My Life at Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong 2011-2013

“… time for TOK!”

As the quote by the American football coach Vincent Lombardi, which also hangs out in our gym, says: “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” These days, this seems to be the one maxim everybody at LPC is living for. There is so much to do! The biggest concerns are the two most important essays we have to write for the International Baccalaureate: The Extended Essay (EE) and the TOK Essay. I have already worked on the first one during summer, gathering my evidence and structuring a first draft, so I don’t panic when thinking about the first deadline for it, coming up on the 15th of October. The TOK Essay however does take a lot of my time – not in terms of me writing it, but first of all in terms of thinking  about it! Just yesterday I decided to change the essay title. The IB set us six possible titles, under which we shall write an essay of 1200 to 1600 words. This year, the prescribed titles are the following:

  1. In what ways may disagreement aid the pursuit of knowledge in the natural and human sciences?
  2. “Only seeing general patterns can give us knowledge. Only seeing particular examples can give us understanding.” To what extend do you agree with these assertions?
  3. “The possession of knowledge carries an ethical responsibility.” Evaluate this claim.
  4. The traditional TOK diagram indicates four ways of knowing [emotions, reasoning, language and sense perception]. Propose the inclusion of a fifth way of knowing selected from intuition, memory or imagination and explore the knowledge issues it may raise in two areas of knowledge.
  5. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens. Do you agree?
  6. Can we know when to trust our emotions in the pursuit of knowledge? Consider history and one other area of knowledge [arts, human sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, ethics].

I choose the fifth question as it is the one that really traps my attention and I’m excited to find out more about it. So far I have done some research and tried to tie the issues and real-life-situations I came up with all together. I do focus a lot on mathematics and the natural sciences and will evaluate some theorem and claims, but am also planning to include thoughts about the legal system, public media and religion. It seems I am able to observe many different areas of knowledge and also ways of knowing when evaluation this question, so that is why I am so motivated about getting started. The first draft is due in early October – I’ll better get going! … and you, dear readers, can just take a break of your busy all-day-life and look at the questions above. Which one would you like to write an essay about? Which one catches your attention? What do you want to find out more about? Just think about it – I’m sure you’ll come up with some great ideas!

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