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TK/PPF
Theory of knowledge - Planning and progress form
Teacher name:

Session:

Candidate name:

Candidate session
number:

School number:

School name:

Completion of this form The completion of this form by each candidate and their teacher for theory of knowledge is a
mandatory requirement. This will strengthen the process of writing the essay and support the authenticity of a candidate's
work. Each completed form must be submitted to the IB, but will not be marked.
Candidate This form must be completed during the planning and progress of your essay. It is a record of three interactions
with your teacher. The first interaction should focus on discussing the prescribed titles and choosing the title for your essay.
In your second interaction you should discuss the development of your ideas in relation to your chosen title, and you may
present to your teacher an exploration of those ideas in some written form. This will allow you to create a plan for the
structure of your essay. For your final interaction you are encouraged to present to your teacher a full draft of your essay.
The teacher is permitted to provide written comments on your draft, but will not mark or edit your draft.
Teacher You must have at least three interactions with each candidate; one early on in the process to discuss the
prescribed titles, an interim session to discuss progress and a final session at which the candidate should present a full draft.
Other interactions are permitted, but only these three should be recorded on this form.

Prescribed title:
Planning and
progress

Candidate's comments
You are advised to include your comments soon after each interaction

Date

First interaction:

Second interaction:

Third interaction:

Please turn over

International Baccalaureate

TK/PPF (Page 2)

Teacher's comments:

Completed declarations:
I confirm that my comments above are accurate
Candidate's name:

Date:

Teacher's name:

Date:

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
TOK IB N 2016
Trying to write a Good TOK Essay

Planning For example:


1 - argument example analysis - followed by counter argument example analysis
and conclusion linked to title
2 look at the title: in each aok considered, search for three examples and three quotes:
one justifying the claim, one which contradicts the claim and one which may be in
between. Then you build your essay around these quotes and examples but adding your
arguments, counter arguments and comments

SELECT A TITLE FROM THE IB LIST.


Do not instantly seize upon a title that sounds appealing. Read carefully all titles. Which
one allows you to demonstrate best your understanding of TOK issues and your own
critical skills.
WHAT ARE THE KEY WORDS OR CONCEPTS?
Are there key words of the Theory of Knowledge course words such as belief,
knowledge, truth, or justification? Are you clear about what they mean? Are you
aware of ambiguities in meaning, or of possible alternative meanings?
READ INSTRUCTIONS AND THE MARKING CRITERIA.
WHAT ARE THE KEY WORDS OF INSTRUCTION?
If you are told to assess or evaluate a claim, then you are supposed to consider the
arguments both for and against it, taking into account any ambiguities in interpreting it.
Possible responses, for example:
that the claim is justified in these ways or up to this point, but not justified in those
ways or beyond that point.
that whether or not the claim is justified depends on what is meant by one of its key
that, although some justification can be offered for this point of view, the claim is really
an oversimplification of an issue which needs to be understood with awareness of the
following complexities.

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
TOK IB N 2016
If you are asked to what extent or in what way a statement is justified or whether a
given statement is true -- then you are being asked the same thing, but in different words.
Always justify your statements and provide relevant examples to illustrate your
arguments, and remember to consider what can be said against them. If you use external
sources, cite them according to a recognized convention.
Read over the Assessment Tool according to which your essay will be marked. Pay
attention to the description of the top mark in each category in order to set your goals for
an appropriate essay. Treating the knowledge questions in the topic analytically is at the
core of your essay.
GATHER YOUR IDEAS.
(a) Now look back to the title you have chosen and start to identify the knowledge
questions which it raises. Are you clear in your mind what a knowledge question is?
The phrase knowledge question refers to possible uncertainties, biases in approach to
knowledge or limitations of knowledge, and the methods of verification and justification
appropriate to the different areas of knowledge.
What are the knowledge questions that I can see in the title Ive chosen? What are the
issues I should discuss?
Think about how the knowledge questions raised by your title are relevant to different
Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing. Do all cultures see these questions in the
same way? What comparisons can you draw, what general conclusions do you reach, and
what arguments can be made against those conclusions? What are the implications of
your main points? Can you find examples to illustrate your points? Counter- examples?
What Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge are relevant? Which ones are the best
to discuss here?
Think broadly, drawing the comparisons and links between Ways and Areas. Try drawing
lines between parts of the TOK Diagram and think of connections that your title suggests.
If you find ideas at all interesting or like to reflect on what beliefs or knowledge your life
experience and education have given you, you will probably find this stage of the essay
personally stimulating. Moreover, you will be given credit in your essay for pulling
together the relevant ideas in a way which reflects your own thinking and draws
illustrations of ideas not only from public facts and explanations but also from your own
life experience.

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
TOK IB N 2016
ORGANIZE YOUR IDEAS IN PREPARATION FOR WRITING.
As you put your ideas into related groups and shuffle them into order, you should identify
your THESIS that is, the central point which you want to make in your essay. Distil it
into a single sentence to write at the top of your plan. Make sure that every subsection of
your essay develops this core idea in some way, including considering counter-arguments
to it
There are many possible ways of structuring ideas in an essay, depending on the topic.
you might develop three reasons for accepting a particular conclusion, then counter
them with four stronger reasons for rejecting it and accepting a different one;
you might compare two areas of knowledge by developing first what they have in
common and then how they differ in the terms of the title;
you might consider a series of possible approaches to knowing and reflect upon the
problems and the strengths inherent in each in turn in the context given by the title.
1. Thesis First
In this pattern of development, you place your thesis in your introductory paragraph,
usually as its final sentence, so that your central argument hits the reader right at the
beginning. Each subsection of the body of the essay then supports and develops the
thesis. The conclusion picks up the thesis again, restating it in somewhat different words
as an argument which you have firmly established, and ends with a broader reflection or a
stylistic flourish.
Note that the thesis will often have the counter-argument built right into it (e.g.
Although X has some justification, Y is more convincing.). You will usually treat
counter arguments at the beginning, in order to lay them aside as you move on to give -in order of climax with the most persuasive at the end -- the arguments which you think
are better justified.
2. Thesis Last
In this pattern of development, you raise a focused question in your introduction, placing
it usually as the final sentence of the introductory paragraph. Each subsection of the body
of the essay then treats aspects of the question or possible answers to it, usually in order
of climax with the most persuasive at the end. The thesis then emerges firmly at the end
of the essay as the conclusion of the argument. This pattern simulates the process of
thinking and reaching a conclusion.

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
TOK IB N 2016
WRITE THE ESSAY.
You should keep your thesis in front of you at all times to keep your mind focused on
the central argument you must sustain.
The marking assessment tool favours a concise introduction, one which establishes your
topic and sets out your thesis, but does not go on and on and on at huge length. Know
where you want to go and dont use up hundreds of words just getting started. The
introduction should do three things: catch the reader's attention, establish your topic, and
take the stand on your topic with a clear thesis.
Try to develop ideas in proportion to their importance in your overall plan. Your essay
must not exceed 1600 words in length, so control the degree to which you expand on an
idea as you go
You are expected to clarify concepts as you go, defining terms if necessary. Do not,
above all, use a dictionary definition to bypass complexities: no teacher or examiner will
be impressed if, after a course in which you discuss possible understandings of truth or
knowledge, you solve this knowledge question by plunking down a citation from the
dictionary as if you have thereby settled the matter!
Select your examples from a wide variety of sources and cultures. Make sure, moreover,
that they really do illustrate the points you are making. A reference to the Copernican
Revolution and Galileo, for example, might illustrate a change in beliefs, but it does not
demonstrate an understanding of revolutions in thinking within contemporary science
If you need to write about language: Trying to show that in a particular culture, words
may have different meanings, then use words that you use in the language that you speak.
If you use fine-sounding quotations, make sure that you are aware that they are no more
than a stylistic device, to illustrate a point, perhaps, but not to "prove" it. If the author of
the quotation is relevant to your argument, or if the content of the quotation is something
you are debating, then the quotation becomes more functional and there is more purpose
in including it.
Check your facts. Are your assertions accurate? Acknowledge the source of any
quotation or unusual pieces of information, using accepted conventions of footnotes and
bibliography. Make sure that your conclusion is coherent with the arguments you made.
There is no right or wrong answer to a prescribed title: your essay will be evaluated
upon its awareness of knowledge questions and the quality of your analytical thought. An
effective conclusion must return to the thesis as the central idea which has been explored
throughout. Finally, go back over your essay with the general directions and the
assessment criteria.

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
TOK IB N 2016
How To Write A Bibliography
A bibliography is an alphabetical list of all the sources you have consulted for an essay or
research paper. You must list your sources in a specific format. Use this guide to create your
bibliography in the correct format.
A Sample Bibliography:
Begley, Sharon. "A Healthy Dose of Laughter." Newsweek Oct.4, 1982: 74.
Brody, Jane E. "Multiple Cancers Termed On Increase." New York Times Oct.10, 1976:
A37.
Gilbert, Martin. The Second World War: A Complete History. New York: Henry Holt,
1989.
"Mandarin." Encyclopedia Americana. 1991 ed.
Robinson, Adam. What Smart Students Know. New York: Crown Paperbacks, 1993.
Rupp, Ernest Gordon. "Erasmus." Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia. 1991 ed.
Sorensen, Sharon, and Bob LeBreck. The Research Paper. New York: Amsco
Publications, 1994.

The World of Learning. London: Europa Publications, 1995.

For references, refer to the TOK Essay Harvard referencing


document.

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
TOK IB N 2016
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Harvard Referencing for TOK Essay (School Policy)
To help generate the references, Please Refer to:
http://www.harvardreferencegenerator.com/website.php

Example for a website:

Another example in which the principle of simplicity played a part was the theory posed by
Copernicus which stated that the planets orbit the sun in a perfect circular motion, as no other
theories were as simple as Copernicus heliocentric theory, it was accepted for some time before
it was proven wrong through the scientific method of inductivism1: observation, hypothesis,
experiment, law and theory.

Example for a book:

It includes three key elements: axioms, deductive reasoning and theorems. As it is impossible to
prove everything as one would get caught in infinite regress, a system of axioms presenting
starting points in the form of basic assumptions for carrying out a proof are used, for example: a
simple one used in Euclidian geometry It shall be possible to draw a straight line joining any
two points2.

Example for a movie:

When looking into religious knowledge systems, we might be confused by the contrast between
rules in each religion. For example a bride within the Roman Catholics confession wears a white
dress but in Hinduism, a woman wearing white clothes is a widow. These differences in practices
may lead to knowledge confusion as shown in the Indian movie PK3.

Lee Harvey, (2012) Qualityresearchinternational.com,


http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/socialresearch/inductivism.htm , 12 Sep. 2014
2
Richard van de Lagemaat. (2011), Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma, Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
3
YouTube Video Editor, (Dec 20, 2014) youtube.com,
http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVo3eAg5OFg, 9/2/2014

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Example for a newspaper article:


From this perspective we could consider how the media might stereotype politicians and
business people, bringing suspicion in the perception of general public by suggesting that
financial success can be achieved through the attainment of political contacts. For
example, in Mauritius, the newspaper LExpress4 recently released a nation-wide Sunday
paper with pictures and related articles of the prime minister dancing with a woman on
the cover. This woman, Mrs. Soornac, has achieved significant success in business in
Mauritius, and has obtained many financial contracts, such as the food services provided
at the national airport. The news reporter, Nad Sivaramen in LExpress has arguably
played a significant role in creating suspicion regarding Mrs. Soornacs success by
associating her with the prime minister and thus creating a stereotype that success in
finance and business can only be obtained if one has relations with political powers. We
could argue that this specific news outlet could be creating a stereotype of this political
party in Mauritius by emphasizing on specific ideas in its newspapers. This might not
necessarily lead us to the whole truth about this subject but rather the truth as filtered
through the views of LExpress, and in this way the information which forms of the
media such as newspapers portray about different social groups is highly selective and
one-sided, and while it may not necessarily lead us away from the truth, it tends to
prevent us from getting a holistic understanding of certain issues.

