Nicholas Man

August 10, 2017

Personal Knowledge and Shared Knowledge

Filed under: TOK,Uncategorized — Tags: — 053601 @ 5:51 pm

1. Explain the map metaphor.

A map is a simplified depiction of an area where the simplifications are based on the intended use of the map. No map will show everything you could know about an area, as it would be overwhelming and unclear. Instead, several maps of the same area can be made and used for different purposes: even though they depict the same place, an MTR map and a topographic map are distinct and provide different information. Neither map is inherently superior than the other. TOK functions similarly; anything can be studied in various ways, through the lens of various disciplines. An artist may look at the world quite differently from a scientist, and it is important to acknowledge that neither of their opinions are superior to the other, but that their perspectives can be applied in different ways and that we can learn more about the same thing thanks to this variety.

2. What is the difference between personal knowledge and shared knowledge?

Shared knowledge tends to be more lasting and more universally accepted, such as historical facts. Personal knowledge can be somewhat more subjective, and (naturally) differs from person to person, such as knowing how to cook. Shared knowledge is what a certain society knows and agrees upon, whereas personal knowledge is influenced by emotions, memories, religion, etc., and differs among individuals.

3. If you cannot explain something to someone else, you do not know it. Agree or disagree? Why/why not?

I agree that if you can explain something to someone else, then you do understand it, but I do not believe that being unable to explain something automatically implies the opposite. Explaining something is a great way to see how well you understand it, as it will be impossibly to fully explain without knowing about it yourself. I imagine, however, that there are cases where you can fully understand something, but be unable to explain it (you could be inarticulate, they could lack knowledge on the subject to fully understand, etc.).

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