Prompts by Entry # and Discussion Date


Unit #1


JOURNAL #1 - Assigned and discussed on 8/25/2017

Who are you and how do you know?

JOURNAL #2 - Assigned and discussed on 8/31/2017

Distinguish between the following: information, data, fact, opinion, belief, faith, knowledge, wisdom and truth. 

For Reference:

The Basis of Knowledge

Truth Theories Notes --- Truth Theories Explained (Website)

JOURNAL #3 - Assigned and discussed on 9/5/2017

How do you distinguish between what you believe to be true versus what you know to be true?

* Assigned Class Reflection Question (after discussion notes):  How do you determine what the truth is when analyzing a knowledge claim or when trying to make sense of a situation?

Unit #2


MEDIA SUMMARY - Your Brain Lies to You

Reading assigned 9/6/2017 and discussed on 9/19/2017

Guiding Question:  How do false beliefs persist in our minds?  Why do we sometimes, in the face of evidence to the contrary, hold on to false beliefs?

JOURNAL #4 - Assigned and discussed on 9/19/2017

How do we, as knowers, draw the line between sanity and insanity?  Why do we make this distinction at all?

MEDIA SUMMARY - Climbing the Tower

Reading assigned 9/19/2017 and discussed on 9/22/2017

Guiding Question:  How do false beliefs persist in our minds?  Why do we sometimes, in the face of evidence to the contrary, hold on to false beliefs?

JOURNAL #5 - Assigned and discussed on 9/22/2017

Create a list of qualities that you feel are representative of human nature.

* Assigned Class Reflection Question (after discussion notes and considering the Genesis reading we did in class):  How might these qualities potentially affect our acquisition (and creation) of knowledge?  Genesis


Reading assigned 9/22/2017 and discussed on 9/26/2017

Guiding Question:  To what extent does personal or ideological bias influence our knowledge claims? 

JOURNAL #6 - Assigned and discussed on 9/26/2017

Does making a knowledge claim carry any particular obligation or responsibility for the knower?

MEDIA SUMMARY - Plato's Allegory of the Cave

Reading assigned 9/26/2017 and discussed on 10/2/2017


Guiding Question:  Describe how the people in the Cave 'know' their reality.  How does the person released come to 'know' a different reality?  What abilities do we utilize to 'know' what is 'real'?

MEDIA SUMMARY - The Experience Machine

Reading assigned 9/28/2017 and discussed on 10/4/2017

Guiding Question:  Would you choose to live your life in the Experience Machine?  Why or why not?

JOURNAL #7 - Assigned on 10/4/2017 and discussed 10/4, 10/6, and 10/10/2017

Rank these 8 ways of knowing in order of how important they are to you in knowing what is real with certainty: emotion, faith, imagination, intuition, language, memory, reason, and sense perception.  How might this ranking be a reflection of what you value?

* Assigned Class Reflection Task (after watching The Matrix movie and taking notes on key ideas):  Identify and explain some of the epistemological themes of The Matrix.

MEDIA SUMMARY - Introduction to Gladwell's Blink

Reading assigned 10/6/2017 and discussed on 10/12/2017

How does Gladwell's discussion on adaptive unconscious support his claim for the value of intuitive impressions/judgments?  What are the problems inherent in these kinds of impressions/judgments?

JOURNAL #8 - Assigned and discussed on 10/12/2017

What are the advantages of using intuitive knowledge over rational knowledge (and vice versa) when analyzing knowledge claims?

Unit #3 - 10


Notes on Paradigms - Assigned and to be discussed on 10/16 & 10/18/2017

Powerpoint Slides (Based on Van De Lagemaat's chapter)

Resources used for class discussion and further consideration:

Individual and Collective Paradigms

Kuhn's Paradigm Shifts in Science --- Kuhn's Legacy

Margaret Heffernan on TED - "Dare to Disagree"

Knowledge Fundamentals (Curriculum Guide) - Includes Notes on Knowledge Claims, Questions and the Knowledge Framework we will be using to discuss the Areas of Knowledge

Unit #3

Areas of Knowledge - Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Powerpoint Slides (Indigenous Knowledge Systems)

IKS Useful Reference Site (theoryofknowledge.net)

JOURNAL #9 - Assigned and discussed on 10/23/2017

In what ways are sense perception and memory crucial in constructing knowledge in indigenous knowledge systems?  How might the other ways of knowing aid in sustaining them?