Nad Sivaramen , (12/2/2014) http://www.lexpress.mu,

http://www.lexpress.mu/idee/250968/vous-avez-droit-savoir , 29/08/14

Knowledge questions are thoroughly explored and clearly related to examples/real-life situations. Effective
links are made to areas of knowledge and/or ways of knowing. Analysis is coherent, and well developed. The
discussion includes consideration of implications, assumptions, counterclaims and different perspectives.

Knowledge questions are explored and related to examples/real-life situations. Links are made to areas of
knowledge and/or ways of knowing. Analysis is developed. The discussion identifies some implications and/or
assumptions, and includes some consideration of counterclaims and/or different perspectives.

Knowledge questions are considered and related to examples/real-life situations, although these may not
always be appropriate. Some links are made to areas of knowledge and/or ways of knowing. Analysis is
developed to a limited extent. The discussion is more descriptive than analytical, and counterclaims and
different perspectives are identified but not explored.

There is little consideration of knowledge questions related to examples/real-life situations. Superficial links
are made to areas of knowledge and/or ways of knowing. Analysis is not offered, or lacks coherence. The
discussion is simplistic and mainly descriptive. There is minimal reference to counterclaims or different
perspectives.

There is no consideration of knowledge questions. Few, if any, references are made to areas of knowledge or
ways of knowing. The discussion is simplistic and descriptive. Counterclaims or different perspectives are not
identified.

M15 THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY BOUNDARIES


Grade

From

To

10

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
TOK IB 2015 2016
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Form 7 TOK Essay Nov. 2016

Words that you should include in your TOK Essay thus helping you to match
the assessment criteria.

These are the knowledge questions that are relevant to the prescribed title
The (at least two) areas of knowledge that I will explore are
I will attempt to link and compare effectively the following ways of knowing to these areas of
knowledge
I will discuss both sides of the knowledge question

I will develop the knowledge question in an independent way

Personally, I think that From a different perspective, I see that


From my point of view as IB student, as a young adult, as a boy, as a girl, I think that
From my personal experience, I think that
Culturally, I think that
From a religious and ethical point of view, my argument is
From my personal experience, one relevant example is
Following the argument above, I will illustrate my point with the following example

I will now explore in depth the following knowledge question and from different
perspectives
I ensure that my points are coherent by

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
TOK IB 2015 2016
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The justification of the point above is given by
My claim is that
However, a counterclaim is the following
I will now explore and evaluate the above counterclaim
Therefore I demonstrate that my analysis of the above claims and counterclaims are linked to
the knowledge issues relevant to the prescribed title
I am including the following factual information to support correctly my arguments and my
counter-arguments
My explanation or one possible explanation is
I will now develop the following concept linked to the prescribed title
My sources of information are

As personal knowledge,
As shared knowledge,

The language of History, the language of mathematics, the language of science


We gain knowledge, in this area of knowledge, through the following ways of knowing
We can also gain knowledge through practice
The limitations of this way of knowing in this particular area of knowledge are

The nature of knowledge in this AOK is and the methodology is the following

You must NOT write: in Science, we prove that

Examiners may look into the following

What is a knowledge problem as related to an AOK and WOKs?

So our task is to look for KQ which are related to the prescribed title.
The knowledge question must not be trivial but thoughtful and thus these will enable in depth
discussion.
If there is a judicious choice of the knowledge question, the student will be able to link WOKs
to AOKs

How do we compare WOKs and AOKs?

This is probably easier to do but any comparison must be linked to the knowledge question.

As an IB student, a learner and one who is aiming to become a knower, how far can the
knowledge question related to the title be related to the learner?

A learner gains knowledge or seeks for knowledge. Then when discussing the knowledge
questions, how and to what extent can we claim that we have reached for the truth? So would the
learner have enough evidence to lay down a conclusion which is valid?

Different perspectives

The issues should be discussed and arguments and counter arguments should be discussed from
different views:
For example: As a critical thinker, do we reason in the same way when you are a man or a
woman? Depending on your age does your ability as a critical thinker vary? What is role of your
culture, religion, upbringing, social status in your reasoning? Compare the views of experts and
students.
So we dont see things in the same way when we look at the parameters mentioned above.
However we cannot say that we use reason in a more effective way if we are a man rather than a
woman.
The knowledge question must be pertinent and the strength of which must allow the student to
develop that so that a number of arguments and counter-arguments are exposed.
These arguments, that is, what you think, need to be strongly justified.

There are many types of justification. You may quote an expert who is credible. We need to
provide evidence of their credibility. However we must make sure that our arguments are sound
and that the ways we provide justifications are valid.
So the students should always bear in mind these two words: Credibility and Validity.
We should not contradict ourselves in moving from one argument to another one. This means
that all through our arguments, we need to be coherent to ourselves and to our ideas and aims.
Once we have fully developed an argument, we should look at a counter-argument and equally
develop it. Then we avoid being biased and we explore both sides of an issue.
For example: A Foreigner observing the Mauritian society during an election may come to the
conclusion that we are an example for democracy and that we have a know how in free and fair
elections. However a Mauritian who left the country for a while and comes back to observe us,
might understand the different ethnic groups.

Essay writing requires a structure. We need an introduction, in which we formulate our aims and
objectives.
However we are not going to write the prescribed title again and again. We must remember that
our upper limit is only 1600 words.
When we conclude, there must not be repetition of arguments. We need to re-focus on the
prescribed title and write what we have found out after analyzing that title.
Whatever we have been writing must be clear to the examiner. The words that we choose must
not lead to confusion. All the technical terms used must be well explained when needed. For
example: we write something and claim it is a paradigm shift We must briefly explain
why
All factual data used in the essay must be properly referenced. By definition, factual data are:
Verifiable facts which can reasonably be assumed to contribute to investigation, understanding,
and solution of the problem at hand.
All your sources of information need to be noted
Finally remember that when a Website is consulted: The webpage is noted + the day, date and
time.

We kindly remind you that any Malpractice results in losing the Diploma.

Writing the TOK Essay must be a pleasant exercise, not a burden. When you are not sure
about something, please ask us and meanwhile you show us your drafts. The essay will be sent
as an electronic version. Final version to Eddy, Monday, 7th of September2015, latest.

Assessment instruments

Presentation moderators will similarly endeavour to reach a holistic judgment based on the responses of the
student(s) and teacher on the TK/PPD form.
The markbands for each assessment task in effect represent a single holistic criterion applied to the piece
of work, which is judged as a whole. The highest descriptor levels do not imply faultless performance and
examiners and teachers should not hesitate to use the extremes if they are appropriate descriptions of the
work being assessed.

Part 1: Essay on a prescribed title


The following diagram shows the question underpinning a global impression judgment of the TOK essay.
This question is to shape the reading and assessing of TOK essays.

Does the student present an appropriate and cogent analysis


of knowledge questions in discussing the title?

Has the student:


understood the proposition?

understood the knowledge questions that are explicit


and implicit in the title, and/or linked the proposition to
knowledge questions?

developed a comprehensive and cogent point of view about


the topic and appropriate knowledge questions?

Figure 20
The judgment about the TOK essay is to be made on the basis of the following two aspects:

1. Understanding knowledge questions


This aspect is concerned with the extent to which the essay focuses on knowledge questions relevant to the
prescribed title, and with the depth and breadth of the understanding demonstrated in the essay.
Knowledge questions addressed in the essay should be shown to have a direct connection to the chosen
prescribed title, or to be important in relation to it.
Depth of understanding is often indicated by drawing distinctions within WOKs and AOKs, or by connecting
several facets of knowledge questions to these.
Breadth of understanding is often indicated by making comparisons between WOKs and AOKs. Since not
all prescribed titles lend themselves to an extensive treatment of an equal range of AOKs or WOKs, this
element in the descriptors should be applied with concern for the particularity of the title.

60

Theory of knowledge guide

Assessment instruments

Relevant questions to be considered include the following.


Does the essay demonstrate understanding of knowledge questions that are relevant to the prescribed
title?

Does the essay demonstrate an awareness of the connections between knowledge questions, AOKs
and WOKs?

Does the student show an awareness of his or her own perspective as a knower in relation to other
perspectives, such as those that may arise, for example, from academic and philosophical traditions,
culture or position in society (gender, age, and so on)?

2. Quality of analysis of knowledge questions


This aspect is concerned only with knowledge questions that are relevant to the prescribed title.
Relevant questions to be considered include the following.

What is the quality of the inquiry into knowledge questions?

Are the main points in the essay justified?

Are the arguments coherent and compelling?

Have counterclaims been considered?

Are the implications and underlying assumptions of the essays argument identified?

Are the arguments effectively evaluated?

Analysis of a knowledge question that is not relevant to the prescribed title will not be assessed.

Note: The TOK essay is not an assessment of first or second language literacy. Students should have
properly edited their work, but whether they have done so is not in itself a matter for assessment.
While the two are usually highly correlated, assessors will be wary of taking linguistic fluency for
substantive understanding and analysis of knowledge questions. A fluent and stylish rendition of
different knowledge questions does not in itself amount to analysis or argument. Discussion of
knowledge questions must be clearly related and appropriately linked to a set title. Equally, an essay
written with minor mechanical and grammatical errors can still be an excellent essay and examiners
will not take these errors into consideration when marking the essay. It is only when these errors
become major and impede the comprehension of the essay that they will be taken into account.

Theory of knowledge guide

61

62

Cogent
Accomplished
Discerning
Individual
Lucid
Insightful
Compelling

Pertinent
Relevant
Thoughtful
Analytical
Organized
Credible
Coherent

Arguments are offered


but are unclear and/
or not supported by
effective examples.

Some arguments are


clear and supported
by examples; some
counterclaims are
identified.

Arguments are clear,


supported by reallife examples and
are evaluated; some
counterclaims are
identified and explored.

Arguments are clear,


supported by real-life
examples and are
effectively evaluated;
counterclaims are
extensively explored;
implications are
drawn.

Quality of analysis of
knowledge questions

Typical
Acceptable
Mainstream
Adequate
Competent

Underdeveloped
Basic
Superficial
Derivative
Rudimentary
Limited

Some possible characteristics

The essay has only


very limited relevance
to the prescribed
titlerelevant points
are descriptive.

Some knowledge
questions that are
connected to the
prescribed title are
considered, but
the essay is largely
descriptive, with
superficial or limited
links to areas of
knowledge and/or
ways of knowing.

There is a focus on
some knowledge
questions connected
to the prescribed
titlewith some
development and
linking to areas of
knowledge and/or
ways of knowing.

There is a focus
on knowledge
questions connected
to the prescribed
titledeveloped
with acknowledgment
of different
perspectives and
linked to areas of
knowledge and/or
ways of knowing.

There is a sustained
focus on knowledge
questions connected
to the prescribed
title and are well
chosendeveloped
with investigation
of different
perspectives and
linked effectively to
areas of knowledge
and/or ways of
knowing.

Understanding
knowledge questions

Ineffective
Descriptive
Incoherent
Formless

Assertions are
offered but are not
supported.

Level 1
Elementary
12

Level 2
Basic
34

Level 3
Satisfactory
56

Level 4
Very good
78

Level 5
Excellent
910

Aspect

Does the student present an appropriate and cogent analysis of knowledge questions in discussing the title?

TOK essay assessment instrument

The essay does not


reach a standard
described by levels
15 or is not a
response to one of the
prescribed titles on
the list for the current
session.

