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International Baccalaureate: Theory of Knowledge

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  1. Examine the ethical issues in vivisection and discuss the extent to which it should be allowed

    animals and the animals are not intentionally killed and are put through the least possible amount of pain which should be humane. First of all, people who support vivisection tend to have the mindset that human beings are superior to animals and that this gives us the right to use them for our own purposes. Animals are reduced to tools, which are meant to serve humankind. In this case, experimenting on animals seems acceptable because we, as superior beings, are entitled to make use of them.

    • Word count: 1902
  2. Is Greed good?

    However, the justification of greed as a 'necessary tool' for survival in today's fiercely competitive society and overshadowing of ethnics is a growing concern regarding the question whether greed is really good. I believe that greed, while it can be a good catalyst to spur us onto achieving our goals, can often give in detrimental impacts to both individuals and the society. Perhaps the best reason for advocating that greed is good would be its ability to spur a person, a firm or a society for success.

    • Word count: 879
  3. We as people rely on our senses in our everyday lives: To hear, to smell, to see, to feel, and to taste, but when should we ever really rely on them in order to receive the truth?

    We automatically assume that our senses would not betray us, because we become so dependent on them. When in reality, our senses our never a hundred percent correct. Personally, I think that we should never fully rely on our senses, because our senses can sometimes be deceiving. A person can control what he or she feels/sees/tastes etc, just by the will of power. Your mind will let you see/smell/ taste etc. what you want to, and sometimes it may not always be the "truth".

    • Word count: 825
  4. TOK Essay: 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.

    However, according to the Ways of Knowing, one can say that knowledge does not have to be entirely objective. Knowledge is not solely earned through reason or perception. Emotion and language also take up a part in the "ways" of knowing something, disproving the stereotype that knowledge is 100-percent objective. Another nature of knowledge is that humans generate knowledge. And they are destined to be biased and selective, no matter how objective they vow to be. In other words, human beings cannot be entirely objective, as is knowledge. Bias is always present, and many claims and researches that add to the scope of the human knowledge are partially based on bias.

    • Word count: 1201
  5. Can Logic be a barrier to knowledge?

    However, in this case, due to the unusual reaction of the man after the bartender points a gun at him, we have less similar experiences to refer back to and hence the whole situation seems illogical. In this way, in the absence of similar prior experiences, sometimes logic can be a barrier in explaining 'unusual' situations. In the world of art, one may often see many 'illogical' paintings, yet they create meaning and convey messages - without logic. Many artworks are creative in the sense that they 'destroy' the traditional logical views of things.

    • Word count: 701
  6. Defining and Analysing Violence

    Therefore, committing suicide might not be included in my definition for violence, while some classmates consider it as "influential violence". The act of suicide may have an influencing affect on vulnerable people who don't have a rational judgment on right or wrong actions such as children. Thus, it is indirectly influencing the vulnerable ones to potentially cause harm to themselves or even others. Though, I think that there is a choice of being influenced and not being influenced. It might be true that most children do not have the ability to judge rationally, but it is the parents', schools' and society's responsibility to help and support the child on developing that ability.

    • Word count: 1129
  7. We have clearly made scientific progress over the last three hundred years. In your opinion, have we made moral progress? Justify your answer with a personal example or an example from the news.

    Morality is based on consistency in following moral principles in our actions, and impartiality in treating each person equally. Therefore, moral progress can be measured in evaluating the moral consistency and impartiality in the society. There has been a declination in slavery or discrimination against gender, races, ethnicities over the past century, but does this mean there is moral progress? In the times where slavery and racism was deemed acceptable, people were consistent with their moral principles. However, in viewing our society today, we have developed or adjusted our moral principles by regarding slavery or discrimination as something morally wrong without everyone strictly following it, and hence an inconsistency in morality, which seems to result in a retreatment of morality.

    • Word count: 545
  8. Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of using faith as a basis for knowledge in religion and in one area of knowledge from the ToK diagram.

    Saint Paul was a great missionary who spread Christianity in Europe and died as a martyr. Although he once prosecuted Christians as a Jewish, he changed his mind to dedicate himself to Christianity after he got to believe the existence of God. After believers become certain of their faith, their lifestyles aren't distracted by external circumstances. Whenever the outside forces urge them to change their religion and threaten them to death, believers resist to them and don't give up their faith.