MEDIA SUMMARY - Mark Plotkin's "What the People of the Amazon Know That You Don't" - TED Ed Talk

Video assigned 10/23/2017 and discussed on 10/25/2017

What might be gained or lost in the interaction of Western cultures/knowledge with indigenous cultures/knowledge?


Unit #4

Areas of Knowledge - Religious Knowledge Systems

Powerpoint Slides (Religious Knowledge Systems)

RKS Useful Reference Webpage (theoryofknowledge.net)

A Video Overview of the 5 Major World Religions


"Tests of Faith" - Ian Sample, article from The Guardian Magazine

"Dialogue on the Cosmological Argument" - Paul Davies

"(Un)Wired for God" - Sharon Begley, 2009 article from Newsweek Magazine

Rabbi Jack H. Bloom Interview with Reform Judaism Magazine

JOURNAL #10 - Assigned on 10/31/2017 and discussed on 11/2/2017

How would you explain the relationship between spirituality and religion?  Can there ever be a basis for religious knowledge that is independent of the culture that produces it?

* View the following VIDEOS before class on 11/6 & 11/8: 

(1) Religion for Breakfast segment on Theology vs. Religious Studies

(2) Stephen Prothero's The Need for Religious Literacy

JOURNAL #11 - Assigned on 11/6/2017 and discussed on 11/8/2017

How would you describe the knowledge that religion provides its followers?  What might be the role of different ways of knowing in attaining this knowledge?

Unit 5

Areas of Knowledge - Ethics


It's just come to my attention that something happened to the HTML programming here... My original content was inadvertently deleted.

For lack of time to redo this section before tomorrow's midterm, here be sure to review the following:

--- Ethics Powerpoint (with Journals and Discussions)

--- Website resource for definitions & intro to ethics video

--- Trolley Dilemma

--- Ethics Chapter Notes

Midterm Review

JOURNAL #16 - Assigned on 12/6/2017 and discussed on 12/8/2017

How, and to what extent, might expectations, assumptions, and beliefs affect our sense perception and memories?
* Assigned Class Reflection Question (after discussion notes):  How, if at all, can factors that bias our views of the world be identified?  How might bias affect intuition and reasoning?

1st SEMESTER REVIEW - CONCEPT REVIEW AND NOTES (including bias and claims)



Unit 6

Areas of Knowledge - The Arts

FOR DISCUSSION - Assigned and discussed on 1/10/2018

List 5-10 physical things or experiences that you would identify as 'beautiful.'  From where do you think our sense of beauty comes?  What characteristics do the things on your list have in common that make them beautiful to you?

JOURNAL #17 - Assigned on 1/10/2018 and discussed on 1/17/2018

Can anything be considered art?  Are there limits to what is acceptable as art?  Who decides?

JOURNAL #18 - Assigned on 1/20/2018 and discussed both 1/20 & 1/23/2018

Are the arts a kind of knowledge, or are they a means of expressing knowledge?  If the latter, what knowledge might they express?

View at least TWO from among the assigned media resources: Visual Arts, Music, Graffiti, Dance and take the time to use the resources in the right margin to learn more and test your understanding. You will be asked report out and discuss what you learned in class, and you will do a full media summary in your journal on one of these resources


MEDIA SUMMARY - Assigned and discussed on 1/23/2018

Written based on the media on which you've chosen to write. The discussion question on the site is your guiding question.

JOURNAL #19 - Assigned and discussed on 1/25/2018

If the arts have the power to change/influence how people think, does this mean the arts should be controlled?  Should the arts be politically subversive?  Or should they serve the interests of the community, or the state, or the patron or funding organization?

JOURNAL #20 - Assigned and discussed on 1/29/2018

Do the arts, or can the arts, tell the truth?  If so, is artistic truth the same as truth in the context of the history, natural sciences, or human sciences?  How might the truth claims of the arts be verified or falsified?

- Assigned and discussed on 1/31/2018

Read Twain's "Life on the Mississippi" and answer the questions at the bottom of the page in your journal.

