The knowledge lexicon

The knowledge lexicon lists 1000 essential terms and ideas related to the way we produce, evaluate, and use knowledge. Each term is related to a Big Question and a TOK context, and we’ve provided a link to a media source in which the term is discussed.
The knowledge lexicon is perhaps our most powerful tool yet for students to understand and articulate their relationship as knowers with the world. It is designed primarily for the new (2022) TOK syllabus, but can, of course, be used for the 2015 syllabus as well. The lexicon is accessible only to members of the site; if you’d like to unlock this feature, join us via this link.

A lexicon, not a glossary

Rather than providing students with a dry list of definitions, we wanted to create a resource that would encourage active learning, and support students to explore the meaning of key ideas within a real-world setting rather than the artificial confines of a textbook.
The lexicon is presented on a Google Sheet, meaning you can arrange and search the terms in a variety of different ways: for example, by TOK context, by Big Question, by media source, or via our identification of ‘TOK’, ‘essential’, and ‘zeitgeist’ terms.

TOK, essential, and zeitgeist terms

Although all of the terms within the lexicon are important, and will help students to become more able knowers of the world, some are particularly significant, either because they are central to the course, or because they are a fundamental part of how we make sense of the world, or because they have a strong resonance to what’s going on today.

The course terms indicate a specific element of the 2022 syllabi. You’ll see reference to ‘history’, ‘imagination’, ‘technology’, ‘reason’, and so on. We’ve also included words that are central to TOK, such as ‘truth’, ‘perspectives’, etc.
The essential terms are the ones we think are absolutely key to building an understanding of how we produce and use knowledge. You’ll find concepts such as ‘bias’, ‘causation’, ‘correlation’, ’empiricism’, ‘rationalism’, and so on.
Finally, our zeitgeist terms are ones that have a particular relevance to the world today. You’ll come across ‘fake news’, ‘big data’, ‘cognitive offloading’, and a host of other TOK related terms that we’ve linked to the latest media sources.

Tracking shifting meanings

Because meanings can depend on the context in which they are found, or the question being asking about knowledge, many terms appear more than once in the lexicon. For example, we include explore ‘morality’ within the natural sciences, the arts, and technology, shifting the meaning of this term as we move from one area of knowledge to another.
‘Objectiveness’ also makes several appearances; students can consider how this relates to the way our perspectives shape how we understand the world, its role in making us ‘expert’ knowers, and how much it defines the scope of different areas of knowledge. Have a look through the lexicon, and identify more repeat terms!

A resource for all DP teachers

As with the other resources we offer our members, such as the , and our 10 Minute TOK lessons, we designed the knowledge lexicon just as much with non-TOK teachers, as TOK specialists, in mind.
The list of terms provides all DP teachers with an invaluable bank of vital concepts, and the media sources allow them to explored in a real – rather than textbook – context. The lexicon is thus another fantastic way to integrate the different strands of the Diploma Programme.

Contact us

Get in touch with us about the knowledge lexicon, the 2022 TOK course, our membership options, or any other aspect of TOK, using the contact form below. Find out who we are on this page, and what people have been saying about us here.