What is knowledge? How do we know what we know? What is the source, nature and purpose of our knowledge? How do we know if our beliefs are valid and justified? Students in Theory of Knowledge (ToK) are charged with these questions, both theoretically and personally.


The course begins with a theoretical investigation of our ways of knowing: language, reason, emotion, sense perception, faith, imagination, intuition and memory. From there, the course explores the use of these tools as students embark on a journey for knowledge as offered by particular content areas or disciplines, what ToK calls Areas of Knowledge. Beginning with the natural and human sciences in a unit entitled “Methods,” students examine and critique the scientific method as a vehicle for acquiring knowledge. From there, students seek more indubitable truths in a unit on math. Come spring, students dive into history and the arts and explore how these disciplines use stories to convey what they know.


Ultimately, the course examines those areas of knowledge who function to bring purpose and meaning to a knower’s life: religion and ethics. ToK builds powerful critical thinking skills as students pursue open-ended questions in a learning environment built around collaborative inquiry. The pregnant questions in each unit are considered and contextualized in different perspectives and world views. Students consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the culture of others and in the wider world. Ultimately, ToK encourages students to be critical consumers of information such that they become more conscious and conscience learners in an increasingly linked world.