Critical Concepts for your IBDP TOK | Explained

In the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, students are required to have knowledge of Theories of Knowledge (TOK), which essentially studies epistemology or the study of how humans come to know and understand things in their world. If you’re taking TOK, here are some major concepts and notable examples you should be familiar with in order to succeed on the exam!

  • Evidence in TOK

Evidence is a core TOK concept; it’s one of three evaluative criteria (along with causation and significance) that you’ll need to master in order to achieve an excellent grade on your final exam. Evidence comes from experiments or observations of human beings. Many have said evidence is more difficult to grasp than causation or significance—but it does have its uses. As a general rule, evidence can be defined as any point that makes an argument more likely to be true.

  • Certainty in TOK

The pre-modern thinkers were certain that they knew things—after all, how could they know anything if they weren’t certain? With modernism, however, uncertainty became a dominant paradigm. Certainty is one of TOK’s major concepts—and it’s something most students don’t readily understand at first. However, most of them are uncertain about their concepts. So, it is needed to be learnt for better understanding the key concepts.

  • Truth

Also known as Veritas, Truth is widely considered to be objective reality. It may be difficult to pinpoint truth in some instances, but that doesn’t change its status as a major TOK concept. Certain philosophies debate whether we can ever truly know something as true; that’s what makes philosophical thinking such an intriguing field of study!

  • Interpretation

There are a lot of theories that make up TOK, but they all can be interpreted in many different ways. According to what we believe, it is how we make sense of things. For example, some people may think all animals are equal. Yet others may say that only humans deserve equality because they feel like humans think and speak better than animals do. Then there will be people who want both humans and animals to be equal because everyone deserves an opportunity to survive without being treated unfairly or cruelly by other species.