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Unpacking the TOK Essay Title

‘Doubt is the key to knowledge’ (Persian Proverb). To what extent is this true in ethics and in one other area of knowledge?

1. Central terms and phrases in the title: doubt, key to knowledge, ethics, extent and true. 2. Explicit demands: Explain to what extent the quote is true. Relate this quote to ethics and one other area of knowledge. 3. Implicit demands: define doubt in relation to knowledge. Define ethics and the other area of knowledge. Discuss, explain. 4. Action words: There are no explicit action words in the title they are all implicit, e.g. discuss and explain 5. Assumptions? Assumes that the quotation is true and that it does apply to ethics and one other area of knowledge. 6. Different perspectives? One could argue either that the quotation is false and thus doubt isn’t needed to achieve knowledge or that it is a necessity in the attainment of knowledge. Alternatively, one could argue that doubt is key to a certain extent. 7. Thesis questions: How can doubt help you justify a belief in order to achieve knowledge? 8. AOKs: Ethics and natural sciences.

WOKs: Reason, perception, emotion and language.
9. Counter claims: Constantly doubting means you’ll never reach a satisfying justification thus you can’t ever achieve knowledge. If you doubt something that’s already been proven then you could be wasting your time. Sometimes doubt causes you to miss the bigger picture. One could say that doubting someone’s intentions is unethical because that shows distrust among people. 10. Examples: The scientific method involves doubting (falsification). Repeating experiments in science. In law reasonable doubt must be used in order to achieve truth and justice – if no justice is served then the charge given is unethical (12 angry men). If you never doubt someone’s intentions then you’ll never know if they’re genuine (the idea that people only do moral things if there is something in it for them –...
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