    • Word count: 958
  9. Autobiography: Me as a Knower

    This meant that I would always try to verify whatever they tell me with books or with experts like doctors. Moreover, as a "scientific type of knower" I always expected "certainty" with everything that I considered as knowledge. Since, I always required "certainty" with my knowledge I believed there was only one way of acquiring knowledge and that is usually through "authorities/experts" like doctors and teachers for example.

    • Word count: 504
  10. How do I know what is right and what is wrong?

    My morals mainly come from one source despite it having many different roots. That one source where the majority of my morals come from would be home and more specifically my parents. My mother and father both greatly impacted the morals I have today and they both individually have their own unique sets of morals. To begin with, my father and the family he was raised up in was a Christian one and my father himself is a devout Christian. Every Sunday, my father would bring me to church and Sunday school as a young child.

    • Word count: 1150
  11. Suicide is the taking of ones own life and considered unlawful. Should this ever be permissible or warranted to perform?

    a person could be suffering from a love related problem, or they could be suffering from the guilt of something they did in their life. With all these reasons why someone would not want to live, it is wrong to take your own life. Suicide is thought of a permanent solution to a temporary problem in one's life. Although, I think one reason that suicide should be excused is when there is a severe or incurable illness. Life should be thought of as a gift and an individual should respect that they are alive and that they are able to be a part of the world.

    • Word count: 965
  12. "You're not thinking; you're merely being logical" (Neils Bohr). To what extent do you agree with this quote?

    Thinking requires logic along with critical analysis to form an evaluation. For example, there is a population of squirrels living in my backyard. When I throw a rock at the squirrel and hit it, it runs away from me and never comes near me again. The squirrel is not thinking, it is merely using logic. That is, the squirrel is not critically analyzing the situation; it is merely associating my presence with the pain I inflicted. The squirrel acts based on its past experience and uses logic to deduce that every time I come outside, a rock will be thrown at it.

    • Word count: 634
  13. By taking ideas from philosophers before him such as Locke and Berkeley, Hume is able to argue how our ideas and beliefs come from past experiences rather than from reason.

    He believes that if we try to support our ideas through reason, we will never find the answer. Interestingly, Humes says that our beliefs are instead formed by our previous knowledge and thoughts. I find this aspect of his argument to be a valid one. For instance, I believe that airplanes fly because I haven't seen anything to contradict this idea. What this means is that the only reason I believe that airplanes can fly is because of my prior knowledge and what has been provided to me through nature. If I try to reason why airplanes are able to fly, Humes argues that I would not achieve the best possible answer because I cannot reason without using my prior knowledge and impressions.

    • Word count: 559
  14. Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of using faith as a basis for knowledge in religion and in one area of knowledge from the TOK diagram

    Consequently faith and hope are base for each religion. Not accidentally religions in their teaching are dealing with these issues so frequently. Even they developed particular areas of preaching that handle notion of faith. But, we have to know that in some cases complete reliance on hope or faith in something can be counterproductive. Hopes must not be experienced only as a mere waiting, but everyone must do many things through their activities. Student cannot get a good grade in school unless their own actions, if he hopes to score in itself to come.

    • Word count: 1369
  15. Doubt is the key to all knowledge. To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?

    The considerable increase in the quantity of information, such as invention of linear perspective and publication of De humani corporis fabrica libri septem that occurred during the Renaissance times, can be contrasted to almost no knowledge gained during medieval times. The reason for this was the involvement of religion and the suppression of doubts. The religion is not influenced by much ways of knowing, but the culture and education affect where I stand between truth and religious belief. By education, I know that some questions are not answerable like is there a god, but with enough education I know some of the beliefs the church teaches are not absolute.

    • Word count: 2200
  16. The vocabulary we have does more than communicate our knowledge; it shapes what we can know. Evaluate this claim with reference to different areas of knowledge.

    Or is the definition less restricted and more comprehensive? In order to examine the role 'vocabulary' plays in the ways in which we communicate and gain knowledge in the different areas of knowledge, we should interpret it as not only a part of language, but any system of symbols, techniques, tools, etc. which is used to communicate or express thoughts, opinions, emotions, and more. And according to the claim, it is this vocabulary that can limit and restrict the range of our knowledge. Vocabulary sometimes limits what we can know because it does not always encompass the entire reality of a concept.

