A Breakdown of the Five Optional Themes in TOK

In the theory of knowledge, students are required to study the core theme and the other two themes from the 5 optional themes. The aim is to make them understand the term knowledge and the core theme knower for the evaluation of their own impression of knowledge. In some cases, a teacher can help students in selecting a good theme to research but it is not conditional, it is completely up to the students what they want to explore.

For better understanding for its learners, Blen has made a quick analysis of the 5 optional themes in the TOK course below:

A breakdown of the five optional themes in tok.


5 Optional themes in TOK:

1. Knowledge and Politics

We all have considered from childhood that Knowledge is Power and the same goes for politics. Both of these terms are correlated with each other. Knowledge brings power to shape our understanding of it.

From the electoral campaigns and political debates, it can be seen how political leaders utilize the power of knowledge and facts in their political movements. By deeply analyzing the political claims it has been observed how political authorities use facts to influence or win people's votes. Yet, actions are equally important as facts.

Here are some crucial points to be reflected on:

  • What is true and what is not?

  • Understanding the difference between facts and fiction.

  • Who defines and holds the knowledge.

  • In what condition, an expert's opinion is required?

Studying knowledge and political theme gives students a brief view of the current issues and enables their ability of critical thinking on notions such as law, gender, values, society, power and race.

2. Knowledge and Technology

With the advances in technology, the way of acquiring information has transformed a lot in comparison to the past such as going to local libraries to explore new information. Today anyone with a mobile or laptop and an internet connection can share or grasp knowledge so conveniently.


  • How can we understand if this is correct information?

  • Is it a piece of structured information and well-founded knowledge?

The major objective of learning the Knowledge and technology theme in TOK is to not grasp any information without relevant sources. Students should never accept what they read, watch or listen online with proper acknowledgements.

3. Knowledge and Indigenous Societies

Unlike today's education system which is highly focused on math, reason and science there is some ray of indigenous societies to teach a diverse perspective of what form knowledge.

This theme teaches students to observe how a community of knowers forms and what we accept from it as knowledge.

In this theme, students may get to know certain areas of languages and thoughts in an easier method.

4. Knowledge and Religion

Since the beginning, religion has been a source of acquiring knowledge based on the system of belief on how to live life.

The relationship between knowledge and belief system based on religion is somehow intricate and varies from a person's idea of taking things and perspective. Similarly, it depends on how you accept the knowledge from the religion.

 5. Knowledge and Language

This theme helps students to explore the relationship between language, thoughts, and power and what impact it has on the humans to what they claim as knowledge.

Students are required to establish a connection between the core theme, knower, knowledge and optional themes for a better understanding and implementation of the knowledge questions.