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Theory of Knowledge across the IB Curriculum

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caroline ghali

on 13 August 2014

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Transcript of Theory of Knowledge across the IB Curriculum

Theory of Knowledge across the IB Curriculum
The Arts
Religious Knowledge
Indigenous Knowledge
Human Sciences
Natural Sciences
What role do statistics play in history?
How important is beauty
in Mathematics?

If mathematics is a language, it is clearly different from natural languages. In your experience, do we learn the two differently?
What is the
between music
and mathematics?

Are basic ethical truths
as certain as
mathematical truths?
Do mathematical truths exist ‘in the mind of God’?
To what extent can information
in the human sciences be quantified?

How can we quantify values
such as aesthetic value, which are inherently qualitative?

Arguably, while some aspects of geography can be measured, others cannot. Is this the case? What is it about a quality that means it cannot be quantified?
Is the book of nature written
in the language of mathematics?

What are the difficulties in
assessing the chance of two
individuals having the same DNA profile?

Are oxidation
numbers “real”?

Can history be considered in any sense “scientific”?
Is hybridization
a real process
or a mathematical
Should scientists know about the
History of their subjects?
Is a special standard required for
claims about events in the past
to be scientific?
Does the study of history widen our
knowledge of human nature?
Should historians make moral
judgements about the past?

Does history show that we have made moral progress?
How do values underlie
the pursuit of truth?

How is History similar to fiction? How is it different?
How much can we learn
about the past from the
history of art?
What role does genre play? Do satirical comedy and history writing – as styles of presenting the world – offer incompatible or complementary truths?
Why has some music been feared by the political establishment?
What role has religion played in shaping history?
In what ways does religious knowledge build on knowledge established in the past?
In looking at cultures of the past is it more important to seek what we have in common or how we are different?
Does a culture's influence beyond its cultural boundaries help or hinder the process of understanding that culture, and other cultures that adopt its influence?
Are the findings of the natural
sciences as reliable as those of
the human sciences?
To what extent are the methods
of the natural sciences applicable
in the human sciences?
Do knowledge claims in the
human sciences imply
ethical responsibilities?

To what extent is economics value-free?
To what extent should ideas
of fairness and justice inform
economic thinking?

In what sense are we morally
obliged to pay taxes?

To what extent is government morally obliged to provide healthcare and welfare benefits to the unemployed?
How far should utilitarianism
be applied when planning
a new system?
How do ethical factors affect
experiments in human sciences?
Noam Chomsky has written, “ … we will always learn more about human life and human personality from novels than from scientific psychology.” Would you agree?
How does literature help us understand human nature?
It has been said that there is a difference between the condition of humans and the human condition, and that the sciences can tell us about the former, but we need the arts to tell us about the latter. Would you agree?
Can the mind survive
without the body,
as most religions teach?

What individual and social factors have pushed the development of religion in particular directions?
How do individuals contribute to, and gain from, the shared knowledge of religion?
Are economic theories
independent of culture?

Does the term
“economic development”
mean different things in
different cultures?
To what extent is the creation of an elegant protocol similar to the creation of a work of art?
What role does creative
imagination play in the sciences?

What is the difference
between living and
non-living things?
Do other organisms have a
right to moral consideration?
How is this justified?
What are the moral
responsibilities of
What constitutes an acceptable
level of risk?
How similar is ‘faith in the order
of the universe’ to religious faith?
How does the social context of
scientific work affect the methods
and findings of research?
Why is there often such a strong connection
between indigenous knowledge and cosmology?
What is the function of music? Is this the same throughout the world, time and place?
To what extent does music reflect the values, beliefs and attitudes of the time and place in which it is made?
To what extent can the music of one culture be understood by others?
To what extent does the fact that early literature on indigenous knowledge systems was written from a non-indigenous perspective affect its credibility?
How are ethics involved
in the study of film?
To what extent does an artist have a
moral obligation to avoid or confront
controversial issues that might shock
or be contrary to those of the
common populace?
How important is the study of
literature in individual/ethical
Sense Perception
To what extent should one rely on evidence from primary sources?
To what extent does emotion play a role in an historian’s analysis? Is (historical) objectivity possible?

Why do accounts of the same historical event differ? Whose history do we study?

How reliable is eye-witness testimony?

What determines how historians select evidence and describe/interpret or analyse events?
What problems are posed for the study of history by changes in language and culture over time?

How may the language used in the descriptions of aspects of the past change the way they are interpreted?