    • Word count: 1796
  17. How important are the opinions of experts in the search for knowledge?

    No one else in the world had even started thinking on those lines, thus, all accepted this fact when they saw that it was a justified true belief. Thus, we see that expert opinions play a very important role in formulating the knowledge we know. But, at the same time, experts are fallible, because, almost 30 years later, it was discovered that humans have only 23 pairs of chromosomes and that Painter had simply made a counting mistake. Thus, though we rely on experts for our knowledge, they can be wrong.

    • Word count: 1358
  18. How does language affect the way we see things?

    Nobody in this world knows languages when they are born, whether it is animals or humans. They learn it from others. This allows biases of the teacher to pass on to the new born. For example, when we were six years old and being taught the names of different colours, we were told that the sky is blue. This was told to us and we could see it, thus, we believed it. But, in the later years as the science taught to us advanced, we came to know that the space is actually black. This was a pure bias created in our minds through perception and later on we believed it because somebody used language and reasoning to make us realize the truth.

    • Word count: 809
  19. In Mrigaa Sethis essay, Facebook: Editing Myself, she talks about how online profiles are diluted, highly edited, flimsy representations of peoples identity. What is so real on these profiles?

    Meaning that we are not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of others in society. Even though social networking gives opportunities to reveal aspects of identity, it could also be deceitful because by giving the option to change the setting and that privacy is no longer a social norm. When making one of these social networks, the person fills out information about themselves such as their hometown, where they go to school, and interest. Except, how do they know if the information is 100 percent true. The way a person edit's their selves, is the way people out there will see it.

    • Word count: 683
  20. Comparison - Plato, Buddha, Zoroaster etc.

    In order to become a worthy person one should develop moral habits and abide by the norms of society. Over time that person eventually reaches the highest level of development of his/her personality and acquires the supreme principle of righteousness. An ideal society according to Confucius would be the one where all individuals have reached the highest level mentioned before. What makes his idea of the ideal society and justice closely resembles the idea of Plato about the perfect society or republic. The difference being that, Plato believes one does not just simply acquire the given virtues, but be trained in order to have them.

    • Word count: 902
  21. Socratic dialogueAre reason and logic purely objective and universal, or do they vary across cultures?

    But that is not our reality. We have social problems: racism, poverty, and powerful weapons that could have easily destroyed our planet. Frank. We don't have to believe in the same thing but we can think in the same way. Do you think that we should care for our environment? Susan. Yes, of course. Frank. Do you recycle? Susan. No, that is not my job, the cleaners will sort out the trash at school and at home. Frank. So, in recent years, environmental issues have become a growing concern in the world.

    • Word count: 1187
  22. Albert Einstein. If we establish the fact that Einstein was not just a scientist but a philosopher-scientist, there is no surprise in reading this quote of Einsteins: Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge i

    But looking at Einstein as a philosopher-scientist, one is able to find that Einstein did not believe in the idea that "knowledge of 'what is' opens the door to 'what should be'". Instead he believed that the destiny of all truth and knowledge-in other words 'what should be'-was set out by God. These ideals that Einstein fervently believed in go hand in hand with the quote mentioned above, where Einstein implies that those who judge truth and knowledge, or in other words dictate "what should be", are intruding into the activity of God.

    • Word count: 781
  23. Dreams vs. Reality

    When you know the technique of lucid dreaming you have control over your dream, and over that "parallel universe" that is supposed to represent a different world from the real one. You create the scenery, you define yourself, and you choose who and what is happening in it. If we look at the rational side of the answer to this question, it would seem quite easy to truly answer it, but the problem

    • Word count: 424
  24. Imagine a world without colours

    What a beautiful world! Jubilee Kingdom got its name because the people were always happy and enjoyed their gorgeous environment. The colorful surroundings and the pleasant smell of nature with sweet fruits bought joy to everybody. It was at the very moment that King Davis closed his eyes to enjoy the rhythm of the carriage, that something strange suddenly happened. The melody of birds stopped, the sky turned black and the wind became wild. "What, what is going on!??" cried the King as he opened his eyes to check on his family.

    • Word count: 1364

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