Essay: Ways of Knowing
Write an essay of between 800 and 1200 words in response to one of the following topics. These topics have been selected from previous lists of final essay topics so that you can become familiar with the kinds of essays you will need to write in Year 12. Since this is your first essay in the subject it will be assessed in accordance, not with the final essay criteria, but with criteria preparing you for these.
Try to ensure that you address the topic question exactly as it is written. This is crucial. Many thoughtful and well written essays receive low marks because they are not directly relevant to the topic.
Your essay needs to identify central issues with respect to the topic. Try to examine these issues by breaking them down into their component ideas, and then examining the arguments that these ideas suggest to you. Use examples (fresh, specific, actual and relevant) either to illustrate or test an argument. Once you have developed an argument, challenge it with an alternative view and then discuss which view or combination of views best clarifies or resolves the issue you are examining. A good essay will examine a few central issues intensively.
Avoid what IB examiners call ‘descriptive’ approaches. By this is meant essays that merely describe an issue, giving an account of what occurs – rather than analysing by means of argument why the situation occurs.
1) Is it an oversimplification to claim that some Ways of Knowing give us facts while others provide interpretations?
2) Some experts (athletes, dancers, musicians, visual artists, cabinet makers, lab technicians, mechanics, surgeons, etc.) may have acquired knowledge that is difficult to describe in words. Does this mean that other Ways of Knowing play a more important role than language in knowing how to do something?
3) Does language play roles of equal importance in different areas of knowledge?