Asking Big Questions

In a recent class, Theory of Knowledge 11 students became famous philosophers from history in order to debate ethics.
One of the strengths of Theory of Knowledge is that it explores big questions in a variety of areas. One of these, ethics, is always especially popular. Students are always very interested in questions of justice and morality, and they especially enjoy debating “ethical pickles:” moral dilemmas where right and wrong are not always easy to determine.
Another goal in ToK is to look at problems from different points of view. For this particular activity, students worked in teams to research an assigned philosopher. They agreed on a persona for their subject and created an illustrated placard. The class then tackled ethical problems with each student standing in for their chosen philosopher.
It was educational and entertaining to bring Nietzsche, Lao Tzu, Socrates, Simone de Beauvoir and others “back to life,” and the subsequent debates helped students look at morality from a variety of perspectives.

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