For those whoagree or disagree it is the exchange of ideas that broadens all of ourknowledge~ Richard Eastman1The quote aboveindicates that the knowledge that is agreed or disagreed upon helps in creatinga stronger knowledge for everyone. When the quote is given a glance, it canbe inferred how agreeing or disagreeing can affect the shared knowledge,but when the quote is deeply analysed it can be understood that whenagreement or disagreement takes place the knowledge that has consensus ordisagreement turns itself to be more valuable or robust for everyone, helpingin expanding the knowledge that we have. We are taught many different things through our educationalyears; the learning never stops.
The knowledge that we gain; we accept itbecause it is written by experts, but is the knowledge that we get alwaysrobust knowledge? Is the knowledge always agreed upon or people candisagree on it to make it robust? Towhat extent consensus and disagreement help in creating robust knowledge? The questioncan be explored by first understanding the key terms. Robust knowledge, to me, means the knowledge that we gain throughsturdy constructed2and logical reasons. The term consensuscan be explained as when the experts in their respective field agrees on theknowledge that has been raised. Disagreementin simple terms occurs when the knowledge presents itself to be conflicting forsome experts, leading to be questioned. Experts are people who possess specialisedskills and knowledge in their particular field.
All of our Theory of Knowledge classes have accepted theclaims and the counter claims that a student makes over a particular issue ortopic, this helps in identifying the various perspectives on the issue ortopic. These consensus and disagreements have helped in understanding the issueor the topic better. However, when some particular Areas of Knowledge areconsidered different perspective seems to surface. The knowledge is notalways having consensus or disagreement both. Human Sciences and Natural Sciencespresent the possibility of knowledge being independent of consensus ordisagreement. In human sciences, when the economiststalk about the terms: economic growth and economic development they tend to bein consensus that the two terms are in fact distinguishable. and when talkingabout their distinction and that they are important for a country and policiesshould be implemented to make them effective.
Economic growth is when theoutput of a country increases overtime whereas Economic development is when theliving standards of a country rises. The consensus in this example comesthrough the reason provided by theexperts. The disagreement however, arises when the implementation of thesepolicies has to be taken into consideration, economists argue that should theimplementation of growth be the priority? Does economic growth will always leadto economic development? These disagreements result in a more diverse androbust knowledge. Economists also believed that economic growth always lead toeconomic development. But, through the course of time and extensive questioningand observation, this belief was countered by other economists. During late1960s and early 1970s, it was observed that few countries (especially some oil-rich countries) were experiencing economicgrowth but not economic development.
Through observing this pattern, economistsstarted questioning and disagreeing with the previous believes. Now, theopposite of the above belief is considered to be true, that economic growthneed not necessarily lead to economic development. Acountry experiencing economic growth may not undergo economic development.Through the course of time, the definition of economic development came to beinterpreted differently and a different perspective was adopted to look at theoverall standard of living in an economy from a broader and more precise angle. Earlier, economic development was believed to be dependantonly on economic growth. But through disagreement and proposals of newtheories, economic development is now based on many new factors and aspects.This shows how through disagreement of one economic belief, more robust andin-depth knowledge of that area in economics was acquired by experts.
Sigmund Freudand Carl Jung, the two renowned experts in the field of psychology. One of the varyingviews they had was on the people’s dream. They had different theories about thedata perceived by our senses processed in our mind.
There are two parts of ourmind, the unconscious and the conscious, Freud believed that from theunconscious mind people can be know better and believed that we do not actaccording to our desires because of the conscious mind. When a person dreamsthe unconscious mind takes over and we dream about the desires that we have,Freud just looked at these desires through sexual way meaning the desires areonly sexual and nothing else this is where Jung disagreed he believed thatdesires are not just sexual and the dreams can have different meanings too.Jung believed that the dreams can help to anticipate the future whereas Freudbelieved that dreams only show past or the sexual desires. Dreams can be usedto find out the solutions of the problems what a person has, was Jung’s stancebut Freud thought that dreams just makes the person sleep more. These twoexperts may have disagreed upon the dreams of a person but in today’s worldboth of their views are respected and used in the field of psychology, they mayhave disagreed by presenting contradicting views but ultimately this resultedin the creation of a more robust knowledge giving the people to understand bothaspects of their dreams. Additionally,in Natural Sciences the experts can have different thoughts about how the worldworks and what elements are presentin the world also the experts devise many theories which helps us understandmore about the world. The atomic theory which was first introduced byJohn Dalton in the year 1803 with an oral presentation and a publication in1805, many experts had given theories which Dalton used in his model to givesubstantive evidence, the experts before Dalton did not find out about atom butstill helped Dalton to build upon them and through experimentation was able toprove the smallest particle ‘atoms’ existence. The experts agreed on Dalton’satomic structure until it was falsified by J.
J. Thompson and Ernest Rutherfordwhen they found out about the electron having a negative charge which was apart inside the atom thus, making it the smallest particle. J.J. Thompson alsocreated the plum pudding model which was in hope to create an electricallyneutral atom but Thompson’s student Rutherford falsified the plum pudding modelin 1911 by finding out that an atom contains a positive charge and most of theatoms mass is in the centre/nucleus. By Rutherford identifying the proton andneutron it was Henry Moseley who changed the way the periodic table wasarranged by seeing the x-ray emissions of the elements, the periodic table wasthen arranged according to the atomic number instead of the atomic mass, whichis the periodic table we currently use.
In natural sciences the theory or lawis in consensus by the experts until and unless someone falsifies it, once itis falsified the disagreements starts to happen which causes the new theory orlaw to be developed and accepted. These falsifications take place when theexperimentation gives a different result from the last time, the observationsthat are made can be have errors because the observation is based on humansense perception and our senses cannot always be reliable. This all signifiesthe historical development of the theories and laws with the increasingadvancement of technology. The latest andthe widely accepted atomic model is the Bohr’s Model created by Niels Bohr whoimproved the Rutherford’s model by explaining the emission and the absorptionspectra and also why the electrons do not crash into the nucleus. Now thismodel replaced the previous model by advancements in it and by more detailedexplanation and analysis of the structure. The experts are in consensus aboutthis model and is used by the experts till now.
The first model was created in1803 which lacked many explanations that we now know about, the continuousprogress of the model has historically developed a lot and can further bedeveloped with the new thinking and by disagreements of the experts orconsensus of the experts on the atomic model. It may happen that someone mayimprove the Bohr’s model resulting in a newer model which can be in consensusby the experts. Natural Sciences tend to be in consensus until and unlesssomeone falsifies the theory or law however, the disagreements exist with thecourse of time as the experts understand more about the theory or law and canquestion on its very proof.Concludingly, thecreation of robust knowledge does not always depend on the consensus ordisagreements that the experts have on a claim raised, but the creation ofrobust knowledge can also be dependent on the course of time. The claim orfindings put up by an expert can be accepted by the other experts for aparticular time, it may happen that the claim or findings had a limitationwhich was solved with the course of time.
As mentioned about human sciences,people used to believe that economic growth always leads to economicdevelopment but as the time passed people realised that economic developmentdoes depend on various other factors. Just as is the case of natural sciences,until and unless a theory is falsified it is accepted by the experts but withthe advancements in technology and better observations the findings can givedifferent and improved results leading to a new or more improved theory to beaccepted. The claims and counterclaims put up from both the areas of knowledgereflect that sometimes the knowledge does not exist without consensus ordisagreement whereas sometimes the knowledge can exist with only consensus ordisagreement.1 http://foodforthought.barthel.eu/quotes/(10th November)2 http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-definition/robust%20knowledge