Thursday, February 26th – Views on the economy

You are responsible for working today to track your own progress.  Please open up the document that you started yesterday and return to the website at the Pew research center.  Consider your results.  Write responses to the following questions into the same document that your results are in.

  1. What seems most shocking about your results?  Did the test confirm what you already believed?  Why is that?
  2. When you read the description of the profile for your political views, what seems most accurate?  What seems most off-base?
  3. Read the descriptions for other groups.  Are you in the group that is ‘right’ for you?  Are you in the group you hope(d) to be in?  Explain.
  4. Read the more elaborate explanation – “Beyond Red vs. Blue…”- comparing people’s responses to the questions.  What did you learn?  Write and elaborate – use examples where appropriate.
  5. Compare the typology groups on the various issues.  What seems most interesting? How does this data alter your view about the political landscape?
  6. Compare the data in the responses to the questions.  Does the explanation validate the findings?  Does data give them merit?  Is this an accurate way to know someone’s political views?

Now that you’ve done some initial research into the political assumptions you have, read and consider the breakdown of responses regarding government, write a thoughtful response to this question:

7.  Given what you’ve now know about paradigms (thanks to Kuhn), what impact will an individual’s political views have when they consider a question like: What fiscal policy would you promote (regarding taxes) if you were a presidential candidate for the 2016 presidential election?  To what degree should we work to change individual’s values before we tackle the simpler question of ‘what should we do about taxes?’

8.  Let’s look now at the ways the area of knowledge History will play in this exploration.  Consider your views and the views of others about Trust in Government. What could be done to change these views?  What should be done?  Why is that necessary?  Read this article from 2013 regarding a decline in Trust in government.  Link to and explore the interactive on Public Trust in Government.  What do you learn?  What are the implications of what you’re learning?  What does it suggest about recent presidents?  About the role of historical events as factors that influence individual perspectives?

9.   As you get deeper into the interactive, consider the presentation of the data itself.  What is significant about this particular tool as a way to know something about individual attitudes about government?  How does the presentation of data influence its interpretation?  Its value? Its interpretation?

Hopefully, you can do a thoughtful job today in class.  Hopefully, too, you are productive.  I would expect thoughtful, productive, and focused learners to complete questions 1-6 and begin a written explanation of question 7 by the end of the period today, Thursday, February 26th.  While there is no homework, you will need to save your written progress and be prepared to submit it in written form if asked to do so.  In the meantime, keep it in digital form and work diligently to explore the issues.  Tomorrow, we will continue from where you left off.

Homework for Thomas Kuhn

Tonight’s homework is to read chapter two in the Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  If your book hasn’t arrived, print out the pages from this link

Remember to make sure that you always meet these three criterion with your notes:

    1. You have identified the important passages
    2. You have written commentary to suggest the significance of the passages
    3. You have synthesized the ideas into your own words

Additionally, we will continue to take in-class notes on the ideas/questions that we have as we work through the text. 

Although it seems obvious, it bears repeating that it is my expectation that each student meets the following criterion:

  • is able to use a variety of reading strategies to better understand collegiate-level work
  • is able to understand Kuhn’s ideas and can paraphrase significant passages from the text
  • is able to synthesize the main arguments from the text and use a quotation to support that synthesis
  • is able to evaluate specific passages or ideas in the text

With this in mind, it is important for students to do their own work and to refrain from using summaries or encyclopedias to do the analysis in lieu of student thought.  In all facets of this process, students are expected to be able to demonstrate their own thinking and the steps they’ve taken in this process.

Kuhn Quiz to chapter

Given, that we are reading selections from Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions in order to:

  1. learn strategies to read challenging texts
  2. create effective notetaking/synthesizing strategies
  3. analyze his argument [using our brains and not using online/other sources]
  4. and lastly, to determine whether or not he is correct…

our homework is to: complete a reading of chapter one with some form of notes to show for it.

IF you own your own book, you may take notes in your book.  If you’ve checked out a school text, I need a way to discern the difference between your ideas and any previous reader of the text.  With that in mind, the best way for you to achieve that is to take notes on separate paper.

