Precepts to use in everyday life

1. Think for yourself, 2. Be yourself, 3. Speak up, 4. Feel free to agree and disagree, 5. Be honest with yourself and others, 6. Be open-minded, 7. Avoid being judgmental and 8. Question everything - even your own thinking.

TOK Essay Titles May 2018

Friday, November 28, 2008

Notes on Structure and Layout

The TOK Essay: How to construct the main body of your essay

Each paragraph will focus on ONE of the approaches/perspectives that you specified in your introduction.

So let's take the question: "For some people science is the supreme form of all knowledge. Is this view reasonable or does it involve a misunderstanding of science or of knowledge?"

Each paragraph should reflect the following thought-process:

Step 1: offer an argument that explores one or more of your KIs and give an example to support the argument.

For example:
"Scientific knowledge is derived from the use of a specific, rigorous method that involves inductive logic. For example, if I observe that water always boils at 100"C when I am cooking, I assume that this will always be the case (induction)."

Step 2: suggest a counter-argument or problem that sees the situation from another perspective. Again, provide an example to support your counter-argument.

For example:
"However, if I were to boil water in Denver, Colorado, a location 1.6 km above sea level, I would discover that the water now boils at 94°C, as the pressure on the liquid is reduced. As we can see, the inductive component of the scientific method can sometimes lead to an incorrect hypothesis."

Step 3: put forward a possible solution to the problem raised by the counter-argument.

For example:
"...even if a scientific theory has been rigorously tested one million times there is always the possibility that an exception will be found, and hence the theory falsified. Karl Popper acknowledged this problem and suggested that a hypothetical deductive method should be used, whereby false hypotheses are discarded through trials and disproof."

Step 4: try to evaluate the argument and counter-argument - that is, decide which point of view is it reasonable to believe.

For example:
"This means we cannot prove a theory is correct; we can only prove that a hypothesis is false. Thus we can never know that a scientific theory is 'true'."

Keep following this process throughout each paragraph you write, tailoring your arguments and counter-arguments to the approaches or perspectives you have chosen.

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