Theory of Knowledge

The boundaries between ethics and science are very controversial. Many scientists have the attitude that they are willing to do anything if it provides for a gain in knowledge. Others have tried to impose a set of ethical values over the gaining of knowledge. They have attempted to make prior judgments as to what science should or should not do based on attempts to project into the future what the outcome and implications a given of scientific investigation will have for society. Can science function over these constraints? Can negative results that some scientific investigation has on society be avoided by exercising this restraint?

Or does science to be conducted properly have to be free to seek knowledge freely, leaving society to deal with consequences only after the fact? Can science be honest and ethical and objective all at the same time? In the film Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie, Dr. Edward Teller says of the Hydrogen bomb: “… others didn’t want to do it, but I didn’t care. I was interested in knowledge, knowledge, and more knowledge. ” With this, Teller didn’t care about the affects of the H-bomb; he only cared about the knowledge that he gains from this experimentation.

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Why is he so apt to gaining knowledge? What usually motivates people to desire the gain of knowledge? Is it all for one’s self-achievement? I surely would think not. What would be the point in gaining knowledge only for you? The objective of science is to further the knowledge of mankind; to understand more how the world works? Why would someone be so apt to gain knowledge about the H-bomb, with the goal of advancing the knowledge of mankind, and at the same time not care about the affects it has on mankind?

By the result of some people becoming more knowledgeable, other people are killed and/or suffer severe chronic side affects. Growing up, I have always been taught to think about the consequences before I act. Should not this be applied to the aspect of science also? It seems to me that for something that has the goal of bettering and advancing mankind’s understanding and their relationship with the world, that knowingly conducting experiments that may destroy and/or cause severe alterations to mankind is completely hypocritical.

It seems to undermine the purpose of science. Can science function as it should under restraints made by ethical values? Can we avoid a potential plethora of Pandora’s boxes that may open up by exercising prior restraint, or does science, in order to function properly, have to be free to seek knowledge freely, leaving society to deal with the consequences only after the fact? I think that ethical values should come first in everything. Ethical values are the structure of this world that distinguishes between good and evil.

Without ethics, how would one differentiate between right and wrong: people need a certain code of standards to live by. Although ethical values are different for different people, most people share the same undermining principles. Why should these standards be abandoned just for the purpose of science, for the purpose of knowledge? In the bible, it is commanded “Thou shall not kill. ” It isn’t thou shall not kill unless it is for the gaining of knowledge. I do not believe that there is any justification for knowingly bringing harm onto people; it is wrong any way that you look at it.

True that everyone does not believe in the exact standards of the bible, but it is accepted principles that killing people is wrong and that harming people is wrong. Thus, there should be an ethical code when dealing with science just as there is in the rest of the world. In C;E News of February 14, 1994, it was said: “The scientific community must face the issue of scientific misconduct head on. It must work actively to prevent misconduct and not brush it under the rug when it occurs. ” Many people try to ignore misconduct that occurs in science.

That only leaves open a window for it to happen again. To prevent this sort of thing of reoccurring, society must not ignore the facts. Teller’s excuse he made for the H-bomb: “If I hadn’t done it someone else would and the Russians did! ” does not provide as a proper excuse. Each person is responsible for his own actions. “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it? ” We’ve all heard this a thousand times when we were a child. Has the scientists completely forgotten what their mom taught them? Maybe the world just needs to look back and think.

Gain of knowledge can still take place even with ethical values in place. There is no excuse for disregarding moral standards just for the ultimate goal of more knowledge. Can science be honest and objective and ethical at the same time? Yes it can; there are numerous fields of study that do not undermine ethical values. Also, there are ways that certain controversial fields of study can be conducted without neglecting ethical values. People just need to think about consequences and results before actions take place, just as I was taught as a child.

Theory of Knowledge

People shape what they know based on person perspectives and those of others they share. The knowers search for knowledge depends on ones perspective and from the peers within the same community with similar thinking in a bid to add what is known or discover the unknown. Knowledge is gained through nature as environment and socialization largely contribute to knowledge acquisition of the knower. However, it is absurd to rely only on the knowers knowledge because various perspectives connote diverse understanding of similar information. Therefore, other factors influence how the knowers gain knowledge is determined by the purposeful use of information (Stanely 239). Therefore, I agree with the statement, The knowers perspective is essential in the pursuit of knowledge.

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The knowers ability to control what he or she knows depends upon several factors. Consider for instance, a scientist by the name Albert Einstein. The contributions brought about by him in contemporary physics accentuate the fact that Einstein possessed personal attributes, which made him see what his peers would not. In this case, Einsteins personal knowledge was contributed by individual point of view, and through the process of review and positive criticism, he gained more knowledge from the peers. However, to ascertain that indeed his knowledge was beyond reproach, his insights were to be experimented by other authorities in the field of physics. Therefore, the perspective of the knower is subject to personal biases and the knowers ability to interpret knowledge; hence, should be evaluated to stand the test of review both from shared and personal perspective pursuits of knowledge (Stanely 240).

Pursuit of Knowledge

The concept knowledge emanates from three distinct areas that include natural, religious knowledge, and indigenous. According to placebo experiments, under natural acquisition of knowledge, real livelihood occurrences are shaped by its results through language, emotions and faith. When people believe and feel that a certain thing will happen through emotions and faith, it happens. The power of presentation of various aspects in life through a language determines the change it will create to people. Consequently, under religious knowledge method, situations in life result from believing and following a certain religious narrative, thus, practicing a religion. The knower accepts, believes and approves religious practices by following instincts in the pursuit of the nature and type of knowledge sought. The knower through faith believes wholly in that religions principles. Finally, the knowers particular devotions to emotions in following specific principles of the religion in question affect his or her perspective. Furthermore, indigenous people profile their lives through faith, beliefs and traditions emanating from ancestors. The knower must belong in a certain indigenous community and tribe; hence, his or her family shows the pursuit of knowledge is influenced by the principles of the community. Hence, in the perspectives of knowledge development, the knowers points of view are inclined to the factors that influence them under the above discussed knowledge models (Braidotti 198).

