TOK: Personal and Shared Knowledge

1)Write a definition of personal knowledge and shared knowledge in your own words

  • Personal and shared knowledge are two general classifications of the knowledge of humankind- personal knowledge is known by the person itself, while shared knowledge is the conglomeration of knowledge shared by people.

2) Select a question out of the 3 above: Despite the growth of knowledge, what evidence, if any, is there that the average person is less gullible and superstitious than their ancestors were five hundred years ago?

  • I do not believe that there is evidence proving that the average person is less gullible or superstitious than their ancestors five hundred years ago. The growth of knowledge gives us the illusion that the average person is now somehow less gullible- the only thing that has changed is merely the information received as schooling, which provides us with a different perspective from that of our ancestors, thus (in my opinion) increasing the cynicism with which we view knowledge. The average person is still tricked by what we now call ‘urban myths’ as opposed to ‘superstitions’; the fallacies of our ancestors are no greater than our own, simply of a different nature. As Socrates was quoted to say, many generations of ancestors ago: ‘I know that I know nothing’, the same stands true for us so many years later; the textbook that this question was taken from states: ‘To the ignorant mind, nothing is surprising and all knowledge claims – no matter how outlandish or bizarre – will seem equally plausible.’ From this we can conclude: the average person nowadays is as gullible as their ancestors, are merely seeing knowledge with a different lens, and can still form assumptions and superstitions that will likely be considered entirely unfounded and foolish when viewed by our successors.


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