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International Baccalaureate: Theory of Knowledge

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  1. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing.

    For instance: A: All humans will die. B: I am human. Therefore C: I will die. This illustrates how the two certain statements immediately prompt us to accept that the third statement is also certain. However, the problem comes when one of the premises is factually questionable. For example: A: All lawyers drive cars B: I am a lawyer Therefore C: I drive a car Statement A is a hasty generalization as there is no proof that every single lawyer alive drives a car.

    • Length: 1517 words
  2. To what extent do you think reason is an objective, reliable way of knowing? Do not list the problems, but evaluate their importance of reasoning overall.

    However, while using deductive reasoning, an argument can be mislead or misunderstood because of the structure of the argument itself rather than the content of the argument. This would mean that using/implying deductive reasoning to a specific topic may turn out to be an unreliable way of knowing because of the fact that the same argument could have a different outcome or conclusion if only the structure of the argument was to change. The capability of altering the outcome of an argument just by restructuring the premises makes this an unreliable method of knowing to a certain extent.

    • Length: 1675 words
  3. What I tell you three times is true. (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula or a more sophisticated version of it actually determine what we believe to be true?

    This brings light to the fact that mere repetition could be a significant way of knowing. Lewis's quote is based on the ability of repetition to infiltrate and fortify an idea in ones mind hence influencing what that individual deems to be true and in doing so plays a substantial role in how that person gathers knowledge. Consequently, repetition as a way of knowing, often shape certain ideals and notions that societies regard as factual. In order to tackle this knowledge issue I hope to show the role of reason and emotion in different areas of knowledge, namely natural sciences and history and how they could influence what we believe to be true hence evaluating Carroll's statement.

    • Length: 1639 words
  4. "The theory of art as representation say we value art because it faithfully informs us but also because it does more than this it offers us insights and knowledge that are not factual or scientific; in a sense art informs us in a special way in a way that

    Therefore, the concept of art is further strengthened when one can glean information from art; i.e. feelings, knowledge, innate understanding etc. Personally I find myself in agreement with this statement since, in my opinion, artwork must convey something to us for it to have some level of value placed upon it. Certain pieces of artwork impart upon us knowledge about things such as human experiences in regards to a particular thing; such as the song 'Coming Home' by The Soldiers.

    • Length: 961 words
  5. The main idea of art is to produce a faithful copy, in this way, art informs us of what is true; and this is why we value it. To what extent do you agree with this view?

    Personally I believe that artwork itself can inform us in many and varied ways, meaning that I don't believe that art must produce a faithful copy in order to be truthful. Essentially, I think it would be impossible for all pieces of artwork to faithfully inform us of truth since some of the most inspiring and, in some cases truthful, pieces of artwork have had no artistic faith in regards to what they are actually depicting; or perhaps a better word would be 'conveying'.

    • Length: 796 words
  6. Is cheerleading a sport?

    The OCR is in the United States department of Education, and they are the people that make the final decision of whether an activity can be seen as a sport. The OCR does not recognize cheering as a sport because its initial purpose was to support athletic teams.

    • Length: 520 words
  7. How can we know when we have made progress in the search of knowledge?

    Emotion is an essential component when it comes to ethics. Our morals and values are based on our emotions and how we feel, and that leads to how we know when we have gained knowledge in ethics. It plays a strong part in different cultures around the world. For instance, in China foot binding was a traditional practice that took place thousands of years ago where females would wrap ten-inch long bandages that were two inches wide around their feet in order to make them smaller.

    • Length: 1390 words
  8. Why isnt it just as good to be happy as to be sad?

    For example, being buoyant, kind, cheerful, outgoing, attractive and energetic is means to be HAPPY. In opposite, being melancholy, dolorous, dreary, lamentable is considered to be SAD. We feel different emotions like happy or sad because of various situations. Specifically, we use and ability to feel, perceive and observe the world around us by using sensory perception. More often we people can't fully describe their mental state of emotions, but human's body can always feel the changes in itself and outwards things.

