be proven to exhibit the mens rea element - that is, they had an intention to do the act. Therefore, to sentence an individual to life imprisonment for an act that he did not intend to do would be an unjust and cruel outcome.

    This example highlights how using emotion by itself can have a poor effect in cognitions that require accurate and just knowledge through use of reason.


    Conclusion – Richard

    In justifying a method used in the natural sciences, a dualist application of emotion and reason is pivotal. Reliance on solely either of these Ways of Knowing results in imperfect knowledge, or distorted knowledge. Reason can be fallible as methods people use to reach knowledge can be unreliable such as in syllogism and the cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, as well as the fact that situations almost always incorporate or induce emotions.

    Emotion alone can be fallible as reason is required to put restraints and provides boundaries which are often absent in emotion and for a just and reasonable acquisition of knowledge. It can be concluded that in our Real-Life Situation evaluated, the Ways of Knowing of reason and emotion both assist and limit respectively our justification for methods used in the natural sciences, however must be used in twofold, whereby both Ways of Knowing are applied for eithe.....

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