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What Counts as Knowledge? (TOK Exhibition Prompt #1)


What Counts as Knowledge?

This book is a good TOK Exhibition object because it's specific.

I refuse to accept the claim that this book is called the Berenstain Bears. So do many others. This phenomena, the Mandela Effect, has become popularized on the internet, as shared knowledge is proven to be false.


In elementary school my teacher and friends pronounced it -stein. My wife, before I explained RLS, confirmed that it was -stein. And millions of passionate internet users agree; our knowledge is justified!


Does something count as knowledge if the knower knows it to be false but believes it anyway?


According to Matt Davis, people read visually, not letter-by-letter. This situation was affected by the fact that I know no one with a last name ending in -stain, but many with an -stein ending. My mind made an assumption based on personal knowledge and memory. And as we predict what we read, our personal knowledge can affect the predictions. My belief was affected by memory, intuition, and prediction.


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But with that said, my statement that they are the Berenstein bears can count as knowledge.

In a timeline void of people named Berenstain, and in an AOK that evolves collectively, why can it not be pronounced -stein? Berenstain (or any word) would be pronounced differently in Cambridge, Singapore, and Atlanta. Yet who can say which pronunciation is correct? Additionally, the ee sound in -stein can be spelled in four different ways. Therefore, if I claim, orally, that the name is pronounced -stein, I could be correct, as millions of English speakers agree with me regarding the sound, if not the spelling.


So, does my claim that they are called the Berenstein Bears count as knowledge? Yes, and no. It depends on whether I am writing this claim (it would be false) or if I am speaking it (it would be true). What counts as knowledge can depend on how a claim is communicated.


To see the other TOK Exhibition posts about What Counts as Knowledge? click here!


This Theory of Knowledge sample Exhibition was written for Get an A in TOK and should not be copied or paraphrased as your own work. The International Baccalaureate and Diploma Programme take plagiarism seriously. Don't get caught stealing from a website.

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