    • Length: 517 words
  9. Supernatural causes vs. Pathogen model of infectious disease

    Everything was rough: they were not aware of the causes of illnessed and, consequently, the remedies were empirical (explain how: what is empirical? = based on experience, hope that what worked once works again), based on herbal teas, potions and infusions of sorts. Precautions based on hygienic practices did not exist as they were not yet understood, and sometimes what they believed was the cure, caused severe infections due to the ingredients they used in the potions - which amongst other things also included human bones and scorpions.

    • Length: 989 words
  10. What can be meant by the Panchantantra saying, Knowledge is the true organ of sight, not the eyes? Is it necessary to have clear ideas to see?

    To answer these questions I shall first examine the ways that our eyes (or sense perception) can be used in our gaining of knowledge, and the very problem with this. One cannot dispute the fact that much of what we know, we gain from sight. We know for example that it is raining outside, by a quick glance at the window. Or we know that our teacher is getting annoyed by our incessant chatter, by studying the angry expression on his/her face, hopefully prompting us to stop. However sight alone can be very deceiving, and using our eyes as the soul basis in our decision of what is true and false, can at times prove to be unreliable.

    • Length: 1294 words
  11. The passage, Understand the Four Pillar of Thought, presents thinking as the most powerful tool that we have at our disposal to improve the quality of our life, as well as helping us to gain a profound understanding of our thinking process.

    The first pillar of thought, the what, has to do with what we think about. In a way, what we think about is one of the most important aspects of our lives. To a large degree, the thoughts that we add to the mind determine the feelings we experience and the behavior we put into action. Apparently, if we were to think nothing but angry and frustrated feelings, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our lives would be consisted of mostly anger and frustration.

    • Length: 710 words
  12. Science has both similarities and differences in the way it approaches knowledge as compared to other areas of knowledge

    Science could also be compared with mathematics, since mathematics is also an area of knowledge. Mathematics is essential to the sciences. One important function of mathematics in science is the role it plays in the expression of scientific models. Observing and collecting measurements, as well as hypothesizing and predicting, often require extensive use of mathematics. Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus, for example, are all essential to physics.

    • Length: 507 words
  13. To what extent is truth different in mathematics, the arts and ethics?

    However, the specific truths one seeks in a piece of music, a work of art, or a study may vary from individual to individual. Unlike the "hard" truths in the world, these truths are heavily based on belief and rely on personal interpretation, such as the conclusions, regardless of their unreasonable thoughts, a person may draw after studying a piece of art. Because of their dependency on opinion, these truths can be classified as "soft" truths. Thus, in the area of mathematics, there is truth that can be factually verified through the manipulation of equations and the usage of proofs.

    • Length: 1617 words
  14. Themes connecting The Matrix and Plato The Matrix and Platos Republic both deal with the idea of reality.

    Morpheus throughout the movie encouraged Neo to believe. Finally at the end of the movie, Neo allowed himself to believe he was "The One" and this belief led him to being able to defeat the agents and find his true self. In Plato's Allegory of the cave, light plays a role in inspiring belief. First, the campfire in the cave allows the prisoners to see the images of the wall and believe these images are reality. Socrates also explains that the sun serves as a path to belief.

    • Length: 779 words
  15. Using history and at least one other area of knowledge, examine the claim that it is possible to attain knowledge despite problems of bias and selection.

    From my personal viewpoint of studying Medieval History at a higher level within the IB syllabus, I fully understand the implications that bias holds in distorting the truth, however this distortion in itself can provide useful information. For example, the reign of King John of England created many sources negative to his style of kingship. Many of these accounts contained entirely ludicrous information such as the idea that John personally murdered priests and looted money; such information is clearly untrue of his reign.

    • Length: 910 words
  16. Essay on perception for TOK. Descartes believed that our senses could be deceived in many different ways.

    Descartes asserts that we can know our mind more readily than we can know our body. In support of this idea he gives the example of a piece of wax which is observed in its solid form and its liquid form. After pointing out the difficulties of relying on the senses of the physical body to understand the nature of the wax he makes this claim: Perception ... is neither a seeing, nor a touching, nor an imagining. ... Rather it is an inspection on the part of the mind alone. This quote is perhaps the most direct statement of the author's thesis on this subject.

