How do beliefs about the world, and beliefs about what is valuable, influence the pursuit of knowledge?

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20 Diploma Programme Theory of Knowledge Teacher Support Material: Assessment Exemplars, November 2002

Essay 4

How do beliefs about the world, and beliefs about what is valuable, influence the pursuit of



If you ask a person from anywhere in the world what he or she values most there is a good chance

that the answer will be “my family”. In some places it might seem like the most obvious answer

while in others it might be the answer given to please rather than a honest and real answer.

Wouldn’t our world look much different if the answer turned out to be true? Then people wouldn’t

have to write books to hang out their evil parents, there would be no more families broken up


because of financial successes or failures, but then again everyone’s idea of the perfect family

probably is not the same. While I would consider perfection to be a place where family members

show each other respect and consideration while getting along, a Muslim father in a traditional

setting may worry about family pride and liaisons between children and future spouses. In the end,

how does it influence their pursuit of knowledge?


“A successful sumo (Japanese wrestler) is well fed, well paid, and is showered with gifts from his

fans. He lives and trains in a stable with other wrestlers where teenage apprentices cook for him,

do his laundry-and even wipe his bottom if he is too fat to reach it himself. When he wants to get

married he has little trouble finding a bride-often among Japan’s top models or actresses. Luckily

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for his new wife, he will lose weight after retiring (usually in his early 30s). By that time, he may


be able to perform his toilet duties alone.” (COLORS October-November 1999 issue, pg. 14) In

Japan it is considered high status to be a sumo. How does different ideals and role models

influence the pursuit of knowledge? Having traditional roles such as sumo wrestlers or geishas in

Japan as a few examples, influences knowledge of the people because the roles dictate what you

know and how you should act in certain situations. Geishas ...

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