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May 2022 TOK Essay Titles & Help!

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Let me help you get an A in the May 2022 TOK Essay!

Need help? I got you. Check out my launch day video with my initial thoughts about each Theory of Knowledge Essay Title!

TOK Essay Title #1

Can there be knowledge that is independent of culture? Discuss with reference to mathematics and one other area of knowledge.

Tips: I would talk about the westernization of Maths here. Many cultures discovered things, and sometimes they aren't given credit. Does that mean that a culture owns an idea in Maths?

Discuss and include the ideas of Platonism, nominalism, and fictionalism.

It would be smart to either contrast this with a different AOK (such as the Arts) or a very similar AOK (such as natural sciences).

TOK Essay Title #2

To what extent do you agree with the claim that “there’s a world of difference between truth and facts (Maya Angelou)? Answer with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Tips: I would discuss the AOK of History and explore the concepts of historical facts versus truth. Just because we call something a fact doesn't mean that it is the truth (that it actually happened in the past). Additionally, some people believe that "The Past" doesn't even exist, as it is something only left up to interpretation.

It would be wise to connect this to The Arts and Language, as well, and bring up some art works that have different interpretations. One piece of art that could work here would be "Mother" by Louise Bourgeois.

TOK Essay Title #3

Is there solid justification for regarding knowledge in the natural sciences more highly than knowledge in another area of knowledge? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.

Tips: some essay titles lead you to answering Yes or No, and this is one of those titles. You probably want to answer No, and then spend your time explaining why your answer is correct. But be sure to provide both sides of the argument -- provide points and counterpoints before giving your definitive answer in the conclusion. 

If you want to discuss the AOK of Math, that would be a good argument for why Natural Sciences is not to be considered higher than other AOK. You only need to provide one AOK examples to challenge the statement in this title.

Additionally, remember that the Natural Sciences is made up of different disciplines -- Biology, Chemistry and the like. 

Finally, be sure to focus on methods of gaining knowledge as this will decide the answer. 

TOK Essay Title #4

How do historians and human scientists give knowledge meaning though the telling of stories? Discuss with reference to history and the human sciences.

Tips: Similar to the previous title, be sure to focus on the ways that AOK gain knowledge. These used to be official, and they were called Ways of Knowing. Break down how History and the Human Sciences gain knowledge, and use this in your discussion.

Be sure to mention the Coherence Test for Truth (also known as the Coherence Theory).

Finally, I would suggest talking about how historical events (and facts!) can create national narratives that guide behavior and belief. 

TOK Essay Title #5

How can we distinguish between good and bad interpretations? Discuss with reference to the arts and one other area of knowledge.

Tips: though most IB students agree that Art only needs to be judged as art by a viewer, the IB has already told us that this is such a common perspective that it needs to be elaborated upon much more than it has been in the past. Simply saying that each person's interpretation is unique is no longer good enough.

I suggest listening to Revisionist History's episode called Foot Soldier of Birmingham to help you with this. 

You could contrast The Arts with Natural sciences and talk about the act of interpretation. How do scientists interpret data? Is there a good and bad way? How is this decided?

TOK Essay Title #6

If we conclude that there is some knowledge we should not pursue on ethical grounds, how can we determine the boundaries of acceptable investigation within an area of knowledge? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Tips: There are some easy things here that will be commonly used because they're so helpful:

Milgram Experiment

Stanford Prison Experiment

Nazi's doing...bad stuff. 

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