• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Tok Chap 1-3

Extracts from this document...


TOK Notes Chapter 1: The Problem of Knowledge Introduction * Critical thinking involves asking good questions, using language with care and precision, supporting your ideas with evidence, arguing coherently, and making sound judgements. * Four ways of acquiring knowledge: perception, language, reason, emotion * Despite the growth of knowledge, we are confronted by contradictory beliefs. * The difference in education of the prevailing era supports the fact that knowledge is not static but changes over time. * Nothing is certain, due to some claims by scientists we have not been trying to make sense of the world for long enough in the cosmic year to guarantee the results. Common Sense * Most people trusts knowledge to the point for knowledge to become common sense, yet common sense is based on nothing more than vague and untested beliefs. * Common sense provides us with a starting point. * Our mental map of reality provides us with common sense, what our ideas of true and false is, etc. * Although common sense should not be discarded and considered useless, we should be willing to subject it to scrutiny. * If we are accustomed to something for a long period of time (ex. Growing up) we may unthinkingly accept the fact as true and unaware of its limitations. * The fact that people find maps in the opposite direction shows the way habitual thinking affects our minds and how hard it is to break out of it. * Our ideas and beliefs come from different sources. Ex. Experience, parents, friends, teachers, books and media. * There are likely to be inaccuracies within our mental maps since we do not have to time to verify the claims of the sources where we obtain our common sense. * Inaccuracies include: thinking outside the customs familiar to a particular individual, and cultural biases. * Paradox of cartography: if a map is to be useful, it must be imperfect. ...read more.


This raises the question between what should be included in the curriculum and the difference between education and indoctrination. * Some argue that the hallmark of a good school is one that encourages you to question things and think for yourself. Internet * Advantage: speed and accessibility * Disadvantage: Lack of quality control. It can be a source of not only information but also disinformation. Expert opinion * A consequence of the growth of knowledge in our society is that it is no longer possible for a bright person to know everything. * Despite relying on expert opinion, we should keep in mind two things: 1. Experts are fallible and sometimes get it wrong 2. Experts have a limited range of competence. News media * We are all aware that there is some bias in both the selection and presentation of news stories. * Bad news: gives people an unduly pessimistic view of the state of the planet, create and sustain a climate of fear. * Extraordinary news: Gradual changes that may have a significance effect on people's lives tend to get little coverage. * Relevant news: Concerns domestic citizens of the same country. * Most people who follow current affairs choose outlets that reflect their pre-existing prejudices. * We should occasionally select a news outlet that has a different opinion than our own to encourage us to question our assumptions and not take our way of looking at things for granted. The limitations of second-hand knowledge * Second hand knowledge can never be an original source of knowledge. * Authority is not an original source of knowledge, our knowledge claims must ultimately be justified by perception, reason and intuition. * Problems can arise if you rely only on judgment to determine the truth. * Talking to people with different opinions may help us to improve our self-knowledge and develop a more balanced picture of the world Conclusion * The difference between knowledge and belief is one of degree rather than kind. ...read more.


* Language determines the way we think, it can be described as a form of linguistic determinism. Testing the hypothesis * The fact that groups of people have many different words for snow does not show that language determines reality, but instead suggests that reality determines language. * It might be hard to have various abstract ideas if you did not have the appropriate vocabulary where we sometimes think in images and struggle to find the appropriate words. * While language may not determine though, it might be said to predispose it. Language and values * We use language to describe the world, to persuade and influence one another. Using language to influence and persuade * Emotionally laden language: Emotive meaning can be defined as "the aura of favorable feeling that hovers about a word". * Euphemism substitutes mild or neutral sounding words for a negative sounding one. * Weasel words: Words such as many, should, and probably that people slip into sentences to give themselves an escape route. * Grammar: Grammar can affect the way people see things. * Revealing and concealing: Language can be used not only to reveal certain aspects of reality, but also to conceal other aspects by diverting attention away from them. Each description carries with it a different set of connotations, but it is possible that they all refer to the same person. Language at war * Language is not innocent and can be used to manipulate the way we see things Language is power * The seductive eloquence of the use of language reminds us that language can be used not only to educate and enlighten, but also to fuel the flames of hatred. Conclusion * Language is not as simple or straightforward as we first thought. * Some people claim that in order to know something you must be able to put it into words. * Other people insist that some of our knowledge lies beyond words. * Mystics in all great world religions have held that the deepest truths cannot be expressed in language. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. TOK Paper. The dangers of stereotypes, comments on Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a ...

    Her roommate was surprised that she knew how to speak English, her family could afford food, and that she knew how to work the stove. In a fair sense, we are all victimized by stereotypes, but that doesn't stop us from creating them ourselves.

  2. TOK notes. The problem of knowledge There are three ...

    is nobody to see/hear/taste them since changes can be observed (If you leave a burning paper and come later, it will be burnt) The tables in the classroom - Do tables dance when nobody is around? It is improbable for such a thing to exist, therefore it is considered false, since it is impossible to prove.

  1. Rational Criticism - TOK

    When it comes to art, one can assess and rationally criticize it to a certain extent but beyond that, it really depends on how each individual perceives it. For example, in music, Beethoven's compositions cannot exactly be rationally clarified.

  2. ToK presentation

    The scientific facts presented before us may emphasize man's part in global warming and make us feel bad for polluting, however, it is still the most comforting idea because we have a chance (however small) to change the fate of our world.

  1. To understand something you need to rely on your own experience and culture. Does ...

    According to the post-modernist view, the objective truth could very well exist, detached from human society and values. The impossibility of the existence of objective knowledge and understanding comes from the fact that once the truth is absorbed into a knower, there is always a value or emotion added to the truth, hence making knowledge or understanding not perfectly objective.

  2. Tok vocabularies - defining terms like "Truth" and "Belief"

    There could be opposing facts but people tend to ignore those and only notice the fact that makes their argument stronger. From my personal experience, I do something similar. When writing reports, I tend to only write facts that would support my hypothesis and exclude information that oppose to my hypothesis.

  1. Justification, what distinguishes a good justification from a bad one?

    An example of a reliable source could be the New York Times, because I have been reading it for many years and can trust the information in it. A claim that turned out be true by luck does not qualify as knowledge.

  2. We want to investigate on whether the development of computer technology brings more positive ...

    Even worse, sometimes cookies may mistakably send your account information and passwords to the social networking system, which infringe our privacy on browsing websites. To avoid this happening, we should log off every time and delete the cookies. Once again, the tracking cookies of social networking sites show us that

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work