Sense Perception
How accurate is a visual representation of a mathematical concept?

If we attach a camera or microphone to a computer, it can receive data from the world. Does this mean that a computer can “perceive the world”? To what extent might human perception be a similar process?

To what extent does computational thinking challenge conventional concepts of reasoning?

Was Akio Morita correct when he claimed that “You can be totally rational with a machine. But if you work with people, sometimes logic has to take a back seat to understanding”?
Are logarithms an
invention or
a discovery?
Is mathematical
intuition a form of proof?
Can gambling be considered an application of mathematics?

Can a machine ever feel an emotion?
Is mathematics a formal language?

How does a computer language differ from a natural language?

Does binary represent an example of a lingua franca?
Sense Perception
To what extent does observing human beings affect their behaviour?

To what extent do maps reflect reality?

What are the limitations of the use of diagrams and charts in economics?

How does the role of instrumentation circumvent the limitations of perception?

Does psychological research ever prove anything? Why do we say that results only indicate or suggest?

What are the roles played by abstract reasoning and concrete evidence in constructing economic theory?

What is meant by “rationality” in economics? Are there different types of “economic rationality”?

What is the empirical evidence for the existence of the business cycle? How do we decide whether this evidence is sufficient?

To what extent can intuition be a legitimate way of knowing in the human sciences?
Can questions be written in a neutral language?

Is economic growth always beneficial? What could be meant by the word “beneficial”?

How does the language affect our understanding of the concepts?

How can a balanced diet be defined?

What is the role of creativity in economics?
To what extent can empathy and feeling be legitimate ways of knowing in the human sciences?

What is the role of emotion in economics?
How does human memory differ from computer memory?
Sense Perception
Is there any distinction to be drawn between knowledge claims dependent upon observations made directly with the senses and knowledge claims dependent upon observations assisted by technology?

To what extent are we dependent upon technology to “know” the biological world?

How far do expectations influence our observations?

Why are graphs helpful in providing powerful interpretations of reality?

What role does sense perception play in feelings of illness and health?

Is there logic to scientific/technological discovery?

The evidence about the benefits of warm-up and warm-down routines for athletes is questionable. Why are athletes willing to believe what they are told?

What part does serendipity play in scientific discoveries?

What role does intuition play in feelings of illness and health?
To what extent do the labels and categories used in the pursuit of knowledge affect the knowledge we obtain?

What role do metaphors play in science?

When are these symbols necessary in aiding understanding and when are they redundant?

How is the language of chemistry used as a tool to classify and distinguish between different structures?

What role does imagination play in the sciences?

What role do the less rational ways of knowing play in the acquisition of scientific knowledge?

What role does emotion play in feelings of illness and health?

Can biology be used to explain our emotions?

Sense Perception
To what extent do the arts help us to see the world with new eyes?

What constitutes good evidence within the study of literature?

What role does reason play in the arts?

Is art simply an imitation of an idea?

Is it important for artworks to be original? Why?

What role does emotion play in the arts?

How can music evoke an emotional response from the listener? Is this a way of knowing?

Is art the language of emotion?

Is it possible for artistic expression in visual arts to take the place of words?
Sense Perception
How important is consistency in moral reasoning?

How can I assess the truth claims of different knowledge pursuits?
Is ethics more of a matter of the head or the heart?

To what extent is our perception of things coloured by values?
Is language value-laden?

Is faith irrational?

Can you think of any evidence which would convince you that God does not exist?

What is the value of thinking about questions to which there are no definite answers?

How do we decide between the competing claims of different religious knowledge systems?

What is the difference between religious feelings, religious beliefs and religious faith?
What is the role of language in religious knowledge?

In what ways are the naming and defining of central concepts significant?

Are there any difficulties in using human language to describe the divine?

Sense Perception
How does sense perception play a fundamental role in the acquisition of knowledge in indigenous knowledge systems?

To what extent does the learning environment (the physical setting) have an impact on the way an additional language is acquired?

If you were to learn a language from a textbook only, how would this differ from learning through interaction only?

How is perception encoded differently in different languages (for example, colour, orientation)? What does this tell us about the relationships between perception, culture, reality and truth?

How reliable are “oral traditions” in preserving cultural heritage in indigenous knowledge systems?

What is lost in translation from one language to another? Why?

Do we know and learn our first language(s) in the same way as we learn additional languages?

When we learn an additional language, do we learn more than “just” vocabulary and grammar?

We can learn grammar intuitively, without conscious thought, or formally, by stating rules. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach?
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