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. 

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?


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)


"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

Powerpoint Slides (Ethics)

Ethics Useful Reference Webpage (theoryofknowledge.net)

JOURNAL #12 - Assigned and discussed on 11/13/2017

How do you distinguish between 'morality' and 'ethics'?  Is ethics concerned primarily with what is or what ought to be?

JOURNAL #13 - To be assigned and discussed on 11/15/2017

"He who wears his morality but as his best garment were better naked" (Khalil Gibran).  What are the assumptions underlying this claim?  Is it necessary to be sincere, if your actions are to be moral?

*Read through this page and view the video on it to prepare for our discussion on the Trolley Dilemma.