Theory of Knowledge

The Theory of Knowledge course encourages students to develop an approach to learning that goes beyond the traditional areas of academics and encourages appreciation of other cultural perspectives.

One of its key goals is to spark critical thinking about knowledge itself and aim to help students make sense of the knowledge that they encounter.

A few of the main questions developed in the course are the following.

  • What counts as knowledge?
  • How does it grow?
  • What are its limits?
  • Who owns knowledge?
  • What is the value of knowledge
  • What are the implications of having, or not having, knowledge?

Theory of knowledge activities and discussions aim to help students discover and express their views on knowledge issues. The course encourages students to share ideas with others, listen to and learn from what others think.

Theory of Knowledge Essay Prescribed Titles for May 2018

As part of the Theory of Knowledge requirement, IB Diploma students have to write a 1,600-word essay on one of the following topics while incorporating knowledge and critical thinking acquired from the Theory of Knowledge Course.

1. “The fields of study of academic disciplines can overlap, but adopting interdisciplinary approaches to the production of knowledge leads only to confusion.” Discuss this claim.

2. “We know with confidence only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases” (adapted from JW von Goethe). Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

3. “Without the assumption of the existence of uniformities there can be no knowledge.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.

4. “Suspension of disbelief” is an essential feature of theatre. Is it essential in other areas of knowledge? Develop your answer with reference to two areas of knowledge.

5. “The quality of knowledge produced by an academic discipline is directly proportional to the duration of historical development of that discipline.” Explore this claim with reference to two disciplines.

6. “Robust knowledge requires both consensus and disagreement.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.