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November 2021 TOK Essay Title Breakdowns 2

In this post, I unpack the key terms from the remaining three November 2021 essay titles and suggest some ideas to consider when structuring your argument. For more extensive title breakdowns, as well as ways to apply the different AOK’s and other key TOK concepts to the questions, please check out my November 2021 essay guides here.

Title 4: "Areas of knowledge always rely on a systematic process of trial and error to aid the production of knowledge." Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Key Terms

‘production of knowledge’

The creation of knowledge which was not previously available to humanity or to a particular society.

‘trial and error’

Trying different approaches or methodologies in order to effectively produce knowledge.



Indicates that ‘trial and error’ is necessary for all knowledge production to some degree.

Ideas to Explore

  • Sense perception

  • Axioms

  • Empiricism

  • Deductive reasoning

  • Hypothesis

  • Post hoc ergo propter hoc

Title 5: "If all knowledge is provisional, when can we have confidence in what we claim to know?" Answer with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Key Terms


The notion that knowledge is not fixed nor permanent, implies that it is open to change/alteration at a later point.

‘all knowledge’

The assumption of this question is absolute. Any knowledge, no matter how justified, is conditional.

‘when can we be confident’

The criteria which has to be fulfilled for us to have a significant degree of certainty in a knowledge claim whilst simultaneously allowing us to accept that it is subject to change or alteration.

Ideas to Explore

  • Faith

  • Knowledge from authority

  • Axioms

  • Coherence Theory of Truth

  • Illusion of Explanatory Depth

  • Pragmatic Theory of Truth

Title 6: "We are rarely completely certain, but we are frequently certain enough." Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Key Terms


Implies a significant lack of frequency.

‘completely certain’

Having absolute confidence in a knowledge claim or the evidence justifying it being virtually indisputable.


Suggests it happens relatively often.

‘certain enough’

Could mean that whilst other possibilities are available, we have excellent reason to be confident in a knowledge claim.

Ideas to Explore

  • Reason

  • Sense perception

  • Consensus Theory of Truth

  • Coherence Theory of Truth

  • Pragmatic Theory of Truth

  • Innate knowledge

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Real life examples are a crucial component of your essay as they serve to link your arguments to the real world. Two major indicators of the quality of your examples are ´originality´ and ´relevancy´.

The full list of prescribed titles for the November 2022 Theory of Knowledge essay assessment will be posted here shortly. Please check back here soon.

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