ME AS A KNOWER AND A THINKER:
SHARED KNOWLEDGE AND PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE

TOK is an invitation to explore how we know what we claim to know? It has a particular flavor. The individual knower is not especially privileged and not placed at the center of things. TOK is not a vehicle for a solpsistic, epistemic quest. 

The TOK experience is more about exploring multiple and global perspectives engendered by various groups of knowers including, but by no means exclusively, traditional academic disciplines.

On balance TOK focuses more on Shared Knowledge (emphasizing “we”) than it does on Personal Knowledge (the subjectivity of “I”).

Henri Matisse (1910)   Dance.  Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Henri Matisse (1910) Dance. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Knowledge is produced by one or more human beings and it comes in many forms. Much of the knowledge encountered in TOK is under the umbrella of Shared Knowledge, organized into five Areas of Knowledge.

Depending on the nature and content of the discipline, the Shared Knowledge in the various Areas of Knowledge tends to be systematic and structured. Individuals contribute in large and small ways to the Areas of Knowledge. We can say that Personal Knowledge—rooted in various interconnected ways of knowing—influences Shared Knowledge and vice-versa.