    • Length: 667 words
  17. Discuss Plato's definition of knowledge.

    One reason for this would be that justification can mean importantly different things. For example witnesses can be mistaken, but there may be no better evidence, and no other way to recover the truth, than their testimony. As Will Rogers said, "All I know is what I read in the papers." Thus, Plato's definition of knowledge has a flaw since a false piece of evidence or justification can be considered true if there is nothing else to contradict it. This in turn means that his definition of knowledge is to weak and has loop holes in it.

    • Length: 566 words
  18. Modular reflections for TOK. Identify a piece of art which has communicated beauty to you, what precisely is this beauty and how is it that art manages to convey it?

    Is the arts an important area of knowledge for you? What does art do that science and mathematics do not? The Last Supper is a 15th century mural painting created by Leonardo da Vinci. It represents the last meal that Jesus had with his disciples before his crucifixion, where he announces that an apostle would betray him. This piece of art communicates beauty to me, through the way Leonardo has tried to communicate a certain message, as well as the unique style that he used to recreate this scene.

    • Length: 814 words
  19. Euthanasia . If people express a desire to die peacefully in their old age after losing all major body functions they should be given the option of euthanasia.

    Terminally ill people who know they will not live for long and their short span of life they have left will be painful should be given the option to die painlessly. For many people autonomy is dignity and without the ability to do things for themselves they no longer have dignity and feel ashamed of themselves. What individual would want to continue to live with no autonomy? Every person should feel they control some part of their own life. Assisted suicide would be a way for these people to choose their death; to live in pain or live without feeling

    • Length: 1266 words
  20. When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    Emotion is the one way of knowing that should not be used to find the truth. Our opinions are important because they are our beliefs, but it's also possible that what we believe is not true to begin with. This also creates conflict between different people as we try to share what we think to be the truth. Furthermore, our senses do not give us the absolute truth or the big picture. They merely provide us with raw data, and we can rely on this data for our own interpretation. Truth is not something we sense, it is something we recognize.

    • Length: 1133 words
  21. What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that make them convincing

    To begin, it is important to define the key terms, namely 'scientific theories' and 'convincing'. Scientific theories are a set of logical explanatory statements with well-supported evidence that explain observations and can be used to predict future events. More importantly, a scientific theory must be falsifiable in nature. This means a claim can only be proven experimentally wrong but not correct (Alchin 18). The other word that this essay is concerned with is 'convincing'. Something can be convincing but not necessarily reliable. A convincing theory is therefore one that is capable of effectively persuading others to believe and accept.

    • Length: 2037 words
  22. Is mathematics invented or discovered?

    From my perspective this makes mathematics a combination of both invention and discovery. The axioms have always been welded into our universe, and humans have constructed a system in which we can explore them. This relates to Joshua Hills theory, a young student at Harvard,"So we discover the world around us, now how do we use and manipulate this world. Invent Mathematics." This theorem can be justified by the advent of numerals. The base 20 numeral system was invented thousands of years ago by the Pre-Columbian Maya Civilisation most likely used to count something as basic as cattle or other livestock.

    • Length: 513 words
  23. TOK summer assignment - Art Questions. Experiencing art, artists reputations and "what is good art?"

    In fact, my feelings towards the spider were reinforced after being nearer to it. Under the spider, I felt that I was being protected by its dominant size and structure. After touching the piece of work, it became more appealing as it was very sturdy and instantly told me to read further into the artwork. d) Louise Bourgeoise is the artist of this piece. Look beside one of the main doors to find out what it is called. Do you believe the piece is appropriately titled? Why or why not? I came to know that the piece is titled, "Maman". I certainly think that the piece is appropriately titled by the artist, Louise Bourgeoisie.

    • Length: 7569 words
  24. When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    Senses are a knower's primary source of information, and it enables one to obtain knowledge from one's surrounding environment and experiences continuously. Common-sense realism pushes forward the theory that perception is "a passive and relatively straightforward process which gives us an accurate picture of reality." (Lagermaat 86) Senses are indispensable in helping us learn the truth, whether factual or subjective, because they are the gateways which allow one to glean information from both experiences and environment. Without the senses the interaction between person and environment would not exist - we are not born with an innate understanding of how the world works and therefore we need our senses.

