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 Nov 2020

Friday, November 25, 2011

TOK Websites

There are two sites you should be following avidly (one of them especially if you're based in the UK):


This is the Radio 4 Podcast website which has recordings of some of the best archive material on science and nature, as well as philosophy, politics, arts, history, ethics and mathematics.  In fact, every AOK relevant to your TOK essay and presentation research.  The podcasts last from anything between 15 - 45 minutes.  The recent one we followed was a fascinating journey into the history of the brain...


If you've been following the toktutor tweets above, another great tweet to follow is 'TOKtweet' as it gives you up to the minute links to web articles on all aspects of TOK and is authored by no less a figure than the writer Richard Lagemaat.  Superb for TOK essay and presentation research.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Natural Sciences and Human Sciences

Following on from the precautionary tale of the last post, here’s another approach to the skeptical tradition of thinking about knowledge claims, especially against those made about paranormal events, aliens, miracles and pseudo-scientific theories:

‘Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’ (Carl Sagan)

A popularized version of:

‘An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof’ (Marcello Truzzi)

These statements originate in:

1/ the thinking of the Scottish Philosopher David Hume: “A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence” and

2/ the thinking of the French Mathematician Pierre Laplace: “The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.”

See a religious examination of the statement here:

and a medical (not literally, but philosophical!) examination here:

and a skeptic’s examination here:

Which one do you find most compelling and why?

Some knowledge issues relating to this approach: How far is the skeptical approach to knowledge a practical one? To what extent does a skeptical approach take us nearer to objective knowledge? In what ways does a skeptical approach help or hinder the search for knowledge? Is skepticism about miracles/aliens (or any other extraordinary claim) justified?