TOK for non-TOK Teachers

Integrating TOK across all curriculum areas*

Theory of Knowledge: How Do We Know What We Know

The raw material of TOK is knowledge itself.

Students think about how knowledge is arrived at in the various disciplines, what the disciplines have in common and the differences between them (cross-curricular).

The fundamental question of TOK is “how do we know that?” The answer might depend on the discipline and the purpose to which the knowledge is put.

TOK explores methods of inquiry and tries to establish what it is about these methods that makes them effective as knowledge tools. In this sense, TOK is concerned with knowing about knowing.

*As adapted from the IBO ATL website.

Beliefs and Actions

Since we are what we believe and our beliefs affect our actions, if we want to be authentic and responsible we should occasionally subject our beliefs to critical scrutiny.

Knowledge Claims

Two preliminary criteria for deciding whether a knowledge claim is plausible are evidence and coherence.


argument ad ignoratiam - the fallacy of assuming that a proposition is true simply because it has not been proved false, or false because it has not been proved true.


What this criterion implies is that, although we should be open to new ideas, the more unlikely something is relative to the current state knowledge, the stronger the evidence in its favor should be before we take it seriously.