In the course of a couple of months’ highly enjoyable immersion in the Shakespeare authorship question, I have mentioned it to various people, including teaching colleagues, both literature and Theory of Knowledge teachers. The most common response I get is “Does it matter?”
TOK is intellectual mindfulness. It’s about being aware of the processes involved in formulating knowledge; it’s about being aware how belief, prejudice, desire, cowardly conformism and logical fallacies of all kinds will constantly sneak in, masquerading as knowledge. It’s about watching yourself think, observing how you enquire, observing how you accept premises and construct arguments upon them. I once had a student who said to me ‘Since doing TOK I’ve realized that all of my thinking – all of it – is based on fallacies.’ Give that girl an A.
It is a beautiful mystery – is that reason enough?
I have a new obsession – the identity of William Shakespeare.