Irrelevant
0

Assessment instruments

Theory of knowledge guide

Please read the LBIS TOK Essays, as marked by IB Examiner, but make
sure that no line is copied in your essay.
Use these Essays as an indicator while writing your own.

ALL Essays are sent as soft copies and any malpractice is immediately
detected resulting in losing your diploma.

Academic Honesty is essential!

Grade A TOK Essay


In some areas of knowledge, we try to reduce complex wholes to simple components, but in others we
integrate simple components into complex wholes. Discuss this distinction with reference to two areas
of knowledge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Human beings, be it by instinct or individual curiosity, are interested in the world


around us. To know something is almost unsatisfactory in comparison to
understanding something: to understand why it is true, why it occurs. What is perhaps
even more interesting is how understanding something permits the ability to reason
and understand other things. Understanding is delivered by various means, either
through meticulous study of the most basic component of the phenomenon- reducing,
or by studying how each component interacts- integrating. This, however, brings us to
question why one process would be chosen over the other, and with what implications.
Moreover, what is a simple component? Or a complex whole? Are reducing and
integrating independent of one another? This essay will consider these reflective
statements, with reference to the Natural Sciences and Human Sciences.

The notion of reductionism was first introduced to me, as a learner, during my lessons
in Biology. Grand, intricately complicated biological systems are continuously broken
down to their most basic units, and understood on the most minute of levels. When
studying both plants and humans, for example, my teacher wrote three fundamental
principles of biological systems (known as the Cell Theory): all living things are
made up of cells; cells are the basic unit of structure and function of livings things;
living cells come only from other living things 1 . What is perhaps most interesting
about this theory is the underlying assumption that complicated biological systems
(which we will take as the complex whole) are best studied at the lowest possible
level, and that this multiplicity of cells interacting together is what constitutes these

Cpschools.com, 2015

Grade A TOK Essay


In some areas of knowledge, we try to reduce complex wholes to simple components, but in others we
integrate simple components into complex wholes. Discuss this distinction with reference to two areas
of knowledge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

biological systems. These assumptions are, actually, dimensions of reductionism


known as methodological and ontological reductionism respectively2.

What I noted about this theory are the sweeping generalizations made; all living
things, cells are the basic unit. These seemingly absolute statements are not without
contradictions, however, as evidence in organisms such as fungi (who have hyphae
rather than interacting cells) reveal certain flaws in these absolutes. The
generalizations made, therefore, can be perceived as another form of reductionism, as
it applies three principles to all living organisms. Although this application may be
criticized by some, it is an interesting example of how inductive reasoning is used in
science in order to produce truths. That is, The Cell Theory, was not developed by a
single scientist over a single period of time; it was developed over three centuries,
contributed to by six different scientists with discoveries in plants, bacteria, humans,
and even cork, providing evidence of what became the three principles of the theory1.
Can we then justify that each scientist brought a couple of simple components that
were integrated to understand a complex whole?

In the Human Sciences, precisely Psychology, I was faced with a completely different
approach to discoveries, concepts, and theories; reductionism became a criticism and
a limitation. Here, the word integrate became the norm, because one simple
component can contribute to a number of things, or none at all, depending on how it
interacts with other simple components, is that a problem? Taking the example of
depression, a 70% concordance rate between monozygotic twins suggests an

Brigandt and Love, 2008

Grade A TOK Essay


In some areas of knowledge, we try to reduce complex wholes to simple components, but in others we
integrate simple components into complex wholes. Discuss this distinction with reference to two areas
of knowledge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

extremely strong genetic predisposition to the development of depression3. However,


genetic predisposition alone will not cause depressive manifestations; it must interact
and combine with other biological, cognitive, and even sociocultural factors, such as
low-self esteem and cultural dimensions. Interestingly, as opposed to natural sciences,
even generalizations made based on consistent findings related to causes and
symptoms of depression is accusingly reductionist, because the same simple
components are seldom applicable not only across cultures but also from individual to
individual and their unique situational and dispositional context.

Studying depression in terms of its interconnected components brings us to the


concept of humanistic holism4, which prevents the slicing and separation of these
components and instead aims to explain and understand their complex interactions.
Therefore, unlike biology, psychology does not establish cause and effect
relationships by means of dissection, though both use a scientific method. The causes
and effects must be integrated before an eventual and non-absolute conclusion can be
drawn. Conclusions in psychology are itself an appreciation of the complexity of a
phenomenon, and that leads to progress in this field.

Although one can understand how reduction and integration are used when exploring
different phenomena, one can also question if there is even such a thing as a simple
component? This is because perception heavily influences what can be deemed as
simple; as a learner, for example, even a cell is incredibly complex, as are the
components within that cell such as its organelles or the DNA it contains. On the
3
4

Lykken and Tellegen (1996)


McLeod, 2015

Grade A TOK Essay


In some areas of knowledge, we try to reduce complex wholes to simple components, but in others we
integrate simple components into complex wholes. Discuss this distinction with reference to two areas
of knowledge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

other hand, for an expert who has studied human and plant physiology extensively,
cells and their mechanisms form part of shared biological knowledge, which
constitutes the most basic and fundamental levels of cellular biology. Thus, the cell
would be perceived as simple. Whether one can say, therefore, that in some areas of
knowledge we try to reduce complex wholes into simple components depends on the
subjective knowledge and understanding of the individual answering the question.

Diverting from simple components, let us now consider a complex whole: what is a
complex whole? According to the natural sciences, in the words of Ren Descartes:
one need only investigate the parts and then reassemble each component to recreate
the whole 5 . Maintaining the example of the Cell Theory and biological systems
therefore, one may say that reassembling cells into tissues, organs, and functioning
biological systems would recreate the initial whole. However, Gestalt Theorists argue
that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts6, and thus this brings to question
whether a living organism, inclusive of consciousness and cognitive capabilities, can
truly be reduced to a cell. This, however, depends immensely on where one believes
consciousness begins; dualists argue that the mind and body are independent, while
monism argues that the mind can, and will eventually, be understood by complex
physiological mechanisms7. To understand the Cell Theory, we need to both reduce
and integrate the identified components.

Fulvio Mazzocchi, 2008


Boeree, 2015
7
McLeod, 2015
6

Grade A TOK Essay


In some areas of knowledge, we try to reduce complex wholes to simple components, but in others we
integrate simple components into complex wholes. Discuss this distinction with reference to two areas
of knowledge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Taking into account the emergent properties of an individual, known as holism, is an


approach commended by psychologists and other experts in the human sciences.
However, if both the intangible and tangible dimensions are taken into account, such
as with the example of depression, what are the parameters of a complex whole?
Defining a whole and applying parameters will inevitably separate the whole from
direct and/or indirect interwoven components, and thus a true complex whole will
have no boundaries 8 . Often depicted visually, depression works on ever enlarging
spheres: at the most specific of levels, i.e. how the individual and their biological
functioning results in depressive manifestations, to how this interacts on a grand,
population-size scale. This societal sphere, however, which is often taken as being the
complex whole, interacts with other sociocultural spheres, which have their own
interacting mechanisms resulting in the same phenomenon, and so on. It may
therefore be more accurate to say that in some areas of knowledge we reduce
components into simpler components, while in others we integrate components into
more complex components.

Although the above proposition reconciles, to some degree, the perceptual


complications of simple components and the questionable existence of complex
wholes, it highlights another interesting issue. In the words of Albert Einstein:
everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler 9: but is it possible
to reduce without shedding important information required to understand
wholesomely? It is perhaps here that differentiating between the phenomena studied
becomes important: the natural sciences are governed by cause-and-effect principles,
8
9

Inclusional-research.org, 2015
Aines and Aines, 2013

Grade A TOK Essay


In some areas of knowledge, we try to reduce complex wholes to simple components, but in others we
integrate simple components into complex wholes. Discuss this distinction with reference to two areas
of knowledge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

and thus there is a sense of linearity to the phenomena studied. Moreover, findings
can be applied to every normally functioning biological system. Human sciences,
however, seldom have clear-cut cause-and-effect due to the interrelatedness of various
contributing behavioral factors. Thus, reduction and integration is dependent on the
phenomena studied and hence, the area of knowledge will influence, however not
determine, the processes used.

If the area of knowledge influences whether understanding is achieved by means of


reduction or integration, does this mean that human sciences will only use integrative
means? Interestingly, in order to integrate simple components into a complex whole
(assuming it can be defined), one must first identify these components. This is
typically done through correlation based on the frequency of certain findings in a
patient displaying a particular behavior. Hence, the behavior is reduced to symptoms,
and these symptoms are explained both specifically and holistically. One may
therefore assume that reductionism is a necessary step to identifying components of a
greater whole, independent of the area of knowledge.

In conclusion, it can be said that simplicity is a subjective concept, and complex


wholes can be considered to be a component themselves, rather than a defined and
thus reduced whole. Also, the difference between reducing and integrating lies in
whether components are studied according to unique functioning, or according to
interrelated biological, cognitive, and sociocultural context. I would therefore put
forward that there is a relationship between reductionism and holism and specific
areas of knowledge, however this overlaps and at times both analytical approaches are
used within one body of knowledge. In a simplistic way therefore, we might think that
6

Grade A TOK Essay


In some areas of knowledge, we try to reduce complex wholes to simple components, but in others we
integrate simple components into complex wholes. Discuss this distinction with reference to two areas
of knowledge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

understanding and knowledge can be produced through integrating simple


components into a complex whole, or reducing complex wholes into simple
components, but I postulate that for the progress of knowledge one must integrate
complex components into other, even more complex components. However, the
simple components, which constitute these more complex ones, need to be understood
first.

Word count: 1599

Grade A TOK Essay


In some areas of knowledge, we try to reduce complex wholes to simple components, but in others we
integrate simple components into complex wholes. Discuss this distinction with reference to two areas
of knowledge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bibliography:
Aines, R. and Aines, R. (2013). Albert Einstein - Everything should be made as simple as
possible, but no simpler - Championing Science. [online] Championing Science. Available at:
http://championingscience.com/everything-should-be-made-as-simple-as-possible-but-nosimpler/ [Accessed 5 Sep. 2015].

Boeree, C. (2015). Conclusions. [online] Webspace.ship.edu. Available at:


http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/historyofpsychconclusions.html [Accessed 5 Sep. 2015].

Brigandt, I. and Love, A. (2008). Reductionism in Biology. [online] Plato.stanford.edu.


Available at: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reduction-biology/ [Accessed 2 Sep. 2015].

Cpschools.com, (2015). HARRIS FAMILY. [online] Available at:


http://www.cpschools.com/schools/osm/theory.htm [Accessed 3 Sep. 2015].

Inclusional-research.org, (2015). Inclusional Research Forum and Learning Space Inclusional Comparisons: Problems with Holism. [online] Available at: http://www.inclusionalresearch.org/comparisons6.php [Accessed 5 Sep. 2015].

Mazzocchi, F. (2008). Complexity in biology. Exceeding the limits of reductionism and


determinism using complexity theory. EMBO Rep, 9(1), pp.10-14.

McLeod, S. (2015). Mind Body Debate | Simply Psychology. [online] Simplypsychology.org.


Available at: http://www.simplypsychology.org/mindbodydebate.html [Accessed 5 Sep. 2015].

McLeod, S. (2015). Reductionism and Holism in Psychology | Simply Psychology. [online]


Simplypsychology.org. Available at: http://www.simplypsychology.org/reductionismholism.html [Accessed 5 Sep. 2015].

Psych.umn.edu, (2015). UMN Dept of Psychology: Happiness. [online] Available at:


https://www.psych.umn.edu/psylabs/happness/happy.htm [Accessed 5 Sep. 2015].

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY: IS EXPLANATION A PREREQUISITE FOR PREDICTION? EXPLORE THIS


QUESTION IN RELATION TO TWO AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE.