The pursuit of knowledge has been affected by the knowers perspective through personal biases in pursuit of knowledge in a new study. The knower’s knowledge has simultaneously been limited to scientists in the new field that limits personal point of view from dictating what will and will not be studied. For example, in understanding biology, one has to know it studies living things composed of cells. Conversely, scientists exclude non-living things in their biological research. Through limitation of all-encompassing theories concerning a certain subject like biology, learning is made possible because of benefits accrued to the study. However, the limitation of studies in this perspective of knowledge include expectations fail to study on viruses that do not adhere to biological rules despite the accomplishment of the criteria needed for the study of living organisms. In comparison to this case, the knowers point of view of biology that restricts knowledge has been surveyed on and gains have been made (Stanely 232). Concerning this area of study, the obstacles to the knowledge pursuit, the biological theories would be incomplete without the study of virus.

Instance of Knowledge Pursuit

In earlier studies, biases also found their origin in the knowers point of view. For example, biology was expanded from botany and zoology to molecular biology studies in 1950s, which required the inertia way of studies be conducted to overcome. During the biology revolution tide, some experts in the field of zoology or botany were left behind by maintaining their stance that the older biological methods of study were the only correct modes of learning and way of doing things in biology. Conversely, the larger group moved around into the new form of research, which led to materialization of molecular biology studies. The two groups had different opinions and pursuits of knowledge, hence, affected biological studies that are an explicit representation of the merits and demerits to knower’s search for knowledge. Thus, this point of view led to a revolution of molecular biology resistance leading to a limitation in biological studies; hence, limiting the amount of knowledge attained, which is considered relevant to biology studies. The personal point of view, therefore, broke the biological studies resistance that positively changed the biological path to a more accurate study (TOK knowledge questions n.pag).

Similarly, Dalton and the benzene structure second dealing can be used in the field of chemistry to depict how the atomic theory is differently perceived. To the Dalton, the atomic theory claims that atoms are indivisible, tiny, and indestructible particles. Consequently, according to the Greeks philosophy, atomic theory connotes that the presence of atoms because they must exist. In the case of Aristotle, terrestrial elements including fire, the earth, air, and water as stated by Democritus stated, have substances divisible to make smaller pieces out of the substance until the substance can no longer be divided further to have the pieces of the same substance, which is an atom. The theory of Aristotle was incorrect but very popular while that of Democritus was partially related to the current theory yet he was obscure and unpopular. This is a vivid indication and demonstration of how pursuit of knowledge can be retarded by the knowers perspective or personal point of view. Therefore, scientists who have better oratory abilities make their personal theories more widely acceptable than the ones with them.

The theory of Dalton has four extrapolated basic points to be noted. They include atoms that make up chemical elements, atoms of an element, which are chemically identical in each atom’s mass, and the atoms that belong to different chemical elements automatically have difference in masses, and atoms combine in concrete and small number ratios such as 1:2, 1:1; therefore, atoms can neither be destroyed or created. The point of view by Dalton shows that the philosophical statements by the Greeks must be accompanied by proves though data and experiments, which are assets in the field of chemistry, in the quest for knowledge, and this has led to development and change within the community of scientists (Hickey 34).

An examination of a question in philosophy: if a tree in the forest falls with nobody watching, the tree may be assumed not have made any sound. This experiment assumes the necessity for verification of the knowers existence by the knower that are already evident to verify that the tree fell even though there was no one to see, and it is obvious that the tree produced a loud sound due to its impact on the ground. Due to the existence of knower, it means that this fact is well understood and known (Hickey 81-9).

Counter Claims

However, some facts found and told in history, biology, and mathematics contexts do not allow the knower to shape what exists regardless of his or her point of view. For instance, considering mathematics has a language, numerous answers arrived at remain in spite of the knowers perspective. Thus, in some aspects, it is not within the knowers discretion in his or her pursuits of knowledge to determine information, understanding, and knowledge (TOK knowledge questions n.pag).

Finally, despite the highlighted disadvantages of accepting the views of knowers perspectives, because of its slow tendency to the pursuit of knowledge and lack of control in some situations like in scientific fields, the views have seemed to be assets that should be embraced in the scientific studies. Additionally, the discoveries of some scientists that were earlier shown as incorrect, have shaped and assisted the philosophers in the pursuit of knowledge with a mere knowledge of fact to carry out experiments, which challenges the traditional thoughts and methods scientific study. The knower’s perspectives in the pursuit of knowledge have prompted new thoughts and bursts of activities in the arena scientific knowledge. The reproach directed to question the source of knowledge, have aided in shaping contemporary philosophy.

Works Cited

“TOK knowledge questions – theoryofknowledge.net.” N.p., Web.

Braidotti, Rosi. Post human, All Too Human: Towards a New Process Ontology. Theory Culture. 23, (2006):197-208. 2006.

Hickey, Thomas J. Philosophy of Science: An Introduction. eBookIt.com, 2012.

Kucukcan, T. Multidimensional Approach to Religion: A Way of Looking at Religious Phenomena. Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies. 4. 10 (2010): 60-70.

Stanely, Cavell. Knowing and Acknowledging: Must We Mean What We Say? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 

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