What is Tok? 

TOK stands for the Theory of Knowledge, which is a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of knowledge, justification and the rationality of belief.

Theory of Knowledge is also a compulsory part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma program, assessed through an oral presentation and a 1,600 words essay on one of the six prescribed titles announced every year.  

Prescribed titles for the 2016/2017 essay are following:

  1. “It is only knowledge produced with difficulty that we truly value.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? 

  2. “Facts are needed to establish theories but theories are needed to make sense of facts.” Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

  3. Should key events in the historical development of areas of knowledge always be judged by the standards of their time?

  4. “In the production of knowledge, traditions of areas of knowledge offer correctives for ways of knowing.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

  5. Given access to the same facts, how is it possible that there can be disagreement between experts in a discipline? Develop your answer with reference to two areas of knowledge.

  6. “Humans are pattern-seeking animals and we are adept at finding patterns whether they exist or not” (adapted from Michael Shermer). Discuss knowledge questions raised by this idea in two areas of knowledge. 

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