Theory of Knowledge"How Do We Know?"
The Theory of Knowledge course will premiere Fall 2018 as part of the IB Diploma Programme. Students do not need to enroll in DP in order to take TOK. Course details will emerge on this page as they are designed!
How freely should people be allowed to express themselves?
How might internet censorship be beneficial to society?
Does history show we have made ethical progress?
How do we know when scientific conclusions are justified?
Which is more important in advertising: reason, emotion, language or perception?
Is emotion irrelevant to the construction of Mathematical knowledge?
If an author justifies their work, can we trust the knowledge?
How important is it to be consistent in our moral reasoning?
Do we need language in order to think?
Is there any knowledge that can be attained solely through emotion?
What role does eyewitness testimony play in history?
Does all knowledge require some kind of rational basis?
Does truth transcend culture?
Do new technologies affect the beliefs of a society?
The Official Subject Brief
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self… Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know…
— Walt Whitman: From Song of Myself (1855)
The man bent over his guitar,
A shearsman of sorts. The day was green. They said, “You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.”
The man replied, “Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar.”
And they said then, “But play, you must,
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,
A tune upon the blue guitar
Of things exactly as they are.”
— First stanza of “The Man with a Blue Guitar” by Wallace Stevens (1937)
The human brain craves understanding. It cannot understand without simplifying; that is, without reducing things to a common element. However, all simplifications are arbitrary and lead us to drift insensibly away from reality.
Lecomte du Nouy