Chapter 3 Course Companion Study/Action Guide

Knowledge and the Search for Truth

Pg. 90:

 a. Take a book you’ve read recently (could even be a text for one of your classes) and

___answer the 4 questions on this page.

As you post to your blog, try to

___add specific words from the book to support your answer for #3, and perhaps at least

___1 example of a photograph, diagram, or drawing (you can even take a photo with your phone to post as evidence)


_____Read the green box from Yeshey of Bhutan (don’t step on a book!). _____Then read about and watch Thomas Pettit, a Danish philosopher, discuss the Gutenberg Parenthesis and his view of books (tear one up!).

_____Answer: What are your thoughts about the sanctity of books and how did you arrive to your decision?

_____Answer: Do books really “hold learning”?

_____Answer: How would you rate where you get knowledge – media (various), books, teachers, family, friends, celebrities, etc.? (draw a continuum or explain)

Pg. 91: Classifying Knowledge


_____Check out the chart– we will take some time in class do this with a partner and discuss

*why do other languages have several different words for “to know”? What are the constraints of English?

Pg. 92-3: Types of Knowledge


_____Check out Mohammed Youssef’s explanation of the 5 Stages of Knowledge / Wisdom in Arabic.

_____Provide a real life example of each, as it applies to your life.


_____Make your own list of an experiential knowledge (“knowing through direct experience”) you have,

_____procedural knowledge (skills; “knowing how”),

_____and a knowledge claim (“knowing that”- tied to language)

_____What type is the easiest to learn? What type tends to stick the longest?


_____Which ways of knowing (sense perception, language, emotion, and reasoning) are most relevant to each of the 3 categories  – try to provide a specific example.


_____In which category would you place the statement “I’ve heard about that” and why?

_____READ THIS ARTICLE outlining the different theories of learning and how Twitter could be used for each.

_____Answer: Which theory do you think best applies to our IB program? Which theory do you find most helpful as a style of learning?

Below is a scene from Good Will Hunting that touches on experiential knowledge versus rational knowledge…beware…some adult language.

Pg. 94-7: IB DP Subject Activity


_____Check out the green chart.

_____Choose 3 other of your IB DP subjects (not Lang A) and also CAS…make a similar chart. Then brainstorm with your group (maybe they have the same subjects!)…we’ll do a little shifting around and move into different groups to share more ideas…after we can analyze to see if the subjects are balanced or not. WE WILL DO THIS IN CLASS

_____read the CAS experience of Emily on pg. 95 to understand how CAS is a certain kind of knowledge acquisition. Then click here for another real-life CAS experience video.

i. The 3 kinds of knowledge are stored differently in the brain. Remember how Mr. Wearing could still play the piano?

_____Curate something on one of the following types of memory or at least find out what they all are:

_____procedural memory,

_____working memory,

_____long-term memory,

_____declarative memory,

_____episodic memory.

Here’s a cool explanation of “earworms” by neurologist Oliver Sacks, and then his discussion of the Power of Music and the Power of Doing…that is, procedural memory.

Pg. 98-100: Voodoo Activity

 j. We will discuss the questions in class in groups, but

_____check out the green section on pg.100 to see what other students responded to the question: “Does it matter of what we believe in is true?

Pg. 100-103: TESTS for Knowledge Claims

 What are the strengths and weaknesses of the following tests for truth? Discuss the questions in each section with a partner and be prepared to sum it up for the class

 k. Identify if these tests are commonly used in the IB DP subjects you are studying now.

_____Coherence – based on other claims you believe – (do they agree?)

_____Correspondence – must match the evidence – (go and check it out!)

 _____Pragmatic – must be able to be applied effectively in practice (does it work?)

_____be sure to understand why, in TOK, we abandon the catch-all “true-for-me” relativism and think in terms of “true-for-all” (see pg. 103)


A Physicist’s Guide to the existence of Santa Claus

Pg. 104-5: 3
 Truths and a Lie game and 1-9 “Good Reasons for Belief” (in class)

_____What is the difference between being sincere and being right? What is the difference between making a false statement and lying?

Pg. 105-6: Kinds of Claims

After reading about rational, observational, metaphysical, and value judgments, we will play the partner game on pg. 106

Pg. 108-9: Justification Types

After reading about reliable sources (experts and general consensus), memories, emotions, intuition, faith, and revelation, 

_____describe what role these might play in the Areas of Knowledge (your subjects)…for example, how might emotion affect and artist or intuition affect a scientist?

_____Here’s an awesome TED TALK which discusses the intuitiveness of the arts and sciences.

Pg. 110-111: Intensity of Belief

_____Draw or diagram something that represents the relationship between belief, truth, knowledge, and justification.

Pg. 112-113- Pseudoarchaeology

Pg. 114: Do I Believe?


_____After reading about the 3 “s’s”: SOURCE, STATEMENTS, and SELF, choose something you’ve learned recently and evaluate it based on these, using specific examples.


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