GDE B Title 6: Is explanation a prerequisite for prediction? Explore this question


in relation to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Before being able to link the question to two areas of knowledge, one must understand the
difference between an explanation and a prediction. An explanation is a statement or account that
makes something clear1 whereas a prediction is a forecast; it is a statement about the future2. It is
important to be aware of the difference that lies between these two diverse terms because each
one has its own use and one may be vastly better than the other. However, it all depends on the
context. Explaining something is about understanding the relationships and why certain things
may happen and other things not. What is required is an understanding of cause and effect. A
good explanatory model may have predictive powers. Knowing how a plane works doesnt
support to predict where the plane will go. As for prediction, it is about anticipating, estimating
and foreseeing the eventualities of the future. For this, we need to understand correlations.
Correlations dont indicate a cause and effect relationship therefore predictive models may not
possess any real explanatory power. 3We can predict where a plane will go if we consider a
pilots level of experience for example. It shows that that we dont need to know much about
how planes function to allow this predictive model to work. ? The human sciences can be used to
demonstrate the link between these two terms. To explain human behavior, then formulate

Explanation | Definition of explanation by Merriam-Webster. 2015.Explanation | Definition of explanation by


Merriam-Webster. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explanation. [Accessed 10
September 2015].
2
prediction - Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.com. 2015. prediction - Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.com.
[ONLINE] Available at:http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/prediction. [Accessed 10 September 2015].
3
Explanation vs. Prediction - Not the Same Thing. 2015. Explanation vs. Prediction - Not the Same Thing. [ONLINE]
Available at:http://prebenormen.com/leadership-2/problem-solving-leadership-2/explanation-vs-prediction-notthe-same-thing. [Accessed 10 September 2015].

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY: IS EXPLANATION A PREREQUISITE FOR PREDICTION? EXPLORE THIS


QUESTION IN RELATION TO TWO AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE.

theories to predict it which hence enables the development of the remedies for the issues
highlighted by the predictions made. The second area of knowledge is the natural sciences which
try to explain and predict natures phenomena with regards to empirical evidence. In the natural
sciences, hypotheses need to be checked scientifically to be considered as a scientific theory.
Therefore ensuring validity and accuracy through quality control and repeatability of findings are
amongst the methods used for this purpose. So, to what extent is explanation a prerequisite for
prediction in human and natural sciences?4

To some, science about humans seems like a contradiction in terms. Humans are like supreme
variables as we behave in incredible, bizarre and unpredictable ways. Critics suggest that science
can never explain basic human nature and that there must be something about humans which will
escape all possibilities of creating new laws and theories. Psychologically speaking, it can be
deduced that the pattern of human behaviour is based on feeling, emotion and values. It
indirectly points out there can be no explanatory power behind this phenomenon. Consequently,
we can assume that no human being possesses the same traits as another. Factors like the nurture
v/s nature debate can be put in context as one may grow up and assimilate differently due to
environmental factors, along with the morals and different perceptions they might have, just like
the reductionism debate. Thus it is difficult to break down human behaviour into simple
principles like cause and effect as human beings are unpredictable and as mentioned before. It is
almost impossible for one human being to behave exactly like another. The Cassandra Paradox,

TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use Science to explain Human Behaviour? | Angeli..
2015. TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use Science to explain Human Behaviour? |
Angeli.. [ONLINE] Available at:http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/15rambukpotaa/2014/02/03/introduction-to-human-sciencespresentation/. [Accessed 10 September 2015].

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY: IS EXPLANATION A PREREQUISITE FOR PREDICTION? EXPLORE THIS


QUESTION IN RELATION TO TWO AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE.

for example, is a theory that states that people will change their reactions if before the
experiment, the person conducting the experiment will predict the reaction. An example of this
was when I played a game of chess with a friend. He predicted that I would play the king next
but because I didnt accept the fact he was right, I finally decided to play the Queen instead. It
portrays the difficulty of scientifically studying human behaviour. The paradox basically
illustrates that when human scientists make a prediction, the participant hears the prediction and
as a result, changes his behaviour in the experiment which hence provides false data to the
scientists. For example the medicine (developed below) case could be explained by the
Cassandra Paradox. Hence this raises the questions to what extent does preliminary knowledge
on predicted experiments influence human behaviour? Do we need any explanation?
For instance, if human scientists provide their test subjects with medicine/treatment they deem
effective (e.g. hair growth), the test subjects may feel that their hair may indeed grow in a
noticeable length even though the medicine may just be a fake pill. . This is because the Placebo
Effect, a similar theory to the Cassandra effect, is only an applied version of the Cassandra
Effect, taking part of it to explain a certain case. The Hawthorne Effect, which describes when
participants who know that they are being observed change their behaviour in response to the
observers/human scientists, also illustrates this phenomenon. Thus, laboratory experiments are
flawed. One approach to this dilemma is, however, that testers provide enough information to the
test subjects so they can give informed consent, but not enough so they understand what is being
observed, hence limiting the amount of preliminary knowledge test subjects may have of the
experiment. For example, when the Principle of Academic affairs walked into my mathematics
class un-expectedly, the students immediately changed their behaviours in drastic ways. The
reasons behind why the students change their behaviour cannot be explained, and therefore it

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY: IS EXPLANATION A PREREQUISITE FOR PREDICTION? EXPLORE THIS


QUESTION IN RELATION TO TWO AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE.

becomes difficult to predict how they will react. This approach may aid in providing better and
more valid data to human scientists. Yet, finally, it is still believed that science cannot fully
explain human behaviour as there are always anomalies to experiments, and the fact that human
nature is unpredictable shows that producing exact answers of behaviour through scientific
methods are highly improbable.5
In the natural sciences however, specialists in the domain describe the causal elements
responsible for a particular natural phenomenon, and are used to explain and predict aspects of
the physical universe. Scientists develop theories as a foundation to attain a further scientific
knowledge, as well as to achieve goals. To explore this point, I shall refer to evolutionary
biology.6
Evolutionary Biology is highly sensitive to the initial conditions and the boundary conditions
that arise during the course of evolution. You cannot predict with any reasonable degree of
accuracy what mutations will arise, which genotypes will recombine, and what other events will
trouble the way species develop over time. And yet, we know the properties of many biological
processes and systems well enough to predict what they will do in the absence of any other
influences. This is generally tested in the lab. So, in this way, we have in biology the extreme
end of the continuum of what we have in physics at the other end. The difference is one of
degree, not kind. And more and more, physicists are uncovering systems that are similarly
unstable and sensitive. We cannot predict in physics what any small number of molecules will do
5

TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use Science to explain Human Behaviour? | Angeli..
2015. TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use Science to explain Human Behaviour? |
Angeli.. [ONLINE] Available at:http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/15rambukpotaa/2014/02/03/introduction-to-human-sciencespresentation/. [Accessed 10 September 2015].
6

Theory of knowledge guide. 2015. Theory of knowledge guide. [ONLINE] Available


at: https://ibpublishing.ibo.org/exist/rest/app/tsm.xql?doc=d_0_tok_gui_1304_1_e&part=2&chapter=4. [Accessed
12 September 2015].

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY: IS EXPLANATION A PREREQUISITE FOR PREDICTION? EXPLORE THIS


QUESTION IN RELATION TO TWO AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE.

in a flame, or in a large gas volume, for example. And while the weather cannot be predicted at
all in fine detail for very long, we can explain last week's weather through the initial conditions
and the laws of thermodynamics, etc., after it has happened. 7 Therefore, it can be understood
how prediction and explanation work as opposites in the cases mentioned above. Reasoning and
sense perception are ways of knowing that function in parallel to assume that, as mentioned in
the latter, the natural sciences show that explanation and prediction may not be complementary.
Can there be a standard form of explanation for both physics and biology as disciplines? As an
IB biology student, I infer that the standard form differs in two ways. First, we cannot isolate
'extraneous' influences ahead of time for wild populations. Second, we cannot make a prediction
much beyond the immediate short term (hence, nobody can predict the future of evolution of a
species). Although a number of experiments have been conducted to test selectionist hypotheses
through prediction, such as the studies on finches in the Galapagos Islands by the Grants. When
doing a predictive exercise, we are extrapolating into the unknown using the known relationships
between the data we have at hand. The known relationship may emerge from an
explanatory/descriptive analysis or some other technique. For Example: One of Darwins
theories on evolution predicts that animals on distant islands will appear closely related to
animals on the closest mainland, and that the older and more distant the island, the more distant
the relationship.8 To predict this, data that has already been extrapolated would have been used
to emerge and explain why this would occur. In this context, the focus is not on explanation,
although an explanatory model can help with the prediction process. Observations and inductive
7

Evolution and Philosophy: Predictions and Explanations. 2015. Evolution and Philosophy: Predictions and
Explanations. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/predict.html. [Accessed 10
September 2015].
8

. 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at:http://answersinscience.org/evo_science.html. [Accessed 10 September 2015].

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY: IS EXPLANATION A PREREQUISITE FOR PREDICTION? EXPLORE THIS


QUESTION IN RELATION TO TWO AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE.

reasoning would be derivative from such a prediction. Such an occurrence may have been
observed before with similar animals and therefore generalized to other situations. Hence it may
be assumed that Darwins theory is perhaps correct. Subsequently, we can assume that
explanation is necessary to foresee some natural phenomena.
In conclusion, in the human sciences, explanation is not necessarily a prerequisite to predict
human behaviour as human beings are complex. Individual human behaviour changes according
to specific context. In the natural sciences, explanation and understanding of the relationships
why certain things may happen and other things not is a prerequisite for prediction. However,
even if unpredictable happenings may be explained after they have taken place. Therefore we
can establish a relationship between cause and effect and vice versa through reasoning.
Word count: 1545

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY: IS EXPLANATION A PREREQUISITE FOR PREDICTION? EXPLORE THIS


QUESTION IN RELATION TO TWO AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE.

Bibliography:
Explanation vs. Prediction - Not the Same Thing. 2015. Explanation vs. Prediction - Not the
Same Thing. [ONLINE] Available at:http://prebenormen.com/leadership-2/problem-solvingleadership-2/explanation-vs-prediction-not-the-same-thing. [Accessed 10 September 2015].
TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use Science to explain Human
Behaviour? | Angeli.. 2015. TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use
Science to explain Human Behaviour? | Angeli.. [ONLINE] Available
at:http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/15rambukpotaa/2014/02/03/introduction-to-human-sciencespresentation/. [Accessed 10 September 2015].
TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use Science to explain Human
Behaviour? | Angeli.. 2015. TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use
Science to explain Human Behaviour? | Angeli.. [ONLINE] Available
at:http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/15rambukpotaa/2014/02/03/introduction-to-human-sciencespresentation/. [Accessed 10 September 2015].
TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use Science to explain Human
Behaviour? | Angeli.. 2015. TOK: Introduction to Human Sciences (Presentation): Can we use
Science to explain Human Behaviour? | Angeli.. [ONLINE] Available
at:http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/15rambukpotaa/2014/02/03/introduction-to-human-sciencespresentation/. [Accessed 10 September 2015].
Evolution and Philosophy: Predictions and Explanations. 2015. Evolution and Philosophy:
Predictions and Explanations. [ONLINE] Available
at:http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/predict.html. [Accessed 10 September 2015].
. 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at:http://answersinscience.org/evo_science.html. [Accessed 10
September 2015].
Practical thoughts on explanatory vs. predictive modeling - Cross Validated. 2015. Practical
thoughts on explanatory vs. predictive modeling - Cross Validated. [ONLINE] Available

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY: IS EXPLANATION A PREREQUISITE FOR PREDICTION? EXPLORE THIS


QUESTION IN RELATION TO TWO AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE.

at:http://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/1194/practical-thoughts-on-explanatory-vspredictive-modeling. [Accessed 10 September 2015].


