The Theory of Knowledge class should begin you thinking in a slightly different way. In fact, after you have been taking it for a while, some of your friends may get a little annoyed that you are asking so many questions. Even if you stop asking them out loud, they still may bounce around in your head. As a means of letting some of these ideas out so you don’t bother your friends, you are to keep a journal. What is in this journal? You should include comments about something that you see, hear or experience OUTSIDE OF CLASS that sparks TOK questions and thoughts. While any thinking along these lines is good, your entries must include two entries per quarter so you will have 8 total entries. One prompt each quarter will be assigned. The other will be for you to do on your own, whenever you'd like (but there will be a deadline announced toward the end of each quarter).
These prompts can be, but are not exclusive to, the following:
• Newspaper/magazine articles
• Television show
• An experience you had
• A discussion you overheard or interaction witnessed
What should it look like?
Because these will be submitted in digital form, they should be done in digital format (something that can be emailed or linked to). E.g.:
• Word Document
• Your Weebly Blog
If possible, include a copy of the image or text which inspired you.
Each entry must include:
• A brief explanation of what you are analyzing,
• TOK type questions raised, and hypotheses and observations that raise further TOK questions.
Note: the emphasis is on process and questioning—NOT on arriving at conclusions. Take a stab at it, but don’t worry about necessarily finding the (or even an) answer.
• Utilize at least one knowledge issue related to the topic @ hand.
• These can be from the TOK guide or of your own creation, but either way should be stated in a clear, obvious way. These may sometimes be given to you for a given task.
How long should it be?
Each entry must be between 500 words and 750 words. Include a "word count" in your heading. Any less than this and you will not have enough to achieve a good mark, any more than this and you have not made your thoughts concise enough.
How will I be assessed?
I will use ToK Presentation Criteria to grade you journals out of 20.
Rubric is available here.
It's the second set
password = tok
See below for an example of what a TOK Journal might be like. Notice the application of concepts (empirical concepts and meaning making) in a real-world example. The author addresses a knowledge issue through a personal and thoughtful analysis, and is both thorough and concise. Excellent!
Advertisements, such as the one shown on the right, are perfect examples of how corporations are able to manipulate the human mind, through the ways of knowing, to their advantage. Corporations are now able to bombard us with advertising that target all 5 senses; from TV commercials, radio commercials, free perfume samples in magazines, free food samples, and last but not least the car showroom in which you ‘feel’ the inside of the car of your choice. Corporations are ‘injecting’ their choice of empirical perception into our conscience, knowing that it will cause a chain reaction, whether we want it to or not. For my journal I want to discuss particularly the problem of smoking, the way corporations sell it, and the effect it has on the human race. The knowledge issue I want to address through this is: if sense perception must be interpreted in the mind of the perceiver, should companies and individuals be held responsible for the "potential" images which they put out?
I can delve into my own experience to discuss the smoking problem; I was once a smoker myself, something that I regret being and hope to never be again. Perception is the first onslaught. From an early age I can remember the familiar image of the Marlboro cowboy, or the LA Lights ‘A’ man; images burnt permanently into my memory through advertising. I ‘knew’ these images through my perception, I also ‘knew’ of their so-called ‘benefits’ through my perception; and so when my fellow peers began to smoke I followed suit. The second illusion comes through in the form of Emotion. Cigarettes have several emotional impacts on human beings, firstly when smoking becomes a social norm, we feel compelled to join in, as when we feel left out, different, and we experience negative emotions. Secondly, after one begins to smoke, the cigarette acts as a placebo, satisfying our craving for it which was triggered by the nicotine in the cigarettes themselves. We feel, emotionally, without the cigarette something is wrong; in this case our emotions have been distorted so that they hurt us, compelling us to do that which harms our body. Biology, an area of knowledge which many put trust in, has ‘proven’ to us the negative effects of smoking; ‘smoking is bad for our lungs, and may cause cancer’. It would seem rational then, that faced with this proof from a respected area of knowledge, that all members of the human race would shun smoking and the creation of cigarettes. This has not happened for two reasons. I mentioned before that our emotions play a vital role in our addiction to cigarettes; as reason and emotion are very tightly bonded, when our emotions go haywire, so too does our reasoning capabilities. Smoking addicts are almost unable to stop smoking simply because it makes them feel good; this is of course an emotional illusion. Although they ‘know’ that cigarettes are bad for their bodies, and quitting would be the best thing to do, this reasonable decision is often smothered by another reasonable choice; if it makes me feel good, why stop? It’s my choice if I want to destroy my body, as long as it feels good… It is sad to see a person who has had a veil pulled over their eyes; who derive illusionary pleasure, as in there is no reasonable basis for a positive emotion to exist, from an act which is ultimately killing them.
For the second reason, and for this particular journal, I
believe that I have to coin a term for an area of knowledge brought up by this
journal. I believe it is an area of knowing because we come to ‘know’ it
through a variety of ways, ranging from empirical evidence, through to
authoritative evidence and the recalling of our experiences. It is an area of
knowledge, that initially most intelligent human beings will deny putting any
trust in or belief of its validity; but nonetheless, it corrupts the mind of
all who experience it. I will call this area of knowledge “Corporatology”,
referring to the body of knowledge of products, services, and players in the
corporate world. It is an area of knowledge just like any other, vulnerable to
paradigm shifts, the creation and denouncement of ‘the ories’,
and filled with terms unique to it as an area of knowledge (Aqua = mineral
water, Nokia = mobile phones, Sanyo = water pumps). And as every area of
knowledge has different sub communities battling for the recognition of their
particular theory, point of view, or proof; so too does “Corporatology”.
There are those that battle against the more illusionary ideas put forth in Corporatology, such as the various benefits of cigarettes,
in support of a healthier, smarter, more ‘product conscious’ human race; and
they too are able to manipulate the ways of knowing to influence the human
And so the battle continues, each side armed with the same weaponry, each after the minds of the people, and it is up to us to decide where we stand.