What is Knowledge?

What are Knowledge Issues?


Knowledge claims

In TOK there are two types of knowledge claims.
• Claims that are made within particular areas of knowledge or by individual knowers about the world.
It is the job of TOK to examine the basis for these first-order claims.
• Claims that are made about knowledge. These are the second-order claims made in TOK that are justified using the tools of TOK which usually involve an examination of the nature of knowledge.

Here are some examples:
• “There are an infinite number of prime numbers.” This is a first-order knowledge claim because it resides firmly inside the area of knowledge mathematics. It is established using the method of mathematical proof.
• “Mathematical knowledge is certain.” This is a second-order knowledge claim because it is about mathematical knowledge. We establish this by examining the methods of mathematics themselves using the tools of TOK.

Both types of knowledge claims might be found in TOK. The first type will feature in examples offered in the essay and presentation illustrating the manner in which areas of knowledge go about the business of producing knowledge. The second type will constitute the core of any piece of TOK analysis.

Is common knowledge obsolete? Ken Jennings – multi-Jeopardy winner who lost to ‘Watson’, the IBM machine, thinks not:

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