As part of theory of knowledge (TOK), each student chooses one essay title from six issued by International Baccalaureate®(IB).
The titles change in each examination session.
Upcoming and past questions include:
- “To what extent are areas of knowledge shaped by their past? Consider with reference to two
- areas of knowledge.”
- “ ‘There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement?”
- “There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.”
- “ ‘The task of history is the discovering of the constant and universal principles of human nature.’ To what extent are history and one other area of knowledge successful in this task?”
Students also take part in a presentation, which can be done individually or in a group of up to three people.
Further guidance on the TOK essay and presentation can be found in the IB’s online curriculum centre (OCC).
Materials in the OCC are only available to existing IB World Schools. These materials are free.
There are a number of resources on TOK in the IB Store, which are available to everyone.
Find out how to become an IB World School.
IB ToK Essay Titles and Topics: May 2018
Here are links to ideas and suggestions relating to the the six May 2018 IB ToK Essay topics:
I briefly mention some points to consider for each topic below; however, the personalised service I offer is tailored to each student.
The IB organization holds copyright in the theory of knowledge (TOK) prescribed titles and does not permit any reproduction of any IB materials on a public website without its prior written consent. Please contact me if you wish to know any particular title verbatim.
You should be very wary of simply repeating phrases and words from ToK websites.
In particular, basing your essays on downloaded templates carries considerable risks. First, you don't know with whom you are dealing.
Secondly, your essay will share the same structure as many others and will likely be considered as plagiarised. As an experienced philosophy and ToK examiner I know how easy it is to identify essays with a common source.
At any time, you can access free podcasts, videos, and articles, relevant to your IB ToK essay or presentation, from the site's social media pages.
The posts also provide links to discussions of WoKs, AoKs and real-life examples; so it's worth following or liking them:
Title 1: concerns whether interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge are confusing.
Thoughts to consider with essay 1 include:
- what questions are distinctive of each academic discipline?
- what methods of enquiry are distinctive of each discipline?
- can different disciplines share common conceptual schemes?
Title 2: concerns whether more knowledge increases doubt and includes a Goethe quote.
Thoughts to consider with essay 2 include:
- what is a paradox?
- to what extent is the growth of knowledge the growth of our conceptual schemes?
- is the ability to ask new questions simply increased ignorance or increased doubt?
Title 3: concerns whether knowledge requires an assumption of uniformity.
Thoughts to consider with essay 3 include:
- what are the different kinds of uniformity?
- is the possession of a concept knowing a rule?
- do laws of nature exist in reality or only in our minds?
Title 4: concerns whether the suspension of disbelief is essential to knowledge.
Thoughts to consider with essay 4 include:
- what is the relation between belief and imagination?
- is supposition a kind of imagination?
- how do we detect inconsistency in our belief systems?
Title 5: concerns the historical duration of disciplines of knowledge.
Thoughts to consider with essay 5 include:
- how can knowledge have "quality"?
- how, if at all, do we measure the quantity of knowledge?
- how are new academic disciplines born?
Title 6: concerns whether robust knowledge requires both concensus and disagreement.
Thoughts to consider with essay 6 include:
- isn't all knowledge robust? Isn't it belief that is not?
- does knowledge rely on opinion?
- what is the difference between rational and non-rational disagreement?