Categotry Archives: Theories of Knowlegde (TOK)


An Unserious TOK Presentation

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Categories: Reflections, Theories of Knowlegde (TOK)

In the fourth week of March, I presented- No we, Shanaya and me, presented a ToK presentation about values of art. In our presentation, our real life situation is an art auction held online on the websites: Christie’s and Sotheby’s, where two of the ten highest value of art is sold. Through this real life situation, we generated a knowledge question:

“To what extent do emotion and reason play a role in determining the value of art?”

What went well:

I think that we chose a relevant topic that is eligible to expand in terms of Theories of Knowledge. We also chose two different areas from each Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge, and I think that we explained this bits relatively well. Finally, we also added related similar real life situation in the end that could somehow connect with our initial real life situation, as well as the concepts of WoK and AoK that we explained during the presentation.

What didn’t really went well:

I think that our presentation isn’t actually “ToK”-enough. During the process of making our presentation, we kept changing our Knowledge Question, thus it constantly alters the focus of our presentation. And since time runs out, eventually, I feel that our presentation ended up not well focused and does not answer our question really well. Also, it is true that we chose two WoKs and AoKs and explained it during the presentation, however, we are suppose to provide arguments and perspectives relating to our real life situation.

What could we do differently?

Based on the factors that we didn’t do well, I think that choosing a firm knowledge question is the most important step that needs to be done before starting on anything else. I have to make sure that the knowledge question chosen is a good ToK knowledge question, and then I can proceed in researching and so on. Then, several arguments from different perspective, preferably more than one of them, should be included in the presentation. By doing so, these arguments and perspective will be the supporting detail and the guide to construct the answer to a knowledge question.


Questioning the Questioner with a Question: Tedx @BSJ

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Categories: Theories of Knowlegde (TOK)

Last Tuesday, 22nd of November; the whole year 12 students (grade 11) sat down to listen original Tedx Talks by our seniors, year 13 (grade 12) students. These Tedx talks are recorded and uploaded live on a youtube channel, most of them talking about existing issues in the world, specifically in Indonesia, and linking it to a CAS project of theirs.

A talk by Christopher Carr

“All knowledge is copyrighted. It is not your original idea” 

This was the opening sentence of Chris’ talk, as accurate as I remembered. Personally, I thought about something similar before. Why do I end up sitting in a chemistry lesson for two good years learning materials like 6.02 × 1023 is a mole? Why are we required to “learn” these set of “knowledge”? Why do we learn bonding of elements or titration; instead of other knowledges like, what are taxes and how do we pay them? Perhaps this knowledge could be more helpful in the near future? Then again,

Who am I to decide which knowledge should children learn in schools?

But wait, then who decides on the subjects we learned in schools at the first place; what rights does he/she have to do so?

What are these knowledge anyway, and where do they come from?

In Chris’ TED talk, a specific Area of Knowledge is applied: Ethics. He questions about knowledge, and that none of the human beings on earth “owns” knowledge; it is copyrighted. According to TOKish wikispace, Ethics is defined as

“Ethics involves a discussion of the way we ought to live our lives, the distinctions between right and wrong, the justification of moral judgments, and the implications of moral actions for the individual and the group.”

He then talks about everything that we’ve told (knowledge) has always been lies. For example, we know the famous phrase “All children should have access to education”. He explained how this statement is a lie, because this concept never actually existed until someone point that out and “applied” this “knowledge” to us; but in fact, we all believed in it for no reason at all, because we have the ethics to judge. An example to support Chris’ statement is, children who doesn’t have birth certificate doesn’t have the prove that they existed; so how does these children deserve education if they don’t even have their prove that they existed? Therefore his CAS project: Cyber Shanty gave children birth certificates and also teaches them how to use the internet (each of them owned an email address, which is another prove to the world that they existed).

The two Ways of Knowledge applied in his talk is Faith and Intuition. In, it is provided the definition of faith and intuition:

Faith – complete trust or confidence in someone or something: this restores one’s faith in politicians; 2strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof: bereaved people who have shown supreme faith, a particular religion: the Christian faith, a strongly held belief: men with strong political faiths

Intuition – the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning: we shall allow our intuition to guide us, a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning: your insights and intuitions as a native speaker are positively sought

As explained above, Chris mention about this specific phrase “All children should have access to education”. The fact that a lot of us, or maybe, most of us trusted this statement, we have faith to believe this person whoever claimed this “knowledge”. Without this trust, we wouldn’t be using or believing this statement at all. Especially when whoever said and claimed this phrase also didn’t have any prove to support himself; however we instinctively know that his statement is correct. We just simply believe that  every children needs education because we just “feel” that it is the right thing to do. Why are we believing things in the first place? Is it the convincing prove/truth? But what is truth and how do we know if its truth?

How is this happening? Since when do we humans start to claim/create/invent knowledge?

What are our powers?


Knowledge, what?

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Categories: Others, Theories of Knowlegde (TOK)

What is a knowledge claim?

“A knowledge claim is something that the claimant believes to be true, yet is also open to discussion and debate. It is therefore important that a knowledge claim is something that we believe we know and that we want to assess the validity of”

– Quoted from Scott Langston’s edublog

How do we obtain knowledge?

  • Shared knowledge
    A knowledge that is passed, shared, explained; from an individual to another individual.
    E.g. Your mom thaught you about how to wash dishes.
  • Personal knowledge
    A knowledge that you obtained by experiencing/witnessing something.
    E.e You went to the amusement park together with your friends for the first time. You had so much fun and concluded that amusement parks are fun.

Fixed (maybe) knowledge and flexible knowledge

In biology, we call out throat the “oesophagus”. Oesophagus moves (swallows) the food we injest from our mouth by the movement of muscles called “peristalsis”. How do we know that out throat does this? Because scientist from the past had conducted experiments and observations on us, humans, when we swallow food. Then, scientists concluded a knowledge claim that our throat helps us swallow food with muscles. This is a fixed knowledge because swallowing happens to all of us humans, and we are thaught about this in class by shared knowledge from our teachers.

In arts, things are more flexible. My knowledge in painting and your knowledge in painting is completely different. Maybe he could paint realisticly whilst he could only do illustrations of cartoons. So which one is true? Which one is the “real” art? There is no right answer in art because more personal knowledge is incolced in this particular area. Everyone can create their own art and anyone can judge or appreciate which masterpieces are considered art.

Art by Steve Caldwell                                            Character Concept by Paul Kwon

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