AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
TOK RESOURCE MENU

The Areas of Knowledge are highly organized aggregates of Shared Knowledge characterized by distinct subject matter and methods of inquiry.

Areas of Knowledge are socially constructed and incorporate the Ways of Knowing in various nuanced combinations.

The individual Areas of Knowledge have endured and have evolved. They have commonalities and differences which are important to pinpoint including: specialized insider vocabulary, underlying assumptions and persistent open questions or frontiers.

From the TOK perspective the Areas of Knowledge encompass not only the Academic Disciplines but also Religious and Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE FRAMEWORK:

1. Scope/Applications
2. Concepts/Language
3. Methodology
4. Historical development
5. Links to personal knowledge

CLASS ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES

1. MATHEMATICS

Pure mathematics: invented or discovered?
House of cards investigation
The special case of mathematical induction with a guest math teacher

Counterintuitive Monty Hall problem


2. NATURAL SCIENCES
41 orders of magnitude at Homo discens
E. O. Wilson’s sciences chapter in Consilience
Nature: an encounter with a real science journal
Is there a scientific method?
Is Paleontology science?
Popper and falsifiability
Consilience and emergence
at Homo discens

3. HUMAN SCIENCES

Is Economics more like History than Physics?
Isaiah Berlin’s pluralism
Encounter with radical libertarianism
Causation and correlation


4. HISTORY

Professor Marwick of the Open University: The Fundamentals of History
Draw history
Cubist history
   

5. ETHICS
What are ethics and morality all about?
Gorilla language and personhood
 

Moral Sense Test lab
The limits of Utilitarianism
Kant’s Categorical Imperative
Rawls’ “Veil of Ignorance”
“The Seven Deadly Sins”
Reckless Black Night and brave Sir Robin—Aristotles Golden Mean
Vera Drake: saint or serial killer?


6. THE ARTS
Picasso’s lie and willing suspension of disbelief
Highly provocative artworks collection
Forms of representation: Shostakovich 8th string quartet
BBC video on You Tube: Live orchestral performance of John Cage's 4’ 33’’

7. RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS
A very persistent meme
Differentiating religion/religiosity from personal faith
Universality of the Golden Rule graphic
Encounter with radical atheism
Buddhist monks tackle the Trolley Problem

Smullyan’s Is God a Taoist?

8. INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS
Defining “indigenous”
Nacirema
Jared Diamond on lessons learned from indigenous cultures
Exorcising cultural relativism
Global ethics resources

Global Issues Network (GIN) website
Defining the 10 most pressing problems in the world


 

Paleontologist at Dinosaur National Monument.
Photo: Northern Arizona University