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Knowledge issues, Knowers and Knowing

The goal of our first unit will be to explore the center of the TOK diagram, the Knower. Someone you can all identify, the Knower attempts to gather, decipher, categorize knowledge to better understand the world around him or her. For more information on the nature of knowledge and this elusive prey, the "knowledge issue", see this excerpt from the TOK subject guide: Knowledge and Knowledge Questions

 

 

Essential Questions

  1. What defines knowledge? (The Nature of Knowing)

    1. How do “believing that” and “believing in” differ?

    2. How does belief differ from knowledge?

    3. What are the differences between the following: information, data, belief, faith, opinion, knowledge and wisdom

    4. In English, there is one word “know”, while French and Spanish, for example, each have two (savoir/connaître and saber/conocer). In what ways do various languages classify the concepts associated with “to know”? 

    5. In English, French, Spanish or Chinese, for example, what is the relationship between the different ways of expressing “know”: “they know of it”, “they know about it”, “they really know it”, “they know that person”, “they know that this is so”, “they know how to do it”? Are there other ways of using the verb “to know”? 

  2. Who is the Knower? (Knowers and Knowledge Communities)

    1. What role does personal experience play in the formation of knowledge claims?

    2. To what extent does personal or ideological bias influence our knowledge claims?

    3. “Whoever acquires knowledge and does not practice it resembles him who plows his land and leaves it unsown.” (Sa’di) Are there responsibilities that necessarily come with knowing something or knowing how to do something? To whom might these responsibilities be owed?

    4. In the TOK diagram, the center is represented as both an individual and a group. To what extent can we distinguish between knowing as an individual and knowing as a group or community enterprise?

    5. How much of one’s knowledge depends on interaction with other knowers?

    6. Are there types of knowledge that are specifically linked to particular communities of knowers?

    7. To what extent can we act individually in creating new knowledge? What are the strengths of working in a knowledge community? What are the dangers?

  3. So where does our knowledge come from? (Sources of Knowledge)

    1. How is knowledge gained?

    2. What are the sources?

    3. To what extent might these vary according to age, education or cultural background? 

    4. Does knowledge come from inside or outside? Do we construct reality or do we recognize it? 

    5. In what sense, if any, can a machine be said to know something? How can anyone believe that a machine can think? 

    6. When a machine gives an instruction to press a certain button to make it work, where is that knowledge or awareness located? Does technology allow some knowledge to reside outside the human knower? Is knowledge even a “thing” that resides somewhere? 

  4. What is the difference between "I know" and "we know"? (Personal vs. Shared Knowledge)

    1. Is it really possible to have knowledge of a culture in which we have not been raised?

    2. Are those outside a particular religious tradition really capable of understanding its key ideas?

    3. Does there exist a neutral position from which to make judgments about competing claims from different groups with different traditions and different interests?

    4. To what extent are our familiar areas of knowledge embedded in a particular tradition or to what extent might they be bound to a particular culture?

    5. Presented with the belief system of a community of knowers, how can we decide what we personally believe? How can we decide which beliefs we ought to check further? In the end, does it just amount to a question of trust? If so, how can we decide whom to trust, and on which issues?

  5. How reliable are the knowledge claims we make?

    1. How much of the "knowledge" that we have is objective (reliable regardless of the knower) and how much is subjective (reliability depends on the knower)?

    2. How much of our knowledge is universal (reliable everywhere) and how much is relative?​​​

Assessments

Knowledge Question Assignment

Global Impression Rubric for Writing in ToK(used to asses above assignment)

Lesson 1

 What defines knowledge? (The Nature of Knowing)
Learning Community Agreements and How to be a Successful TOK Student

Develop Classroom Expectations and Review Guide to being a "Successful" TOK Student and Introduction to Socratic Discussions 

 

Ground rules for participation in ToK discussions

(similar to the skills

outlined in the above link)

can be found on this pdf file:

An exercise in

practicing ground

rules for ToK

discussions:

Can you Spot

the TOK

Question?

Create a List of 10 "I know ..........." Statements

Examples

How well do you know what you say you know?
Download and complete the chart

 

Class Discussion- "What is the difference between I believe and I know?" ​

Lesson 2

The Knower and Knowledge Communities

                           "Who am I and how I do I know who I am?"

 

Car Self Diagnostic:

"Does knowledge come from inside or outside? Do we construct reality or do we recognize it?"
Map the Communities that you belong to.

 

Download of Handout:

Example of a Defining Knowledge Community: Meet the Hitlers Trailer

Class Discussion:
To what extent are we defined by the knowledge communities we belong to?
How much of one’s knowledge depends on interaction with other knowers?
Are there types of knowledge that are specifically linked to particular communities of knowers?
To what extent can we act individually in creating new knowledge? What are the strengths of working in a knowledge community? What are the dangers?

Personal vs. Shared Knowledge

My Knowledge Venn Diagrams

Optional Video Support for Class Discussion: Am I Normal: Spirituality(On DCS Files-TOK Videos)
Class Discussion:
How does the balance between personal and shared knowledge impact the reliability of our knowledge claims?

Lesson 3

Reliability of Knowledge Claims

  Justified True Belief Revisited-Soycrates-Edmund Gettier(Original                                                            Post)

Home work Assignment: 

Readings on sources of knowledge:

(This is a great resource for the different types of Knowledge Claims)


Plato and Aristotle on Authority of Government


Discuss Universal vs. Relative and Objective vs. Subjective Knowledge Claims


Discussion activity:

Example of Is Seeing Believing? Dutch Girls Trip to SE Asia

How much of our knowledge is universal (reliable everywhere) and how much is relative?

Lesson 4

Socratic Discussion on Knowledge

Introduce Socratic Discussion on Knowledge Task

 

 

Socratic Discussion on Knowledge (Double Ring Discussion)

Lesson 5
Lesson 6
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