Unit 7

Areas of Knowledge - History

JOURNAL #21 - Assigned on 1/31/2018 and discussed on 2/2/2018

* PART 1 - Identify the FIVE most significant events of EACH of the following (25 events total): (1) Your personal life; (2) Your community; (3) U.S. history; (4) the 20th century & early 21st century; (5) Human history.  Consider your criteria for significance.

* PART 2 - Identify ONE aspiration for EACH of the following (5 aspirations total): (1) Your personal life; (2) Your community; (3) the United States; (4) This century; (5) Humankind.  Consider the connection between our history and our aspirations.

* DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Use this as a CR question): What criteria did you use to fill in your list of significant events?  Why is this question important in determining what makes it into history?

FOR DISCUSSION - Assigned on 2/2/2018 and discussed on 2/6/2018

Which of the following is the most persuasive description of history?  (1) An account of great individuals, (2) An account of great historical forces, (3) An account of a decline from the greatness of the past, (4) An account of progress towards the future, or (5) a cycle of recurring events.  What other descriptions might be appropriate?

JOURNAL #22 - Assigned and discussed on 2/6/2018

Can one talk meaningfully of a historical fact?  How far can we speak with certainty about anything in the past?  If truth is difficult to prove in history, does it follow that all versions are equally acceptable?

JOURNAL #23 - Assigned and discussed on 2/8/2018

What is the role of the historian?  Does the historian record history, or create it?  Can the historian be free of bias in the selection and interpretation of material? 

* Assigned Class Reflection Question: Which is the more important attribute of the historian, the ability to analyze evidence scientifically (and so secure the foundations of an argument), or the ability to expand it with creative imagination (and create a living account)?

MEDIA SUMMARY - DW Article (2017), Textbook Controversy; (Suggested: Background Information on this controversy)

Assigned on 2/12/2018 and discussed on 2/14/2018

* Guiding Question:  How do you think the content of middle & high school history textbooks influences the way young people view their native country?  Why does this matter?

JOURNAL #24 - Assigned on 2/14/2018 and discussed on 2/21/2018

Are value judgments a fault in the writing of history?  Should value-laden terms, such as 'atrocity','regime','hero', or 'freedom', always be avoided, or does exclusion of value judgments deprive history of meaning?

MEDIA SUMMARY - Newsweek Article (2004), "Rewriting History"
Assigned on 2/16/2018 and discussed on 2/21/2018

* Guiding Question: What is the relationship between memory and history?  Why might political leaders seek to influence the way we remember certain events?  What is the role of history in doing so?

JOURNAL #25 - Assigned on 2/21/2018 and discussed on 2/23/2018

Explain George Orwell's claim: "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."  To what extent do you agree with it and its implications?

Unit 7

Areas of Knowledge - Mathematics


TheoryofKnowledge.net - Mathematics

Reading 1 - Math Packet --- Math Chronology

Reading 2 - Math Key Terms --- Euclid's Definitions

Reading 3 - Math Theories

Reading 4 - Beautiful Numbers

Reading 5 - By the Numbers

Reading 6 - Science & Math --- Fibonacci Sequence


1) A Brief History of Numerical Systems

2) A History of Mathematics

3) Mini-Biography - Pythagoras


JOURNAL #26 - Assigned and discussed on 2/27/2018

Why is it that some mathematicians and students of mathematics feel that mathematics is in some sense "already there" to be discovered? 

* Assigned Class Reflection Question:  Is mathematics discovered or invented?

JOURNAL #27 - To be assigned and discussed on 3/1/2018

Is there a distinction between truth and certainty in mathematics?  Is math independent of culture? 

* Assigned Class Reflection Question: How is the knowledge that math offers different from other areas of knowledge and why?

FOR DISCUSSION - To be assigned and discussed on 3/5/2018

Can mathematics be characterized as a universal language?

JOURNAL #28 - To be assigned and discussed on 3/5/2018

What do mathematicians mean by mathematical proof, and how does it differ from good reasons for belief in other areas of knowledge?

JOURNAL #29 - To be assigned and discussed on 3/9/2018

In what sense do numbers exist?  Do the terms 'beauty' or 'elegance' have a role in mathematical thought?  How can numbers or math be 'beautiful'?

JOURNAL #30 - To be assigned and discussed on 3/13/2018

How does math create our scientific reality? 
[Consider this reading as a reference]