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ToK - What the heck are Knowledge Claims and Knowledge Issues

Get in time with the beat of the ToK Presentation and Essay assessment heart

George McCombe

on 24 February 2011

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Transcript of ToK - What the heck are Knowledge Claims and Knowledge Issues

What the heck are Knowledge Issues and Knowledge Claims? KCs and KIs are the at the heart of having effective ToK presentations and essays! Yes, that means pass grades and the more elaborately they are explained with YOUR real life examples along with proofs from WOKs and AOKs, the higher you will fly! There is not much point talking about KNOWERS, WOKS or AOKs without clarifying what the hell is KNOWLEDGE itself is! Remember KNOWLEDGE is a ToK term! The CHIEF one. In relation to ASSESSMENT - if you can EXPLAIN the concept without using the term, you will do better than if you use the term without showing you understand it! These terms form an essential vocabulary for doing ToK - they stand for the key CONCEPTS of ToK. These key CONCEPTS can often be explained using more simple words. This will be ESSENTIAL in your assessment tasks! That is, you can make clear what these key terms mean, rather than JUST throw in the "big/key words" without explanation. Like other ToK-related terms,"knowledge" marks a contestable concept. People disagree what counts as knowledge, and how it relates to other concepts such as BELIEF, OPINION, INFORMATION and so on. In your assessment tasks, where appropriate, you must make clear and defend the particular meaning you will give to such KEY TERMS. For example, you could contrast those who claim "only beliefs that are true count as knowledge" with those who think "k is what fits in with my other knowledge". Impossible to give exact list of all the ToK-related terms. Can't discuss every word you use, every time! However, you must be be careful with the terms the are central to your ARGUMENT. Already used quite a few of them, such as BELIEF, CULTURE, EXPERIENCE, INTUITION, TRUTH, VALUES. Often in essay titles, and can be essential to the development of the presentation. Beware of relying on DICTIONARY definitions for their meaning. Dictionaries merely point point towards the meaning, for those that are unfamilar with the word. ToK-related terms are contestable! Their meaning is subject to much disagreement, and so is not obvious! A dictionary can't capture them. Make clear what you take the term to mean, justify your decision and stick to it! Don't slide between different accounts of them, e.g. from truth as "what matches the world", to truth as "what everyone believes". When you do consider other possible meanings of them, indicate this clearly by using phrases such as.... "on the other hand" or "an alternative view is..." ToK-related terms and concepts Finally, what are KI? Despite NOT appearing on the ToK diagram, it is the key term, you need to UNDERSTAND in order to do well in the ASSESSMENT tasks - WHICH ARE? It appears in 3 of the 4 Ass criteria for the presentation and the essay. KIs arise from KCs. We all make KCs, every time we claim to know something. There are many types, : eg, they may be specific or general, concrete or abstract, explicit or implicit. Let's use some specific explicit claims as examples:
"Tokyo is in Japan."

" I know how to prepare almonds so they are not poisionous."

Or they may act on implicit(unspoken) knowledge:
"By apllying for a Japanese visa they book the Tokyo flight" or
"By preparing the family an almond meal."

More general example, KCs can be widely accepted such as a:
"force of attraction exists between any two material objects"
Or very contentious, such as
"Modern art is more meaningful than Renaissance art."
A KI is an enquiry that arises from WONDERING about the status of one of our KCs .
It often arises from a Qtn that could start with:
"How can we know...?" When you are trying to write about the KI that is going to form the cente of your ESSAY or PRESENTATION, the senior ToK Examiners have given advice, They say that a:
"Good KI for assessment purposes will be an open-ended question that is explicitly about Knowledge itself, and is written to raise the relationships between the K and other ToK terms. Any KC may give rise to many KIs. Remember KIs can be reworded to start "How can we know...?" This can be a good test of whether your issue is a knowledge issue or not. How would you rephrase three 3 of the KIs in the table opposite? Bibliography:
'Theory of Knowledge' by Tim Sproad & Antonia Melvin
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