Question 1.

In what ways may disagreement aid the pursuit of knowledge in the natural and
human sciences? Understanding the question: A very straightforward Q setting the exact parameters that you must work within. We tend to disagree when alternative interpretations of a situation, event or theory conflict. So what differentiates a scientific disagreement or difference of interpretation and an artistic one? Knowledge Issues: In what sense is 'disagreement' a crucial part of scientific thinking? Perspectives: N Sciences: Disagreements over theories/evidence: global warming; stem cell research; GM foods... Related Article: Muslim women: beyond the stereotype

Question 2. “Only seeing general patterns can give us knowledge. Only seeing particular
examples can give us understanding.” To what extent do you agree with these assertions? Understanding the question: A really tricky Q this one. You have to distinguish between the meaning of the terms 'general patterns' and 'particular examples'; between 'knowledge' and 'understanding' and explore the way in which 'seeing'/perception helps or hinders the search for knowledge & understanding. Don't forget to explore the force of 'only': you would do well to remember that there ARE other approaches to gaining knowledge, so compare/contrast this way with others. Knowledge Issues: How far is it true to say that the human mind shapes the world according to its knowledge needs? To what extent do we experience the same reality? History: The past is a fixed reality, isn't it? The things that have happened are a constant, so to speak. Then how is it that historians 'see' patterns/particulars and 'know'/'understand' those events differently? Related Article:

Question 3. “The possession of knowledge carries an ethical responsibility.” Evaluate this
claim. Understanding the question: An attractive question, though one which can lead to much superficial discussion, so make your focus clear from the start: the Q wants you to explore the ethical boundaries of knowledge and how we expand or contract those boundaries. Knowledge issues: How far should we censor what people are allowed to know? Is there any knowledge that should be censored from public view? Perspectives: Math: math seems to be the only AOK without a clear ethical dimension. Surely, knowing that the internal angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees carries little ethical responsibility... Related Article: The Really Hard Science

Question 4. The traditional TOK diagram indicates four ways of knowing. Propose the
inclusion of a fifth way of knowing selected from intuition, memory or imagination, and explore the knowledge issues it may raise in two areas of knowledge. Understanding the question: Intuition: Think about the way the mind connects ideas or facts or evidence in the process of gaining knowledge. We can take slow logical steps (mathematical intuition) or sometimes spontaneously grasp the links (a scientific 'eureka' moment) or suddenly, and against our will, connect individual experiences with a far greater meaning than we first conceived (religious epiphany)... Knowledge issues: How far is knowledge enhanced by imaginative/intuitive thinking (and vice versa)? Perspectives: Math: some of the greatest imaginative leaps in Math have been in the transition from Euclidean to non Euclidean geometry. Related Article: How Reading Fiction Can Improve Your Social Skills

Question 5. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
(Christopher Hitchens). Do you agree? Understanding the question: Implicit in the quote is the idea that evidence based claims are somehow more superior to non-evidence based claims? So the initial questions are: what sort of knowledge claims are asserted without evidence and are they necessarily worth dismissing on these grounds? Knowledge issues: to what extent are non-evidence based assertions weaker than those which have an empirical basis? Perspectives: History: Some non-evidence based religious claims, like historical claims, refer us to a range of primary sources. Often, these are Biblical sources or eye-witness testimonies many of which are full of powerful and inspiring language whose strength lies in the fact that it moves people to good works in society. Related Article: Julia Neuberger: 'A nudge in the right direction won't run the big society'

Question 6. Can we know when to trust our emotions in the pursuit of knowledge? Consider
history and one other area of knowledge. Understanding the question: Our emotions give us a 'subjective' model of the world outside, but how do we get beyond different people's models to an 'objective' sense of the world? How do we agree that the world out there that I say I know is the same as yours? Knowledge issues: Is emotion a reliable test for our knowledge? Can emotion be measured? Perspectives: Ethics: can you think of any ethical situation that is not emotive? Distinguish here between ethics and morals -which one involves being dispassionate and objective and which one is subjective and wholly emotive? Related Article: The Truth Wears Off

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