Real-Life Situations

The TOK oral presentation requires that students focus on a ‘real-life situation’ that raises one or more ‘knowledge issues’ and then analyze how those questions might be considered, with explicit reference to appropriate Areas of Knowledge and  Ways of Knowing.

Here are a few ideas for ‘real-life situations’ that raise knowledge issues. Suggest additions to the list in the comments.

  • My doctor advises surgery. How do I know whether to trust what the doctor says?
  • The government says military action is required. How do I know whether to trust what the government says?
  • Elections are coming soon. Which political candidate should I support?
  • I am looking for a new smartphone. How do I decide which product I should buy?
  • A friend is using tobacco / alcohol / marijuana. How do people decide whether they should smoke cigarettes (or drink alcohol, or use drugs)?
  • A man goes to prison for possession of marijuana / cocaine / heroin. Should some drugs be illegal?
  • Prostitution is illegal in one place, but legal elsewhere. Should prostitution be illegal?
  • In my country one is not considered to be an adult until the age of 21. At what age should people be regarded as adults?
  • What is the purpose of putting someone in prison? Should prisons attempt to rehabilitate criminals, or merely punish them?
  • I said that my friends and I were sharing music. My dad said we were stealing. Is it wrong to download songs or videos or books from the internet without paying for them?
  • A famous American football player was arrested for betting on dogfights and abusing animals. Should dogfights be illegal? [other animal-rights situations would also work]

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Not all black and white; the most interesting bits are gray.