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TOK: The Arts – Literature, Part One


This discussion features Dr. Catherine Brown (Head of English Faculty) and Dr. David Mitchell (Senior Lecturer – Philosophy Faculty) in their discussion of English from the viewpoint of Theory of Knowledge and how English can be a source of knowledge.

One distinction to be made is that although subjects, such as History, can be described as the acquisition of fact, as opposed to Literature which is primarily fiction, Catherine points out that we learn a lot about the past from literature. Literature allows us to get a better picture of what the world looked like at certain points in time, than visiting places today and trying to imagine its past form. However, of course, a piece of literature can only ‘capture’ one author’s point of view, which could be different from another author’s aspect on the same place at the same time. With that in mind, we must handle literature with care, as there is a gap between historical fact and the freedom of literature at a given time and place.