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Page last updated: 13 May 2018

What is a 'Knowledge Issue'?

This is what prevents a TOK essay from being a psychology or history essay...


Whenever we claim to KNOW anything, a KNOWLEDGE ISSUE is always present, either explicitly (so you can see it directly) or implicitly (hidden and not so obvious).© 2010-13

As a TOK student...

Your job is to identify any knowledge issues that are built into people's statements about what they say they know or believe.


These issues must become the focus of your essay or presentation...

Three key questions

When looking for knowledge issues, ask yourself:


1. How do we ACQUIRE knowledge?  Look at how the WAYS OF KNOWING are embedded in knowledge claims and the relationships between them: reason, perception, emotion language.


2. How do we USE that knowledge?  Look at how different AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE express knowledge issues, especially in their inter-realtions: Natural Sciences, Arts, Human Sciences, Ethics, History and Mathematics.


3. How can we be CERTAIN that what we know is TRUE?  Explore BOTH the ADVANTAGES (proof, value, progress...) and PROBLEMS (bias, limitations, assumptions...) involved in our knowledge claims.

Test yourself

Try to work out what the knowledge issues are in the following examples:


What is a knowledge issue?


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