Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) requirement is central to the educational philosophy of the Diploma Programme. It offers students and their teachers the opportunity to reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and on areas of knowledge, and to consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world. It prompts students’ awareness of themselves as thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the complexity of knowledge and to recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected but uncertain world.
As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed almost entirely of questions. The most central of these questions is “How do we know?” The critical reflection encouraged in students is a foundation for developing international awareness.
All Diploma Programme subjects aim to encourage in all students an appreciation and understanding of cultures and attitudes other than their own, but in this particular respect, TOK has a special role to play. It is a stated aim of TOK that students should become aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal and ideological biases, regardless of whether, ultimately, these biases are retained, revised or rejected.