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[Sample excerpts]

Theory of Knowledge Essay

Prescribed Title #1: “Accepting knowledge claims always involves an element of trust.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Word count: 1587


Trust is one underlying element in the production, acquisition and application of knowledge. Because knowledge is, by general definition, a justified, shared, true belief, and because trust is arguably an individual’s belief of something or someone to be true, many questions may arise about their mutual influence. And one of the questions pertains to the accepting or rejecting of knowledge claims based on the presence of trust, or on the lack thereof. Trust comes from many sources. Sometimes it comes from verified knowledge; other times it comes from more unfounded sources including anecdotal experiences, educated guesses and even wishful thinking.

The acceptance of knowledge can be defined as the knowledge seeker’s willingness to use a knowledge claim as a basis of change in perspectives, attitudes or behaviours. Among other things, trust can sometimes prompt the knowledge seeker’s acceptance of knowledge. In fact, some may make a knowledge claim, “Trust is one of the fundamental drivers in the acceptance of knowledge because there is no accepting a knowledge claim without trusting it if no evidence is available to justify the claim.”

This solely-trust-based knowledge often propels the entire body of knowledge especially in the Area of Knowledge of Natural Sciences when there seems to be no dispelling doubt on the knowledge claims for which no other Ways of Knowing can verify the authenticity of them. Take Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, for instance. More than a century after the theory was presented, no one has yet to prove, or disprove, the theory through a reproducible experiment in spite of the countless scientists’ efforts. And yet, the entire scientific community bestows unwavering trust on the theory, building on its further bodies of knowledge. More recently, British theoretical physicist Peter Hicks offered a theory of “the Hicks particle” in 1964, claiming that all space is filled with an invisible substance, namely the Higgs field, that exerts a drag force on particles to comprise the mass…


  • Total number of pages: 6 pages
  • Topic: Accepting knowledge claims always involves an element of trust
  • Subject: Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
  • The file is in Word format.