Theory of Knowledge 1. Course Description The Theory of Knowledge by theoryman


									Theory of Knowledge

1. Course Description

        The Theory of Knowledge program is central to the educational philosophy of the
International Baccalaureate. It challenges students to reflect on diverse ways of knowing
and areas of knowledge, and to consider the role which knowledge plays in a global
society. It encourages students to become aware of themselves as thinkers, to become
aware of the complexity of knowledge, and to recognize the need to act responsibly in an
increasingly interconnected world.

         As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into
different kinds of knowledge, the TOK program is composed almost entirely of
questions. The most central of these questions is “How do I, or how do we, know that a
given assertion is true, or a given statement is well grounded?” Assertions or judgments
of this sort are termed “knowledge claims,” while the difficulties that arise in addressing
these questions are known as “problems of knowledge” or “knowledge issues.” The
program entails the application of this central question to many, yet interrelated, topics.

       Questions are the very essence of TOK, both ageless questions on which thinkers
have been reflecting for centuries and new ones, often challenging to accepted belief,
which are posed by contemporary life. In engaging with students in a critical examination
of knowledge, it is hoped that an appreciation of the quest for knowledge, in particular its
importance, its complexities, and its human implications is fostered.

II. Course Objectives

Having followed the Theory of Knowledge course, the students should be able to:
   1. demonstrate an understanding of the strengths and limitations of the various Ways
      of Knowing and of the methods used in the different Areas of Knowledge.
   2. demonstrate a capacity to reason critically.
   3. make connections between and across Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge
   4. make connections between personal experience and different Ways of Knowing
      and Areas of Knowledge.
   5. demonstrate an understanding of knowledge at work in the world.
   6. identify values underlying judgments and knowledge claims pertinent to local and
      global issues
   7. demonstrate an understanding that personal views, judgments and beliefs may
      influence their knowledge claims and those of others
   8. use oral and written language to formulate and communicate ideas clearly.
Course Syllabus – Topic One – Knowers and Knowing

Nature of Knowing (15 hours)

      1 – Introduction to Theory of Knowledge
          What is meant by knowledge?

      2 - How do we know what we know – Overview of the ways of knowing and
           areas of knowledge.

       3 - Abstraction and Justification

       4 - Belief and Truth

       5 - Differences between information, data, belief, faith, opinion, knowledge and

Knowers and Sources of Knowledge (12 hours)

      6 – Distinguish between individual and community knowing

      7 – Knowledge sources – What is a knowledge claim?

      8 – Justification of knowledge claims – the influence of bias

      9 – Essays on selected topics – short presentation to class

Ways of Knowing (27 hours)

      10- Nature of Perception

      11- Limitations of Perception

      12- Nature and functions of Language

      13- Language and Knowledge, Language and Culture

      14- Reason

      15- Reason and Knowledge

      16- Logic

      17- Nature of Emotion

      18- Emotion and Knowledge
       19- Review and Assessment

Knowledge Issues (6 hours)

       20- Problems of Knowledge

       21- Issues

Areas of Knowledge – Mathematics (15 hours)

       22- Mathematics Defined

       23- Mathematics and Logic

       24- Mathematics and Reality

       25- Mathematics and Knowledge Claims

       26- Mathematics and Values

Areas of Knowledge – Nature of Science (24 hours)

       27- Darwin – Creationism vs. Evolution

       28- Skepticism and Religious Relativism

       29- Definition of the Natural Sciences

       30- The Scientific Method and other Methods of Gaining Knowledge

       31- Natural Science and Knowledge Claims

       32- Natural Sciences and Values

       33- Natural Sciences and Technology

       34- Natural Sciences: Metaphor and Reality

       35-36 – Linking Questions and Review

       37-38 – Assessment: Essay on a Prescribed Subject
Course Syllabus – Year 2

Area of Knowledge – The Human Sciences (16 hours)

       1 – Definition of the Human Sciences

       2 – Methods of Gaining Knowledge in the Human Sciences

       3 – Knowledge Claims and the Human Sciences

       4 – Human Sciences and Values

       5 – Problems of Knowledge in the Human Sciences

Area of Knowledge – History (15 hours)

       6 – Definition of History

       7 – Methods for Gaining Knowledge in History

       8 – Knowledge Claims and History

       9 - History and Values

       10- Historiography and Problems of Knowledge in History

Area of Knowledge – The Arts (15 hours)

       11- Definition of the Arts

       12- Methods of Gaining Knowledge in the Arts

       13- The Arts and Knowledge Claims

       14- The Arts and Values

       15- The Arts and Knowledge Perspectives


       16-18 Oral Presentations

       19 – External Assessment Due
Area of Knowledge – Ethics (21 hours)

       20- Definition of Ethics

       21- Methods of Gaining Knowledge and Ethics

       22- Knowledge Claims and Ethics

       23- Ethics and Values

       24- Moral Judgment

       25- Morality and the Relationship of Knowledge

       26- Ethics and Technology

       27- Ethics and Knowledge Perspectives

Topic – Political Judgment (6 hours)

       28-Nature of Political Judgments

       29- Role of Politics on Other Areas of Knowledge

       30 – 32 Internal Assessment : Essay on a Prescribed Topic

Topic - What can be Known? (12 hours)

       33 – Value of Knowledge

       34- Verification of Knowledge

       35- Limitations of Knowledge

       36- Why Should Knowledge be Attained?

       37-38 Review and Final Exam

Course Materials: Handouts, additional topic-specific books (DaVinci Code, Sophie’s
World, The Tao of Pooh, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, A History of
Almost Everything, The Secret, etc.) Videos ( Matrix trilogy, etc) Discussion

Text ; Theory Of Knowledge for the IB Diploma , van de Lagemaat
Persons and Their World , Olen, Jeffrey
Man is the Measure , Abel, Reuben
Introduction to Logic , Cohen, Copi

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