TOK Can one theory be better in human science? Rintaro's Blog. 2015.TOK Can one theory be
better in human science? Rintaro's Blog. [ONLINE] Available
at: http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/15kiyotar/2014/04/07/tok-can-one-theory-be-better-in-human-science/.
[Accessed 11 September 2015].

Gde B TOK Essay


Title 1 - The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do you agree with
this statement?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------While looking into problems faced within the Natural Sciences, we see that these may be
linked to the adequacy in empirical evidence provided, to the scientist or to the practical
application of the theories or the models created. However in Ethics, problems are linked to
contexts and decisions, hence our notion and interpretation of principles such as Kantian,
Utilitarian ethics and Deontology. The extents to which problems are solved are dependent on
our use of the ways of knowing (WOK), whether in concert or not and to the methodologies
related to the areas of knowledge (AOK). Hence we need to avoid fallacies in our reasoning.
To what extent are the problems, related to ethics and the natural sciences, effectively solved
by the knowledge acquired? Does the knowledge acquired solve a problem or can more
problems arise as a consequence? Could knowledge acquired in one AOK cause a problem in
another? What are the limitations of the effectiveness of knowledge in solving problems?
These are the knowledge questions I will explore.

Within Ethics, solutions to a situation can depend on ways of perceiving a situation, reasoning
prior to finding solutions and sometimes intuition. The problem with Ethics is the diversity of
moral practices, resulting in difficulty for shared knowledge across cultures of conflicting
moral practices. Although this is debatable as there are common elements throughout cultures
including: limit violence, protect property and promote honesty. It would be difficult to
consider why, for a community, it is indeed not wrong to inflict needless suffering on its
members1. Another problem, with strong arguments supporting it, with forming altruistic sets
of moral values is the self-interest theory2 which states: individuals act solely based on
selfish intent. For these reasons, it can be seen that knowledge may lead to understanding and
explanations, thus providing solutions, but what are the limitations?

1
2

Lagemaat, R. (n.d.). Theory of knowledge for the IB Diploma. p.478.


Lagemaat, R. (n.d.). Theory of knowledge for the IB Diploma. p.479.

Gde B TOK Essay


Title 1 - The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do you agree with
this statement?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ethics provides moral principles to individuals allowing them to reason solutions to problems
in the form of decisions. Whether one operates on the premises of Kantian or Utilitarian
ethics, the result will be enhancement of ones moral values with ensued external
conditioning. Could theories in ethics, as shared knowledge, help to solve sociopolitical
conflicts or are they used as justification? For example, when considering the conflict in Iraq,
it was justified by the following: to put an end to a regime that developed and used weapons
of mass destruction, committed outrageous human rights abuses3 So the problem was
Saddam Hussein (S.H) and his political actions. The justification and the decision to invade
Iraq was made in order to quell the threat to the western world and therefore conformed to
utilitarian ethics. However, deployment of US troops was questionable as there was never a
significant amount of chemical ordinance within Iraq, only what remained after the eightyear war with Iran4 and that Saddam didnt know he had it 5 Hence here the lack or
manipulation of knowledge led to finding a conflictual solution. It is for these reasons that it
could be seen that shared knowledge in ethics was aimed towards solving social and political
conflicts, although was only used to justify them, and to this day conflict continues, even
though S.H, was removed from power. As a result, although intentions were to find solutions,
the means employed were contrary to both Utilitarian and Kantian ethics. Hence even today,
Iraq is not stable politically and socially as according to Amnesty International Fighters from
the Yazidi community in Iraq carried out reprisal attacks on Sunni Arab villages.6 Hence
through the Iraq conflict, knowledge led to temporary solutions but created other social
problems, thus brought in ethical contradictions.
3

The Huffington Post, (2015). What's Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy?. [online] Available at:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-burnett/us-foreign-policy_b_5783760.html [Accessed 28 May 2015].
4
The Huffington Post, (2015). What's Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy?. [online] Available at:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-burnett/us-foreign-policy_b_5783760.html [Accessed 28 May 2015].
5
The Huffington Post, (2015). What's Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy?. [online] Available at:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-burnett/us-foreign-policy_b_5783760.html [Accessed 28 May 2015].
6
The Telegraph, (2015). Iraq news. [online] Available at:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq [Accessed 10 June 2015]

Gde B TOK Essay


Title 1 - The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do you agree with
this statement?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------As a Swiss citizen, Ive always wondered whether the neutrality of my country during World
War II helped in solving problems from an ethical viewpoint. During the war, Jews sought out
refuge in Switzerland. At first, borders were open for refugees, although later the government
claimed that they would be in danger of invasion by the Axis or [ensued] insurmountable
economic difficulties.7 Therefore I can see that my country conformed to Kantian ethics for a
solution as they considered what would happen economically and socially if they continued
providing sanctuary. Was the problem solved? Or could there have been a more effective
solution put in place? If my country had chosen to keep its borders open, would the present be
any different? I think for all the knowledge that the government had at the time, solutions
were applied to aid whom they could without endangering the country.

Contrary to Ethics, the Natural Sciences tend to have systematic methods used to determine
solutions to queries about the physical world. Although, there are issues within the scientific
method8, involving the testing of hypotheses, which can lead to invalid conclusions. There
are three main sources in which these problems can be summarized: Observation, Hypothesis
and Theory. As passive or active observations are made using sense perception, we tend to be
selective with the data we choose to include and exclude, based on expectations. Observations
may also differ due to the act of observation, where this is known as the observer effect9. As
hypotheses are dependent on an individuals reasoning, imagination and creative thinking in
some cases, there may be confirmation bias10 in the hypotheses we choose to test. The final
problem within the natural sciences is that of induction which involves an inductive step from
the particular to the general from all observable to all.
7

Dangoor.com, (2015). Et Tu Switzerland ?. [online] Available at: http://www.dangoor.com/73page02.html


[Accessed 28 May 2015].
8
Lagemaat, R. (n.d.). Theory of knowledge for the IB Diploma. p.347.
9
Lagemaat, R. (n.d.). Theory of knowledge for the IB Diploma. p.358.
10
Lagemaat, R. (n.d.). Theory of knowledge for the IB Diploma. p..

Gde B TOK Essay


Title 1 - The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do you agree with
this statement?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In that AOK, experts have always strived to find a theory of everything in order to obtain a
complete understanding of nature. The Natural Sciences attempt this through the scientific
method11. This end game within the field is progressed towards by means of inductive
reasoning of numerous observations, leading to a hypothesis, which fits the observed data.
This was the case with Blondlot and the N-ray. Attempting to replicate the experiment, Johns
Hopkins and Robert Wood12 failed. Hence the problem was the absence of empirical
evidence and a wrong method due to false claims and the solution, to prove that Blondlot lied.

If we look into the atomic theory, it seems that the successive models put forward were a
result of identifying a problem in each one. The discovery of the electron allowed J.J.
Thomson in 1897, to postulate that atoms consisted of electrons, and that positive charges
existed too, as the net charge on an atom was found to be zero, hence the plum pudding13.
Ernest Rutherford disproved the above model in 1911, while seeking out evidence for it by
firing electrons through thin gold leafs. The following was said by Rutherford: It was almost
as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit
you.14 This exhibits the sheer difference in expectations and the experimental observations
that are present, and this can sometimes cause issue with the scientific method, as
expectations affect the hypothesis we create from the data we observe. According to
Rutherford, the atomic model was such that electrons orbited the nucleus in a similar fashion
to orbital motion exhibited by planets in the solar system.

11

Lagemaat, R. (n.d.). Theory of knowledge for the IB Diploma. p.347.


Inglis-Arkell, E. (2013). The short, ignominious life of n-rays. [online] io9. Available at: http://io9.com/theshort-ignominious-life-of-n-rays-497037919 [Accessed 12 Jun. 2015].
13
Www-outreach.phy.cam.ac.uk, (2015). Cambridge Physics - Discovery of the Nucleus. [online] Available at:
http://www-outreach.phy.cam.ac.uk/camphy/nucleus/nucleus1_1.htm [Accessed 22 May 2015].
14
Pha.jhu.edu, (2015). Rutherford Experiment. [online] Available at:
http://www.pha.jhu.edu/courses/173_308/Rutherford/Rutherford.html [Accessed 21 May 2015].
12

Gde B TOK Essay


Title 1 - The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do you agree with
this statement?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Later Bohr explained that the Rutherford model could not be true, as any charged particle
moving on a curved path emits electromagnetic radiation15 which would result in the
electrons [losing] energy and spiral[ing] into the nucleus16. He explained that the reason
electrons can exist in a stable state in the atom is because they exist at quantized17 energy
levels. Then, Erwin Schrdinger provided an important model by which one could describe
with probability where an electron may have been or should be at a point in time. Clarity
through fuzziness18 is a way of looking at it, as Schrdingers cloud model19 was
essentially a history of where the electron has probably been and where it is likely to be
going20 and nothing more definitive. Science is a way of describing reality21 (Jacob
Bronowski, 1908-74).
Hence through the different atomic models, a problem was identified in each model and thus
through experimentation and reasoning, knowledge led to a solution which helped a deeper
and broader understanding.

15

Abyss.uoregon.edu, (2015). Bohr Atomic Model. [online] Available at:


http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/bohr_atom.html. [Accessed 13 June 2015].
16
Abyss.uoregon.edu, (2015). Bohr Atomic Model. [online] Available at:
http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/bohr_atom.html. [Accessed 13 June 2015].
17
Abyss.uoregon.edu, (2015). Bohr Atomic Model. [online] Available at:
http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/bohr_atom.html. [Accessed 13 June 2015].
18
Regentsprep.org, (2015). The Cloud Model. [online] Available at:
http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/physics/phys05/catomodel/cloud.htm. [Accessed 13 June 2015].
19
Regentsprep.org, (2015). The Cloud Model. [online] Available at:
http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/physics/phys05/catomodel/cloud.htm. [Accessed 13 June 2015].
20
Regentsprep.org, (2015). The Cloud Model. [online] Available at:
http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/physics/phys05/catomodel/cloud.htm. [Accessed 13 June 2015].
21
Lagemaat, R. (n.d.). Theory of knowledge for the IB Diploma. p.341.

Gde B TOK Essay


Title 1 - The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do you agree with
this statement?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------According to Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996), we cannot say it is unscientific or irrational to find


ourselves adhering to older paradigms22. An example of this would be a hypothesis set forth
by Copernicus (1473-1543): heliocentricism to which he was able to perceive a testable
method in order to prove the earth orbits the sun; through the use of stellar parallax23,
although this was not an accepted model during the time and was only provided with
observable evidence by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) years later resulting in experts choosing
to adhere to an older paradigm. Galileo clarified the way we understand the movements of
planets in our solar system but that caused a problem within the Roman Catholic Church.
Hence here, a clash between religious authorities and a scientific expert led to a deadlock at
that time.

In conclusion, the fields of Ethics and Natural Sciences attempt to solve their own relevant
problems using their own system of doing so. Each system used attempts to approach
problems objectively, although are plagued with subjectivity causing inconsistencies in
solutions. Due to the nature of problems in Ethics and in the Natural Sciences, knowledge
may help to solve problems on a temporarily basis. At times the solutions provided may drive
experts to look into subsequent limitations and eventually look to enhance their knowledge.
Eventually it may happen that knowledge acquired becomes a problem itself though intended
as a solution in the first place.

Word count: 1594

22

Lagemaat, R. (n.d.). Theory of knowledge for the IB Diploma. p.366.


