top of page
  • minervatuition

๐™„๐˜ฝ ๐™๐™Š๐™†: ๐™’๐™๐™ฎ ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™€๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™– ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™› ๐™‹๐™ก๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฃโ€™๐™ฉ?

It is surprising what you discover when undertaking research for the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) component of the International Baccalaureate. TOK analyses the processes by which mankind develops knowledge.

๐™๐™๐™š ๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฎ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™‹๐™ก๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ค Plutoโ€™s chequered history as a โ€œplanetโ€ illustrates some of the pitfalls of creating knowledge. Percival Lowellโ€™s calculations led him to believe that there was a ninth planet beyond Neptune responsible for its orbital irregularities, prompting him to begin a search in 1906. Consequently, when a distant icy orbiting rock was discovered in 1930, after Lowellโ€™s death, by a telescope at Arizonaโ€™s Flagstaff Observatory that Lowell had built, it seemed a triumph of rational, logical thinking - and not confirmation bias.

๐™Ž๐™ช๐™ง๐™š๐™ก๐™ฎ, ๐™‹๐™ก๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ข๐™ช๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™—๐™š ๐™– ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™š๐™ฉ Until late in the 20th century, Plutoโ€™s status as a planet seemed a perfect example of logic, of deductive thinking: โ€œPluto orbits the sun, eight planets closer to the sun follow a similar pattern, therefore Pluto is a planet.โ€ Indeed, it was also an example of inductive thinking too, working from the known to the unknown: โ€œThose eight other orbiting bodies are planets, therefore Pluto is a planet too. However, as Dostoevsky had cautioned, โ€œMan has such a predilection for systems and abstract deductions that he is ready to distort the truth intentionally.โ€ ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™›๐™–๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™˜๐™๐™–๐™ฃ๐™œ๐™š In science facts are observations, perceived as regular and reliable. When the spacecraft Voyager passed Pluto in 1989 it became apparent that Pluto was nowhere near as large as initially thought. Then throughout the 1990s and beyond scientists discovered the Kuiper Belt of Objects. As one researcher later stated if Pluto, in the Kuiper Belt, was a planet then within a decade we might have around 110 planets. Suddenly, convenience and language were forming knowledge rather than reason. Remember that Niels Bohr had criticised Albert Einstein with the words, โ€œYou are not thinking. You are merely being logical.โ€

๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™›๐™ช๐™จ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ž๐™จ๐™จ๐™ช๐™š The discovery of Plutoโ€™s larger neighbour Eris, appropriately named after the Greek Goddess of strife and discord, further weakened Plutoโ€™s cause.

๐™‡๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™ช๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ช๐™ง๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™™๐™š๐™ข๐™ค๐™˜๐™ง๐™–๐™˜๐™ฎ ... At the International Astronomical Union meeting of 2006 it was democracy in action which decided the issue. Delegates voted that Pluto should not be considered a planet because it did not meet the criteria of sweeping objects from its neighbourhood. Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet.

๐™Ž๐™ค, ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™€๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™– ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™š๐™ฉ? As Earth has around 12,000 asteroids in its neighbourhood, then it also fails the IAUโ€™s criterion as applied to Pluto.

๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ก๐™™ ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™œ๐™ช๐™–๐™œ๐™š ๐™™๐™š๐™›๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™ก๐™š๐™™๐™œ๐™š? A 2017 proposal suggested that a planet should be โ€œa round object in space that's smaller than a star." Though on this vague criterion the Earthโ€™s moon would be elevated to planet status. So far, it seems that our ways of knowing have failed to help, principally reason, frequently cited as the king of ways of knowing, has been of little help. Planetary scientist Alan Stern of NASA summed up the impasse, โ€œMy conclusion is that the IAU definition is not only unworkable and unteachable, but so scientifically flawed and internally contradictory that it cannot be strongly defended against claims of scientific sloppiness, "ir-rigor," and cogent classification.โ€

50 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

๐‚๐ฅ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ƒ๐จ: ๐ฌ๐จ๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ฐ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ง๐ข๐ง๐ 

๐‚๐ฅ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ƒ๐จ: ๐ฌ๐จ๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ฐ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ง๐ข๐ง๐  Some of our tutors successfully use Class Do software for their lessons with their pupils. Class Do gives teachers the opportunity to provide

British boarding schools: World-class extracurricular activites

๐๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก ๐›๐จ๐š๐ซ๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฌ๐œ๐ก๐จ๐จ๐ฅ๐ฌ: ๐–๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐-๐œ๐ฅ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐š๐ซ ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ Parents considering sending their children to British Boarding Schools are ast

๐‡๐š๐ฌ ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ง๐ข๐ง๐  ๐›๐ž๐ž๐ง โ€œ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญโ€?

๐‡๐š๐ฌ ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ง๐ข๐ง๐  ๐›๐ž๐ž๐ง โ€œ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญโ€? As we possibly emerge from the pandemic there is much debate as to whether learning has been โ€œlostโ€. Undoubtedly, some pupils have been left with a learnin


bottom of page