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Theory of Knowledge (ToK)

Taking ToK has really changed my perspectives in both life and my other subjects.

Amy, studying the IB @ BGS

amy in year 13 explains

Theory of knowledge is one of the core, compulsory aspects of the IB, however, I am sure many of you have no clue what it is.  ToK is not a ‘regular subject’ that could have been studied before, but it is actually something which is much broader than you will have ever studied before.  

ToK pretty much does what it says on the tin, you learn the theory behind the knowledge we gain in a wide variety of disciplines.  The key aspects that are looked at are the areas of knowledge, and the ways of knowing that help us to develop these areas.  For example an area of knowledge could be natural sciences with the ways of knowing being imagination (coming up with new concepts), intuition (assessing why certain things work how they do) and reason (logically thinking through a process that currently has no clear explanation).  Within the lessons you will debate both sides of an argument, usually through discussions with the class, to truly assess how we gain knowledge and how effective/reliable these methods are. 

ToK is not assessed by exams like many of the ‘regular subjects’.  Instead, you will complete an essay on one of the questions given by the IB. 

Some examples of these questions are: ‘the knower’s perspective is essential in the pursuit of knowledge’ or ‘to what extent do the concepts we use shape our conclusions?’  You will also complete a presentation in which you look at the knowledge issues within a recent news event.