Abyss.uoregon.edu, (2015). Stellar Parallax. [online] Available at:
http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/parallax.html [Accessed 21 May 2015].
23

Gde B TOK Essay


Title 1 - The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do you agree with
this statement?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bibliography
1. Abyss.uoregon.edu, (2015). Bohr Atomic Model. [online] Available at:
http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/bohr_atom.html. [Accessed 22 Aug. 2015].
2. Abyss.uoregon.edu, (2015). Stellar Parallax. [online] Available at:
http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/parallax.html [Accessed 22 Aug. 2015].
3. Dangoor.com, (2015). Et Tu Switzerland ?. [online] Available at:
http://www.dangoor.com/73page02.html [Accessed 22 Aug. 2015].
4. Inglis-Arkell, E. (2015). The short, ignominious life of n-rays. [online] io9. Available
at: http://io9.com/the-short-ignominious-life-of-n-rays-497037919 [Accessed 22 Aug.
2015].
5. Lagemaat, R. (n.d.). Theory of knowledge for the IB diploma.
6. Pha.jhu.edu, (2015). Rutherford Experiment. [online] Available at:
http://www.pha.jhu.edu/courses/173_308/Rutherford/Rutherford.html [Accessed 22
Aug. 2015].
7. Regentsprep.org, (2015). The Cloud Model. [online] Available at:
http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/physics/phys05/catomodel/cloud.htm. [Accessed
22 Aug. 2015].
8. Telegraph.co.uk, (2015). Iraq news, all the latest and breaking Iraq news. [online]
Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq [Accessed
22 Aug. 2015].
9. The Huffington Post, (2015). What's Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy?. [online]
Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-burnett/us-foreignpolicy_b_5783760.html [Accessed 22 Aug. 2015].
10. Www-outreach.phy.cam.ac.uk, (2015). Cambridge Physics - Discovery of the Nucleus.
[online] Available at: http://wwwoutreach.phy.cam.ac.uk/camphy/nucleus/nucleus1_1.htm [Accessed 22 Aug. 2015].

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For all of the knowledge produced and acquired in the different areas of knowledge, one aim is
to gain understanding. However at times complex notions are shared and thus if we do not have
sufficient prior knowledge in the domain concerned, understanding might be difficult. Hence
does that mean that the breaking down of complex whole to simple components might be useful?
On the other hand in the production of knowledge, we may look into building blocks such that
assembling simple components in a logical way might lead to a complex whole. As for the two
concepts, its effectiveness needs to be evaluated. Hence I will explore History and the Arts
relative to the following knowledge questions: Does the reduction of a complex whole to simple
components, necessarily, provide knowledge in terms of understanding? What is the purpose of
integrating simple components into a complex whole? What are the different methods associated
to the two concepts above?
In History, the methodology is to look for and select credible primary and secondary sources.
Hence from the analysis of Historians, we may approach the truth but what could be a complex
whole in this AOK? I think that if we look at an apparently simple past event like the Yalta
conference in 19451, it would be interesting to analyze what happened then and how was part of
Europe fragmented. Hence knowledge and understanding in this case may come from
assembling simple components into a complex whole. I would justify that, by saying whoever
looks into the issues linked to the Yalta conference has a variety of sources available and so the
reasons for taking such decisions are quite complex to understand and analyze. If we try to

. (unknown). the yalta conference . Available: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1937-1945/yalta-conf. Last


accessed 10th Sep 2015 .

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

analyze what Big Three, Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill wanted to achieve we may look at the
different elements below as simple components: The crucial elements of the Yalta agreement
involved the creation of the United Nations, the division of Germany and the fate of Poland2.
Yet what was the incentive and rationale behind these?
Why was there a need to create the UNO? The United Nations was said to be very important for
both Roosevelt and Churchill as a means of defending themselves from the axis powers 3 .
Therefore in the beginning it can be assessed that the main goal of those leaders wasnt
concerning peace treaties but to protect themselves from the any potential threats from Germany,
Japan and even the Soviet Union. However was this ethically correct? Probably yes since it took
into consideration the population of those territories and it was afterwards discussed that this
organization would also ensure life, liberty, independence, and religious freedom, and to
preserve the rights of man and justice4 and so nonetheless this organization had a purpose to
protect other countries and to avoid war issues, however, they failed to do so.
Another component was why Poland was so important to deal with? Poland was considered to be
very important for the Soviet Union, firstly because Stalin wanted to spread communism across
Europe and secondly because Poland was found between Soviet Union and the west of Europe.

richard D . (2013). yalta and the cold war . Available:


http://www.academia.edu/3640664/Yalta_and_the_Cold_War. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.
3
created unknown. (2015). United Nations created. Available: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/unitednations-created. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.
4
unknown. (unknown). United Nations created. Available: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/unitednations-created. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015 .

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5

So as a result of this, the Soviet Union could keep itself from getting invaded. Briefly Stalin was

more concerned about his territorial land than the sufferings of the people that were forced upon
a government against their will, thus Stalin was not behaving ethically from a Kantian viewpoint.
The Big Three had to bear with disputes concerning Poland whereby the US wanted Poland to be
a free country; however, Stalin wanted the contrary. Therefore we are able to break down the
complexity of the conference into the simplified perspectives of the three leaders to gain more
knowledge about their political motivations.
Furthermore, what was the justification for splitting Germany into West and East Germany? It
was the norm that the losing country had to be broken down into different sections in order to
compensate for the reparations6 therefore breaking the complex situation into simpler wholes.
Was this decision ethically correct from a deontological point of view whereby, Germany was
separated for the reparation issues? Separating a country is not simple as East Germany became
communist. Churchill and Roosevelt shared both a capitalist viewpoint and Stalin was a
communist dictator. From a utilitarian perspective, the happiness and contentment of the vast
majority must also be taken into account, though in this case the majority of the population could
not understand the rationale behind such decisions since they had to abide to the strict rules and
regulations of a communist dictatorship.

unknown. (unknown). the yalta conference . Available:


http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/imperialism/notes/yalta.html. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.
6
callum pearl . (unknown). Why was Germany divided after WWII?.Available: http://www.quora.com/Why-wasGermany-divided-after-WWII. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015 .

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hence though History might seem simple to understand in terms of when events happened, the
reasons for which these happened may seem quite complex to understand due to either the
different perspectives analyzed by Historians or to the primary and secondary sources available.
So as for understanding, breaking the analysis into simpler components as shown in the above
example seems effective.
The nature of knowledge in the Arts may be quite subjective and we have the message of the
artist which needs to be depicted by the public, art critics or other artists. Hence if we think that
an artwork is a complex whole, then it would be challenging to demonstrate that actually the
artist might integrate simple components into the creation of a complex whole that is, her work
and the method used. So if we understand what are these simple components that would lead us
to producing knowledge on the artist and the work?
Yayoi Kusama was born and raised in Japan in a middle class family and was subject to
hallucinations. How did she create her work? I think that would need us to understand her
childhood, her perception of life, her influences, her techniques and her rationale. So how are
these simple components integrated into each other?
As a child, Kusama was abused by her mother, which explains her mental state of mind. At the
age of 10, her first artwork untitled, she drew the face of her mother covered in polka dots
which created a landmark for her. Hence her artworks are mostly composed of infinite red polka
dots, meaning the suffering of a woman. This primary element helps in unveiling her message

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

which is the complexity of such elements that are conveyed to us in mystery by the use of simple
components.
Hence she has her own perception of life which led her being influenced by her mental and
physical suffering. One day I was looking at the red flower patterns of the tablecloth and I saw
the same pattern covering the ceiling, the windows and the walls, all over the room, my body and
the universe7. Kusama lived with hallucinations starting with the moment she glanced at the
table cloth and she retained this similar pattern. This explains her complex mental state of mind.
As for her techniques, at a very young age Kusama acquired the knowledge of nihonga, which is
a Japanese painting style; this brings about her culture. Red remains one of the most pungent
colours in her artworks since it awakes her and illustrates two opposing feelings: love or pain and
torture. In Kusamas case it is to expose the hardships of her childhood and brings out emotional
pain. Her interpretation of colours leads to the understanding of her work. Again, by analyzing
simple components help us to appreciate her techniques.
If we understand what caused her hallucinations which may affect her perception, then we could
understand her technique as one component. Kusama also identifies herself through nature as her
polka dots define both the outer and inner world. The outer world of nature consisting of the sun
and moon and the inner world defines our body consisting of cells and tissues.8 Her work goes
from the outer world which may look simple to us, however, the earth is more complex than

(unknown). Yayoi Kusama: The Self-Obliteration Of Japan's Troubled Artist. Available:


http://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/the-self-obliteration-of-yayoi-kusama/. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015 .
8
unknown. (unknown). Yayoi Kusama: The Self-Obliteration Of Japan's Troubled Artist. Available:
http://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/the-self-obliteration-of-yayoi-kusama/. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015 .

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

what we think, and our body is filled with polka dots thus unifying with the complexity of the
earth. Therefore I think that identity is what builds up an artwork therefore differentiating artists.
Kusamas art pieces are often criticized due to its personal aspect. We must feel that the artist
has his or her finger on mankinds pulse, not just their own9
Hence, as a concluding statement it can be concluded that although an artist may use simple
components to create an artwork, those components can define a deep matter. Thus through the
means of knowledge and understanding, a complex artwork can be searched thoroughly in order
to identify its complexity.
In conclusion, reducing a complex whole into simple components or integrating simple
components into a complex whole must serve a purpose: understanding and explanation. So in
the two AOKs used, it seems that to understand why in History, a past event, as a complex
whole, took place and to understand the decisions taken and the social implications, it would be
effective to reduce the analysis into simple components like the Yalta conference. Hence our
perception on what happened may be balanced by reason. In the Arts, if I take simple
components like what an artist went through, her perception of life, her techniques, her rationale
in her work. We might integrate these components into a complex artwork in an aim to
understand it through our emotional connection and our rationale, let alone what we feel.
Therefore we get a better understanding of the artist and the artworks together. Hence the two

John Kavanagh. (unknown). Whimsy or dark psychosis? Tate Modern Yayoi Kusama retrospective review round
up. Available: http://artradarjournal.com/2012/06/13/whimsy-or-dark-psychosis-tate-modern-yayoi-kusamaretrospective-review-round-up/. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015 .

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ways mentioned in the title produce knowledge but that depends on the AOK and its
methodology.
Word count: 1593

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bibliography
charles stefan. (1997). roosevelt . Available:
http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/AD_Issues/amdipl_6/stefan.html. Last accessed 10th Sep
2015
david burns. (2011,2012). many areas of Europe were in ruins after world war 2. Available:
http://www.fasttrackteaching.com/burns/Unit_11_Cold_War/U11_Europe_After_WW_II.html.
Last accessed 10th Sep 2015

dunn michael . (2013). How do we form an ethical position? .Available:


http://www.theoryofknowledge.net/areas-of-knowledge/ethics/how-do-we-arrive-at-an-ethicalposition/. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.

Dunn, Michael. (2015). tok essay titles. Available: http://www.theoryofknowledge.net/tokessay/november-2015-tok-prescribed-essay-titles/. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.
john simkin. (unknown). yalta conference . Available: http://spartacuseducational.com/2WWyalta.htm. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.

richard D . (unknown). yalta and the cold wat. Available:


http://www.academia.edu/3640664/Yalta_and_the_Cold_War.. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.

unknown. (unknown). deontology. Available: http://www.yourdictionary.com/deontology. Last


accessed 10th Sep 2015

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

unknown. (unknown). How was Europe divided after the second World War? Available:
https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070410200714AAb4mJs. Last accessed 10th
Sep 2015 .
unknown. (2009). Japanese Drops: Yayoi Kusama. Available:
http://www.nonsolokawaii.com/art-file-yayoi-kusama-part-1/. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.
unknown. (unknown). the yalta conference . Available:
http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/imperialism/notes/yalta.html. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.
unknown. (2015). United Nations created. Available: http://www.history.com/this-day-inhistory/united-nations-created. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.

unknown. (unknown). utilitarianism. Available:


http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/utilitarianism. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.
unknown. (unknown). What is Nihonga ?. Available: http://www.kotoken.co.jp/e/artists/ejapanese-painting.htm. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.

unknown. (unknown). Why was Germany divided after WWII?.Available:


http://www.quora.com/Why-was-Germany-divided-after-WWII. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.
unknown. (unknown). yalta conference . Available: http://www.britannica.com/event/YaltaConference. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.

