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, March 29, 2013

ToK Essay Prescribed Titles (November 2013): Question 5

“…Our knowledge is only a collection of scraps and fragments that we put together into a pleasing design, and often the discovery of one new fragment would cause us to alter utterly the whole design.” (Maurice Bishop)” To what extent is this true in History and one other Area of Knowledge?



Consider this oft quoted passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-15


Remember that from one perspective the Bible itself is a ‘collection of scraps and fragments’ woven together ‘into a pleasing design’ and to many millions it reflects the ‘whole design’ that God had in mind for every human being.

The various antitheses in the opening of Ecclesiastes are central to this design – they outline a pattern to our lives in every aspect of its physical and psychological manifestations.  The lines map out, in short, our destinies.  Now every individual will, of course, have a slightly different path than the one mentioned (not everyone will ‘rend’ and ‘sew’, for instance – unless you accept the metaphorical meaning of the words), but the essential idea is that we are each of us enmeshed in our own fate and thus our ultimate end (and thereby our beginning) is predetermined.

Philosophy students will raise all sorts of objections at this point, but let’s just suspend our disbelief and explore the possibilities of this position in terms of the KNOWLEDGE QUESTIONS it raises: to what extent can we know the predetermined outcomes of our actions?  How far can we discover a path that changes forever this predetermined path?

Theologians have elaborated numerous responses to questions like this and the upshot seems to be: our lives are a constant struggle to know God’s will for us and once we discover this, it will change our lives forever; the path won’t change, but our attitude will or should.  This explanation accounts for people’s conversion experiences to belief in God as well as radically confirming believers’ own faith and sense of moral obligation to the Will of God.

Not everyone is satisfied with this answer, but you can see how it’s pretty consistent within the Christian belief system as underlined by the passage.

Besides, it’s wonderful poetry...

And if you’re interested, read T.S Eliot’s Four Quartets which makes ample use of this passage and other biblical allusions.

Friday, March 15, 2013

ToK Essay Prescribed Titles (November 2013)

The new titles for November 2013 have ben published and are here for your information:

1. “In the natural sciences progress can be made, but in the arts this is not possible.” To what extent do you agree?


2. “Technology both enables us to produce knowledge and limits the knowledge that is produced.” Discuss with reference to two Areas of Knowledge.

3. “Every attempt to know the world rests on a set of assumptions that cannot be tested.” Examine this assertion in relation to two Areas of Knowledge.

4. “Knowledge gives us a sense of who we are.” To what extent is this true in the Human Sciences and one other Area of Knowledge?

5. “…Our knowledge is only a collection of scraps and fragments that we put together into a pleasing design, and often the discovery of one new fragment would cause us to alter utterly the whole design.” (Maurice Bishop)” To what extent is this true in History and one other Area of Knowledge?

6. “The methods used to produce knowledge depend on the use to which it will be put.” Discuss the statement in relation to two Areas of Knowledge.

Good luck and be sure to watch this space for guidance and ideas about how to shape your response!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Changes to TOK (Sept 2013)

New TOK Guide:

http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2013/02/24/upcoming-changes-in-ibs-theory-of-knowledge-guide/


Thank you to Mr Ferlazzo for drawing attention to this document outlining the new TOK Guide for students starting the IB in September 2013.

Apart from the additional WOKs and AOKs and the change in terminology from “KIs” to “KQs” or Knowledge Questions, you’ll see that the assessment criteria for the essay have also been streamlined.

The implications for students? All good, it appears.

Not only will you have a greater pool of ideas to draw on, but also the examiners of your essays will assess their ‘global impression’ of your work.

What does this mean?  They will have two fewer criteria to worry about when addressing the quality of your writing, opening up their minds to the overall ‘TOK quality’ of the essay based on the remaining two criteria.

Suffice it to say, the descriptors for each remaining criteria are fairly clear about what is meant by ‘TOK quality’ – there’s nothing fundamentally different in WHAT you have to write or HOW you have to write your essays.

Continue to focus on the main Q by exploring the related KQs and the arguments/counter arguments related to the AOKs you’re asked to study, making sure you build in relevant examples from those AOKs.

Read the posts on 'Notes layout and structure' to give you some guidance on best practice for TOK Essays & watch this space for further elucidations on the new concepts like KQs...