By Wednesday, you should be able to answer questions on chapter one like the following  Structure of Scientific Revolutions Quiz on chapter 1.

You don’t need to complete the quiz, only to know how you would respond.  I do, however, recommend answering the red questions.

For each prompt, read the excerpt and respond to the italicized directions.  Show your understanding of the author’s views expressed in the excerpt in your response.  Fill in blanks where directed to do so.

From page 1  “Those texts have, for example, often seemed to imply that the content of science is uniquely exemplified by the observations, laws, and theories used in gathering textbook data, together with the logical operations employed when relating those data to the textbook’s theoretical generalizations.”  What does this passage mean?  Does Kuhn think this is a good thing?  Why/why not?

1  “The result [of what?                                                                 ] has been a concept of science with profound implications about its nature and development.”  What are the implications?  Explain.

According to Kuhn, are the implications wrong?

If science is the constellation of facts, theories and methods collected in current texts, then scientists are the men who… have striven to contribute one or another element to that particular constellation.”  Explain the metaphorical language in literal terms.  What does Kuhn mean?

From page 2  “In recent years, however, a few historians of science have been finding it more and more difficult to fulfill the functions that the concept of development-by-accumulation assigns to them….  “Perhaps science does not develop by the accumulation of individual discoveries and inventions”  How, then does science develop according to Kuhn (hint: his answer is implied, not literal)?

2  What problems arise if “historians…[have] difficulties in distinguishing the ‘scientific’ component of past observation and belief from what their predecessors had readily labled ‘error’ and ‘superstition’?  [When they study discarded ideas, they realize] those once current views of nature were… neither less scientific nor more the product of human idiosyncrasy than those today? ”

  • Paraphrase his argument in this passage. 
  • What does Kuhn suggest about the ability of scientists to know the truth? 

On page 3, Kuhn arrives at the idea that “these historical studies suggest the possibility of a new image of science.”  From what you know already, what does Kuhn see as this ‘new image of science’?  How does Kuhn see science and scientific development? Respond on the back of this sheet.

On page 5, Kuhn discusses the Education that scientists go through to become scientists.  What impact does this education have on science?  Explain.  Be as specific as possible.

On the bottom of page 5, Thomas Kuhn uses the term ‘normal science’ as a concept.  By ‘normal science’ he does mean the way that scientists function normally, but he also implies several other things.  In what ways does normal science limit what scientists can learnWhat else is involved in ‘normal science’ according to Kuhn?

7  What does Kuhn mean by ‘scientific revolutions’?  Use a diagram to further clarify your explanation.

How do scientific revolutions impact the development of science?[see page 7]

  “New theory implies a change in the rules governing the prior practice of normal science”  “seldom or never just an increment to what is already known”  reconstruction of prior theory and the re-evaluation of prior fact”            Did Einstein change science or “history” and “myths” of science?  Is there a difference?

Could it build on prior results but abolish prior interpretations?  Does it just change the schemas?

Growth spurts, continuous growth, or both?  Why can’t there be less revolutionary findings?

  “does not simply add one more item to the population of the scientist’s world”

Does everything necessarily alter the schema?  Do all things do so to a meaningful extent (noticable)?

As we look more carefully at mathematics

We have read several texts – “Think Maths” by Ian Stewart; “Why is math so useful?” by Michael Lemmonick, and an excerpt from a ToK text called “Discovered or invented?”.  Today, we watched a video about Fractals – “Fractals, the colors of infinity“.  The multiple choice questions for your final will come from this video.

Beyond this, it is worthwhile for you (especially those of you who enjoy math) to consider some of the following:

Thursday December 12th in class

Please view this  TED Talk and consider the argument therein regarding eyewitness testimony.  During the video, take notes on the content shared.  After viewing, please respond in a paragraph to the following question:  If Scott Fraser’s argument is legitimate, what questions does that raise for historians?

Eyewitness Testimony – TED talk Scott Fraser

When you are finished, critically read the following text – Plutarch’s “The Malice of Herodotus” and consider it’s viewpoint.  Tomorrow, we will analyze some of Herodotus’ writing and decide for ourselves if Plutarch is right.