Gde C - TOK Essay


4. In some areas of knowledge we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components, but in
others we try to integrate simple components into a complex whole. Discuss this distinction
with reference to two areas of knowledge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

unknown. (unknown). Yayoi Kusama: The Self-Obliteration Of Japan's Troubled


Artist. Available: http://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/the-self-obliteration-of-yayoikusama/. Last accessed 10th Sep 2015.

10

Gde D TOK essay


Title 1: The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do
you agree with this statement?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Knowledge according to my TOK course is justified through belief and can be gained
through the ways of knowing. What can be the aim of the production of knowledge? Can we
deduce a main reason for that? I do agree that when it comes to understanding and providing
explanations, knowledge is important. However, the methodology to produce knowledge in
the different areas of knowledge differs too and different ways of knowing are used in
association with these methodologies. The way we identify problems in the Natural Sciences
and the Human Sciences may be disused and analysed from the perspective of experts in
these disciplines and also from my own perspective as a learner and a knower. So what are
the solutions to the identified problems and would these solutions be provided by the
knowledge produced? Can knowledge itself or its lack of it be considered as problems?
Finally what could be the ethical implications of using knowledge to solve problems?

In the Natural Sciences knowledge is produced by using the scientific method which may be
simply put into various stages that are to be considered. Firstly, there is that of the hypothesis
then secondly, that of having data collection. The third stage of the scientific method is that
of there being any data analysis and lastly the conclusion. When considering the Natural
Science in particular, when applying it into the field of Physics, the scientific method helped
to produce knowledge, for example through the use of the Youngs double slit experiment.1
When Young was initially performing this physics experiment in the early 1800s, the idea
was to produce some sort of knowledge of solving a specific problem which was to

www.physicsclassroom.com/class/light/Lesson-3/Young-s-Experiment
1

Gde D TOK essay


Title 1: The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do
you agree with this statement?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------understand if the concept of light was actually a wave or if it consisted of particles such as
photons,2 henc the true nature of light.
At the time, the concept of light was linked to the properties of its particles, that is light
photons but Young tried to explore if that was really the case. We are firstly, going to
consider the idea of light being a photon which may simply be described as being a small
group of light energy that is held together by the means of electromagnetism. They are also
said to thus travel at the speed of light when in a vacuum. However, this idea that light which
was said to be formed from photons was also opposed by the idea of light being a wave, not a
series of particles, but this idea was then conceived through the Youngs double slit
experiment 3 which can be explained as being when a beam of light is shone upon a slit that
can be made from a sheet of paper. From this, waves of light dispersed from the slit thus
creating bright and black spots, upon another sheet that was placed behind. These spots of
both destructive and constructive was thus from the formation of light waves having
overlapped upon one another thus concluding that light is a transverse wave and thus through
this experiment, knowledge was produced to attempt to solve a problem. Hence the problem
was solved by looking into the dual theory of light, that is light is a wave and consists of
photons, hence particles which still holds today and satisfying corpuscular physics and the
theories linked to waves.
In Biology, biological cloning may simply be defined as being the recombination of the
DNA molecules which are produced and also that are transformed into that of the host

http://physics.about.com/od/lightoptics/f/photon.htm

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/phyopt/slits.html
2

Gde D TOK essay


Title 1: The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do
you agree with this statement?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------organism.4 The molecule cloning is consistent of two main ideas, firstly that of being able to
replicate the interested DNA fragment that is required. The other required component is that
of having a plasmid backbone that would as a result contain the needed components from that
of the host. From the idea of biological cloning, there thus accounts for the upbringing of
various issues in the form of ethical and religious. However this does result in there being
some various religious issues such as, many argue that the act of cloning makes humans God,
an equality not viewed as appropriate as humans lack omniscience. The ethics of animal
research5 come into play, where many, such as the moral philosopher Peter Singer, believe
that all animals are created equal, suggesting animal testing6 in science should be
completely eliminated. The possibilities of unforeseen health risks in cloned organisms and
potential negative effects of decreased genetic variation on the human gene pool are seen as
ethical causes for concern in addition to the mixed ethical and social consideration of
increasing population sizes when worldwide resource availability is a problem.
On the other hand it may thus lead to there being some social issues such as cloning tend to
focus on human clones in terms of both availability of cloning technology and integration of
clones into society. Reproductive cloning raises the question of cost and who should have
access. However, the biggest social argument is that 7cloning negates a person's right to
individuality and ignores the potential 8psychological effects of such a parentless and deindividualized identity. The biggest legal issues concerning animal clones are who should be

4
5

https://www.neb.com/applicatios/cloning-and-synthetic-biology
https://www.genome.gov/25020028

http://people.opposingviews.com/ethical-social-legal-issues-cloning-animals-humans6951.html
7
8

http://www.biologyreference.com/Ce-Co/Clone.html
http://www.globalchange.com/davidw.htm
3

Gde D TOK essay


Title 1: The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do
you agree with this statement?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------responsible for and at what depth there should be oversight and accountability, as well as the
legal right to patent live organisms.
In the Human Sciences, we could also consider the realm of economics: firstly, in terms of
the economic issue that is associated to Greece in the economic breakdown. The issue was
formed from the crisis that occurred back in the year 2009 which was as a result of
mismanagement of the economy within two main economic departments. The global
economic crisis that spread around the western capitalist countries in the 2007/08 arrived in
Greece in 20099. However, Greece had not made investments in the Icelandic banks nor in
any of the so-called toxic investments of sub-prime loans, structured investment vehicles and
collateralized debt obligations. So how did it find itself becoming so much in debt that it is on
the verge of bankruptcy and has to be bailed out by the European Union and the IMF?
The strategies that were taken by the Greece economy, which have not entirely worked as
they now, currently find themselves having to deal with large amounts of debts to deal with,
the first method was to stop the sale of various key assets to the foreign countries and another
method10 that was taken was that of there being out-of-control spending on unnecessary
programs and initiatives that are being financed by foreign debt. 11 So with all the knowledge
produced by economist through their different models, all reforms to help the Greeks so far
have not been that efficient and effective.
The Simple Keynesian Model, which is also known as the Keynesian Cross, emphasizes one
basic point. That point is that a decrease in aggregate demand can lead to a stable
equilibrium with substantial unemployment. The Simple Keynesian Model application first
9

http://www.greekcrisis.net/
http://economyincrisis.org/solutions
11
http://www.thesimpledollar.com/ten-strategies-for-handling-the-stress-of-a-financial-crisis/
10

Gde D TOK essay


Title 1: The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do
you agree with this statement?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------explains the roles of consumption and investment and then explains the accounting identity Y
= C + I + G. Together, these elements determine the equilibrium level of output. The Simple
Keynesian Model is important not so much for its ability to capture the details of recessions,
but for its ability to demonstrate the possibility of a stable equilibrium at less than full
employment. While the real wage rate adjusts in the Classical Model to move the economy to
full employment, the real wage rate does not appear in the Simple Keynesian Model and
equilibrium is achieved by adjustments in aggregate demand, which equals aggregate
income. The equilibrium aggregate income need not imply full employment.
The subsequent development of the Mundell-Fleming model adds a balance of payments
equilibrium condition to the Keynesian IS-LM Model. It extends the closed economy
framework to allow discussion of the interplay between monetary policy and exchange rate
policy. In particular, the model emphasizes the differences between fixed and floating
exchange rates. Hence these models, as shared knowledge, are intended to solve problems
but only after the analysis of the practical application and the subsequent results that we can
determine if these models have been effective as problem solver.
The Keynesian model helped boost the economy in the USA after the great depression in
1929 but could not avoid the Krach of 2009 due to subprimes in the USA. Hence should we
conclude that each economic model should be adapted to each country and culture? This
since solving economic problems should not be based on reducing the inflation rate and
increasing the economic growth but should also help to create social fairness, in the sense that
the conditions of people living in poverty should not worsen.

Gde D TOK essay


Title 1: The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do
you agree with this statement?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In conclusion, we are able to deduce that there are various ways that one can solve different
problems, and thus one aim of the production of knowledge. At times in the Natural Sciences,
knowledge may clarify problems linked to theories such as the double nature of light or cause
ethical problems from what was discussed on cloning. Yet solving problems, in this area of
knowledge, helps experts to progress and helps us to acquire knowledge. In the Human
Sciences, knowledge about what goes wrong in the economy of a country might help to solve
problems but the social impact may be detriment to those at the bottom of the economic scale
as seen in the Greek economic crisis. Hence knowledge has many aims: helps us to
understand, gets us closer to the truth but also helps us to solve problems.

Word count: 1585

Gde D TOK essay


Title 1: The main reason knowledge is produced is to solve problems. To what extent do
you agree with this statement?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Bibliography:
http://physics.about.com/od/lightoptics/f/photon.htm
https://www.neb.com/applications/cloning-and-synthetic-biology
http://people.opposingviews.com/ethical-social-legal-issues-cloning-animals-humans6951.html
http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0005200.html
https://www.genome.gov/25020028
http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/ViewPage.aspx?pageId=106
http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/issues/examples/example2.html
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/phyopt/slits.html
http://economyincrisis.org/solutions
http://www.thesimpledollar.com/ten-strategies-for-handling-the-stress-of-a-financial-crisis/
http://www.biologyreference.com/Ce-Co/Clone.html
http://www.globalchange.com/davidw.htm
http://www.greekcrisis.net/

Theory of knowledge prescribed titles


November 2016 examination session

Instructions to candidates
Your theory of knowledge essay for examination must be submitted to your teacher for
authentication. It must be written on one of the six titles (questions) provided overleaf. You may
choose any title, but are recommended to consult with your teacher. Your essay will be marked
according to the assessment instrument published in the theory of knowledge guide. The
focus of your essay should be on knowledge questions. Where appropriate, refer to other parts
of your IB programme and to your experiences as a knower. Always justify your statements and
provide relevant examples to illustrate your arguments. Pay attention to the implications of your
arguments, and remember to consider what can be said against them. If you use external sources,
cite them according to a recognized convention.
Note that statements in quotations in these titles are not necessarily authentic: they present a real
point of view but may not be direct quotes. It is appropriate to analyse them but it is unnecessary,
even unwise, to spend time on researching a context for them.
Examiners mark essays against the title as set. Respond to the title exactly as given; do not alter it
in any way.
Your essay must have a maximum of 1600 words, it must be double-spaced and typed in size
12 font.

2 pages

International Baccalaureate Organization 2016

2
1.

The acquisition of knowledge is more a matter of recognition than of judgment. Evaluate this
claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.

2.

Is the availability of more data always helpful in the production of knowledge? Explore this
question with reference to two areas of knowledge.

3.

Conflicting knowledge claims always involve a difference in perspective. Discuss with reference
to two areas of knowledge.

4.

Error is as valuable as accuracy in the production of knowledge. To what extent is this the case
in two areas of knowledge?

5.

Metaphor makes no contribution to knowledge but is essential for understanding. Evaluate this
statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

6.

Ways of knowing operate differently in personal and shared knowledge. Assess this claim.