    • Length: 1924 words
  25. This essay will explore how sense cannot be trusted to give us the whole truth in all cases at all times.

    Our senses cannot be trusted to give us the whole truth all the time due to the selectiveness of our perception of the information obtained by our senses. Perception is not passive and can thus be said to be fallible. Our senses are what gives us our whole input of data, it helps us to explain how the world functions. Humans can both perceive an object and not perceive the same object. Perception is selective; humans cannot choose to perceive absolutely every single fact in an environment at one time through our senses.

    • Length: 1734 words
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The IB Diploma Programme is a demanding and robust programme of education which students follow at the ages of 16-19. The DP has been recognised as being a strong qualification by universities across the globe, and by leading employers. The DP ensures that students: develop their intellect with due ethical consideration, acquire a breadth of knowledge by studying subjects from 6 subject groups (unlike Advanced level where students generally choose three subjects), and undertake in-depth research into an area of personal interest.

The actual subjects studied include a choice of language, anadditional language, a social science, an experimental science and mathematics. In addition to this students then choose an either arts subject or can choose a second subject form the original 5 groups. Three core elements are also required: that extended essay, completion of the Theory of Knowledge course and Creativity, Action and Service (CAS), which is a range of activities which run alongside the academic programme. Assessment is completed by both internal means and by external examination. Each course is marked and students awarded a score between 1 (the lowest), to 7 (the highest). The diploma is awarded to students who achieve a score of at least 24 points.

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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, a widely accepted pre-university qualification, was developed in the 1960s as an educational standard for a globalising world. If you want to attend university in another country, or you just want to infuse your education with an international perspective, then the IB diploma could be a good option for you.

Excellent writing skills will be indispensable here: each course is partly assessed on written work, and students are required to submit an extended essay as well. To support you in all your writing endeavours, Marked by Teachers has amassed a collection of student-submitted IB essays covering everything fromthe group 4 projects to world literature. Study the teacher-marked and peer-reviewed examples to learn how to edit your own essays, and produce highly polished work.

After leaving school, you'll have the chance to attend university in another country if you wish; today, the IB diploma is recognised by over 2,000 institutions around the world. But even if you stay at home, you'll be well prepared to build a career in today's globalised economy.

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Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • We see and understand things not as they are but as we are. Discuss this claim in relation to at least two ways of knowing.

    "In conclusion, I personally believe that ways of knowing such as emotion, sense perception or language shape our reality greatly. Whether it is our own senses that betray us, the media that influences us, or emotions that affect our reasoning, reality is altered everyday to a certain extent. However, we as humans have come to a point in our existence where we cannot afford to let these things get in the way of truth or objective knowledge. We've become intelligent enough to understand this idea over the decades and decades of the mistakes we have made and knowledge we have gained. That is why, we use reason and logic to put aside our emotions, our sense perceptions, or the thousands of languages of this world, and try to see things for the way they are and not as we are."

  • How is knowledge gained? What are the sources? To what extent might these vary according to age, education or cultural backgrounds?

    "In conclusion the way knowledge is gained and the sources of knowledge vary tremendously according to age, education, and cultural backgrounds. In my opinion, I think that cultural backgrounds are the main reasons for the variations because people that come from different cultural have many different ways of life and beliefs. 1 "knowledge." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008.Merriam-Webster Online. 8 October 2008<"

  • Speech. Our knowledge issue is To what extent should censorship be allow in school. We will also compare the situation in school to censorship at a global level.

    "In conclusion, we believe that its the censorship in our school is a rational option that has to be taken for making sure that students of KGV are going in the right way. However we personally believe that the school should look into more topics to help the students paint the whole picture. This is our belief. There are lots of other views. JT : The Teleologist Approach for this issue would be to look at the advantages and consequences of censorship and come with a result that restrictions to visit certain Internet site and having a no games policy in school is logical however they may come to a result that having a restricted view on history is not acceptable. On the other hand a deontologist, will just look at the ethical side of the argument and will probably support going against the censorship."

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