ToK Prescribed Essay Titles (May 2015)

Instructions to candidates

Your theory of knowledge essay for examination must be submitted to your teacher for authentication. It must be written on one of the six titles (questions) provided overleaf. You may choose any title, but are recommended to consult with your teacher. Your essay will be marked according to the assessment criteria published in the Theory of Knowledge guide. The focus of your essays should be on knowledge questions. Where appropriate, refer to other parts of your IB programme and to your experiences as a knower. Always justify your statements and provide relevant examples to illustrate your arguments. Pay attention to the implications of your arguments, and remember to consider what can be said against them. If you use external sources, cite them according to a recognized convention.

Note that statements in quotations in these titles are not necessarily authentic: they present a real point of view but may not be direct quotes. It is appropriate to analyse them but it is unnecessary,even unwise, to spend time on researching a context for them.

Examiners mark essays against the title as set. Respond to the title exactly as given; do not alter it in any way.

Your essay must have a maximum of 1600 words, it must be double spaced and typed in size 12 font.

1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.


2. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?


3. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?


4. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.


5. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?


6. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?



TOK Class Schedule 2014/15

Theory Of Knowledge Schedule 2014-15

Mr. Ferlazzo’s Email Address:


You must have a binder that is kept up to date and divided into the different Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge.  You should keep separate “Warm-Up” sheets for each of them, too.   I will periodically check binders.

Read assigned chapters.  For each one, write what you think are the three most important points and why you think they are important (two sentences for each one is sufficient), two short key quotes and at least a sentence explaining why you chose each one, and two questions you have.  In addition, you must choose one “linking question” at the end of each chapter and write an “ABC” paragraph responding to it.  “A” means answer the question; “B” means back it up with at least one piece of evidence from the chapter; “C” means make a comment/connection — share an informed opinion based on what you learned from the chapter and connect it to something else you know from something you read or experienced.  Homework will be shared in class.  Most of this will be done between September and January, and then the focus during the second semester will be the group presentation and essay.

Occasional assignments on TOK Class Blog (

Group TOK Presentation – It will be videotaped. Substantial time in class will be provided to prepare, but outside time will also be needed.  Your grade on this group presentation will be one of the two primary components of your official grade from IB.  You may make two group presentations on two different topics .  The one with the higher grade will count.

TOK Essay – At least one essay where substantial time in class will be provided (assuming we can get access to computer lab), but outside time will also be needed.

If you are an IB Diploma candidate or are seeking an IB TOK Certificate, you will also have to write a TOK essay in the fall of 2015 during your senior year that will be submitted to IB and will comprise the second component of your official IB grade (the Group Presentation will be the other portion).

This schedule is subject to change in consultation with the class.


  • Introduction to TOK
  • The Problem and Nature Of Knowledge, p. 3-40 — two chapters (homework due 9/15)
  • CAS Plan developed
  • Knowledge Issues
  • Allegory of the Cave
  • Perception p. 88 -105 (homework due 9/22) – also, do the assignment on the blog titled “Why Do People Believe What They See?” by the same date.



  • Language p. 47-79 (homework due October 6th)
  • Reason and Logic  p. 111-141 (homework due Oct. 13th)
  • Emotions p. 145-169 (homework due Oct. 20th)
  • Imagination, Faith, Intuition & Memory (no homework)



  • Math p. 187-213 (homework due November 3rd)
  • The Arts p.328- 356 (homework due Nov. 10th)
  • CAS Review
  • History p. 300-322 (homework due Nov. 17th)



  • Ethics p. 363-396 (homework due Dec. 8th)
  • Natural Sciences p. 220-250 (homework due December 15th)




  • Human Sciences p. 256-288 (homework due January 12th)
  • Religious Knowledge Systems p. 403- 431 (homework due January 19th)
  • Indigenous Knowledge Systems (no homework)
  • TOK Presentation Planning – Decide on topic and group by January 26th. Assuming we can get access to the computer lab or laptops, you will have four class periods each week to work on it for four weeks. Your written plan will be due on February 10th.



  • You will make your presentation in early March.  Presentations will be video-recorded
  • CAS Review
  • The class will decide if it wants to move immediately into preparation for the second Presentation or if it wants to spend the first two weeks of March “teaching lessons.”

For teaching lessons, small groups will pick from a wide choice of materials for each Way of Knowing and Area of Knowledge.  Each week, groups will prepare short lessons on the material they chose to present to a small group.  You will be provided a guideline, and creativity will be encouraged.  You will have one class period to chose and  prepare; there will be one-to-two class periods to present.



  • First two weeks of student-created lessons or immediately begin preparing second presentations.
  • Begin work on TOK Essay in late April




  • Work on Essay
  • Essay due on June 8th