1. The acquisition of knowledge is more a matter of recognition than of judgment.


Evaluate this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Judgment:
o an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought
o the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful
thought : the act of judging something or someone
o the ability to make good decisions about what should be done

Recognition:
o an act of recognizing or the state of being recognized.

o the identification of something as having been previously seen, heard, known, etc.

o the perception of something as existing or true; realization.

o the acknowledgment of something as valid or as entitled to consideration:


o the recognition of a claim.

o the acknowledgment of achievement, service, merit, etc.

o the expression of this in the form of some token of appreciation:


o formal acknowledgment conveying approval or sanction.

o acknowledgment of right to be heard or be given attention.

o the automated conversion of information, as words or images, into a form that can be
processed by a machine, especially a computer or computerized device.

o Compare optical character recognition, pattern recognition.


o Biochemistry. the responsiveness of one substance to another based on the reciprocal fit
of a portion of their molecular shapes.

How and for which reasons do we make a judgment? What can the contribution of
judgment to the acquisition of knowledge?

What is understood to be the objectives of recognition in different AOKs and the


subsequent WOKs involved?

Link between judgment and ethics and aesthetic?

How is knowledge acquired in different AOKs? What are the WOKs involved in
these AOKs?

Can judgment be instinctive and what if that same judgment is supported by a


rationale?

When do we rely more on judgment than on evidence, facts and methodology?

Can both recognition and judgment be used as a complementary approach in the


acquisition of knowledge?

What if recognition brings in contradictory conclusions to a judgmental approach?


(Embryonic stem cells)

As a case of personal knowledge, can we make a link to the acquisition of knowledge


through CAS and Duke experience?

2. Is the availability of more data always helpful in the production of knowledge? Explore
this question with reference to two areas of knowledge.
o All quantitative data is based upon qualitative judgments; and all qualitative data
can be described and manipulated numerically. For instance, think about a very
common quantitative measure in social research -- a self esteem scale. The
researchers who develop such instruments had to make countless judgments in
constructing them: how to define self esteem; how to distinguish it from other related
concepts; how to word potential scale items; how to make sure the items would be
understandable to the intended respondents; what kinds of contexts it could be used
in; what kinds of cultural and language constraints might be present; and on and on.
The researcher who decides to use such a scale in their study has to make another set
of judgments: how well does the scale measure the intended concept; how reliable or
consistent is it; how appropriate is it for the research context and intended
respondents; and on and on. Believe it or not, even the respondents make many
judgments when filling out such a scale: what is meant by various terms and phrases;
why is the researcher giving this scale to them; how much energy and effort do they
want to expend to complete it, and so on. Even the consumers and readers of the
research will make lots of judgments about the self esteem measure and its
appropriateness in that research context. What may look like a simple,
straightforward, cut-and-dried quantitative measure is actually based on lots of
qualitative judgments made by lots of different people.
o On the other hand, all qualitative information can be easily converted into
quantitative, and there are many times when doing so would add considerable value
to your research. The simplest way to do this is to divide the qualitative information
into units and number them! I know that sounds trivial, but even that simple nominal
enumeration can enable you to organize and process qualitative information more
efficiently. Perhaps more to the point, we might take text information (say, excerpts
from transcripts) and pile these excerpts into piles of similar statements. When we do

something even as easy as this simple grouping or piling task, we can describe the
results quantitatively.

What are the different types of data? Qualitative, quantitative?

How is data obtained and through which methodology?

Can analysis of new data lead to new conclusions and thus former theories are discarded
or modified or confirmed?

If more data is obtained, how is the selection process done? (History, Nat Sci, Hum Sci)

Within its own methodology, how does the knowledge production in a specific AOK
rely on data?

How is data checked and crosschecked? (Replicability and falsifiability in the Sciences)

Can there be in some AOKs or disciplines where the methodology used via the
corresponding WOKs, do not require new data? (Pythagoras theorem)

Can more data cast doubt in, or hinder the production of knowledge? (Religious KS)

Can data be used for predictions?

What if we deal with dubious or manipulated data? How do we look for validity? If
knowledge has been produced on the basis of dubious data, then how is the truth
established?

3. Conflicting knowledge claims always involve a difference in perspective. Discuss with


reference to two areas of knowledge.
o Example: Natural selection reduces sociocultural systems to populations of traits,
requires variation and selection to have distinct origins, and treats adaptation as the
main explanatory principle. Constructivism, however, denies these assumptions as
inappropriate to sociocultural systems. Here, variation and selection are linked
together, and development occurs through an accumulation of various institutions.
Because competition may often be low, these may be adaptively mediocre but,
especially in combination, may still be the basis of further evolution. Necessary
conditions for development include social size, sedentism, differentiated groups, and
political centralisation. Social traditions, however, have core principles which may
inhibit or facilitate evolutionary development.

What can bring incoherence and conflicts in knowledge claims? Look into opposed
theories for example in the Nat sciences or conflicting analysis in history

Same type of thinking? Critical and creative?

Can knowledge claims instead of being conflicting, offer a wider exploration but from
different perspectives?

In the AOKs chosen, can difference in perspective lead to different methodologies,


different analysis using the same data / sources and thus lead to conflicting knowledge
claims? Or can these conflicting knowledge claims lead a questioning of the data /
sources, method involved rather than a difference in perspective?

Does difference in perspective necessarily lead to a different way of reasoning?

What influences our perspective? Experience, morality, culture, religious KS???

What support our knowledge claims? What is the role of evidence and explanation?

Could a difference, hence a diversity in perspective brings us closer to the truth and so
lead to converging knowledge claims instead of conflicting and diverging ones?

Could look into Historye.g. The Attack on Mers-el-Kbir.

Could difference in perspective lead to reinforce a knowledge claim, discard one or


modify one? Could also explore the Nat Sci, Hum Sci, Religious KS
5

4. Error is as valuable as accuracy in the production of knowledge. To what extent is


this the case in two areas of knowledge?

o Accuracy: Freedom from error (correctness), or closeness to truth or fact, resulting


from exercise of painstaking care or due diligence. Accuracy depends on how
the data is collected, and is usually judged by comparing several measurements from
the same or different sources.
o Accounting: A financial statement item is judged accurate when all account
balances included in it are correct in value, presentation, and disclosure of material
information. An account balance is judged accurate when all elements included in it
in value and classification. A class of transactions is judged accurate when
all accounting events included in it are correct in value and description.

o Errors: Random errors in experimental measurements are caused by unknown and


unpredictable changes in the experiment. These changes may occur in the measuring
instruments or in the environmental conditions. The precision of a measurement is
how close a number of measurements of the same quantity agree with each other. The
precision is limited by the random errors. It may usually be determined by repeating
the measurements.
Systematic Errors in experimental observations usually come from the
measuring instruments. They may occur because there is something wrong with the
instrument or its data handling system, or because the instrument is wrongly used by
the experimenter.

What do we understand by accuracy? What can be the link between accuracy and the
production of knowledge?

Any difference between errors and uncertainties?

Who determines errors and the related consequences? Notion of competent authorities
and experts

Can errors lead to a critical and creative way of using the same methodology, may be
with some modifications, such as to increase accuracy. So does one lead to the other?

Look into the Nat and Hum Sci

WOKs involved in determining accuracy, uncertainties and errors

Error of interpretation when analyzing texts Religious, Lit. Can a lack of accuracy be
detrimental to the production of knowledge or on the other hand lead to new knowledge
Religious KS

HIS: Accuracy in the sources selected Does that prevent errors in knowing why a past
event occurred?

Personal knowledge: could that lead to error of judgment or cause as degree of bias?

Could accuracy compensate for insufficient data in the production of knowledge?

What happens if accuracy is confused with precision?

5. Metaphor makes no contribution to knowledge but is essential for understanding.


Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.
o Metaphor is a figure of speech which makes an implicit, implied or
hidden comparison between two things that are unrelated but share some common
characteristics. In other words, a resemblance of two contradictory or different
objects is made based on a single or some common characteristics.
o Metaphors are used in all type of literature but not often to the degree they are
used in poetry because poems are meant to communicate complex images and
feelings to the readers and metaphors often state the comparisons most emotively.

What is the use of metaphor in literature?

What contributes to knowledge?

Can there be understanding without producing and acquiring knowledge?

If we can relate what we read and analyze in literature and poetry, through the
metaphors involved, to individuals, societies and cultures, then, is it a way to
contribute to knowledge?

Example: Dolls House (Ibsen) and Jaccuse (Emile Zola) Look into the metaphors
written and draw links to the KQ above

Why should an image lead to understanding?

Metaphors facilitate the capturing of our phenomenological experience of the world


in a unique way. They provide a means by which we can connect together objects,
events and actions that appear to be empirically disparate and unconnected and are
part of cultural expressions. So what is the link between knowledge, understanding,
creative thinking and Metaphors? Could refer to: Broken Column, by Frida Kahlo
which is an artwork abound with symbolism.

So if metaphors are personal, subjective and cultural in the Arts, what are its
implications to knowledge and understanding?

Ceci nest pas une pipe - (This is not a pipe), lays bare the complexity of art,
meaning and interpretation. Perhaps all art is metaphor and can be explained as a
8

visual trope. Or perhaps artists can manipulate the visual to enhance, change or
discard metaphoric interpretations so to what extent?

In Religious KS: What can count as metaphors and what are their purposes? Look
into concepts linked to Heaven and Hell.

Seems that interpretation is vital here but to what extent can interpretation contribute
to knowledge?

Would metaphors lead to understanding things differently due to our different


cultures and perspectives in life?

Could Metaphors, through language shape knowledge and hence provide a


contribution and construction to knowledge production and acquisition?

What about metaphors in some cultures? Would that provide a guide, may be to
morality or as a way of expression? Mauritian language and culture: Lalo, Piow,
Daal - French language: Une Belle de loin, mail elle est loin detre belle.

So, what happens when metaphors lead to ambiguity? Hence misunderstanding

What about smileys and SMS language for communication? E.g. LOL.

6. Ways of knowing operate differently in personal and shared knowledge. Assess this
claim.

What is the notion of personal and shared knowledge in TOK?

What are the modes of operation of the WOKs?

Can they be linked and influence each other?

What are the associations of WOKs that lead to producing knowledge? Personal
and shared knowledge?

Are these WOKs linked to different methodologies in producing knowledge?

Can we look into Ethics and Religious KS?

Would these WOKs operate in isolation or in association with each other?

What happens when a specific WOK contradicts another one in the conclusions
reached? Would that lead to divergence between personal and shared knowledge?
Thus how do we reach for truth?

Could the same WOKs work in such a way to complement knowledge claims
such that either shared knowledge shapes personal knowledge or from personal
knowledge, shared knowledge is developed and produced?

What are the links between the WOKs and methodologies?

Could the WOKs operate differently but still to objectivity and what happens
when the Woks lead to subjectivity?

Does prior knowledge determine the ways we use the WOKs and their
functioning? Would that be a consequence of our aims and objectives?

10

Le Bocage International School


Mauritius
TOK IB Nov. 2016

This is a kind reminder of what we need for our TOK Essay:


If your name is Harry Potter, it is essential that your essay is saved as:
harrypotter TOK Essay N16
Your candidate number or your name or school code must NOT appear on the essay at all.
Header:

The full title itself without changing one single word!!!


Footer:
Page number
Any footnotes, that is, references for all quotes, if any
Make sure that you essay does NOT include pictures / diagrams
At the end:
Word count: Must not exceed 1600 words.
Bibliography
References
Your essay must be word processed of course and typed using:
Times New Roman and Font 12
Leave a line spacing of 2 lines
Submission to Eddy:
Wed. 7th September 2016
On MB and on a CD please to avoid any viruses
On the CD write your name and candidate number and also the Essay Title
number with a permanent marker.
We will then format your essay to a pdf version and then upload in front of you. Later this year,
the IB Coordinator, will provide you with the information needed to enter the IB website and get
your Code and Pin etc
Thank you: KAM and Edy