TOK EssayQ.”Robust knowledge requires both consensus and disagreement.” Discuss this claimwith reference to two areas of knowledge.Robustrefers to the knowledge which is strong, sturdy and resilient to change.Arguing whether knowledge can be accepted or claimed as knowledge, requires acommon agreement by authorities. Nonetheless, aspects that a specific theorydoes not address are highlighted by criticism and disagreement.
Moreover,robust knowledge can be produced by reasoning as a predominant way of knowingin the natural sciences along with deductive reasoning of hypotheses as amethod. Other ways of knowing such as faith plays an important role as theknowledge produced by certain authority may be more credible than the otherirrespective of the reasoning. This can in turn reduce the accuracy of theknowledge produced. However, the credibility of the authority increases the reliability.This arises questions such as whether robust knowledge is more accurate or morereliable. Does the Area of knowledge affect the robustness of knowledge? Orwhether different ways of knowing in an area of knowledge affect the accuracyin return affecting the robustness.
Innatural sciences, hypothesis evokes disagreement but does the disagreement in NS always produce a knowledge that is robustin nature? Disagreement is directly linked to lack of reasoning andunintuitive knowledge produced. Ideally, a hypothesis undergoes deductivereasoning after which it is replicated and verified. However, this cannot bereplicated in each and every case which increases the scope of criticism. Ontop of this, counter intuitive hypotheses are less credited as well. In 1781,William Herschel, a British astronomer hypothesized that the sun was inhabitedbased on the fact that he had observed rings around the sun. Not only was heunable to prove it, but his claim was rather far too counterintuitive and hencewas refuted. Since sense perception played a major role in the thought processof Herschel, it was rather unreliable due to the inability to reason it. Hencehis sense perception steered his mind to hypothesize his claim, disregardingother factors such as the mere possibility of such an event occurring or hissense perception being deceptive.
This directly relates to how lack ofconsensus whereas extensive disagreement does not lead to robust knowledge. Onthe contrary, if a certain claim made by an authority is unintuitive butjustified with reasoning, it can aid in knowledge production. In string theory,quantum physics, a law is used stating that the sum of all natural numbers isshockingly . Thisresult is used in areas of string theory and other areas of quantum mechanics.
Even though intuitively the answer to this sequence should be infinity, thishas been proved by the Riemann Zeta Function. Hence it is not necessary that acounterintuitive yet reasoned claim has to be criticised but can be widely acceptedinstead. However, there must be justification without which the hypothesis doesnot satisfy the results obtained. To sum up, The AOK of natural sciencerevolves around justification of a claim irrespective of the nature of theclaim i.e. whether it is intuitive or not, with relevant justification it canbe accepted and disagreement can be avoided. This shows that even though thetheory received a lot of criticism it is still widely acceptable showing itssturdiness.
Theknowledge framework in the AOK of history revolves around justifying theevidences found and formulating plausible explanations. However, Can there be robustness even withoutconsensus or disagreement? Since History is based on the past andarchaeologists base their theories on the excavations and evidences found. Theknowledge produced is based on the matter of acceptability and interpretations.The lack of acceptability will cause disagreement amongst authorities. In thenatural sciences where the process of reasoning and justification doesn’t startfrom scratch since past experimentations help steer the knowledge production inthe right way. Unlike the natural sciences, knowledge production in History isstarted over from the beginning.
The several theories about the end of the Indusvalley civilisation prove the ambiguity in the AOK of history. It took severalyears to find possible reasons due to the level of disagreement that wasunderlying the progression of knowledge production. On the other hand, Eventhough disagreement decelerates the knowledge production, it still aids infinding accurate knowledge. The Taj Mahal, also known as Queen Mumtaz’s tomb,was originally believed to be an ancient temple palace of Lord Shiva. This wasdisproved by analysing the quality of the marble and its origin upon which thistheory was corrected.
Hence even though the disagreement may slow down theprocess, it certainly drives the knowledge production to produce robustknowledge. Even though history revolves around interpretations, there is a greatlevel of analysis and documentation that governs this AOK. Hence, disagreementmay not be as prevalent in knowledge production in History as an AOK. Consensusplays an important role in acceptance of knowledge but to what extent does theutility, acceptability and application of knowledge make it robust? The newton’s theory of gravity was heldstrong for decades till Einstein’s theory overpowered.
However, it was the lackof consensus which resisted the approval of Einstein’s theory. This denial ledto slowing down the progression of the theory of gravity. However ArthurEddington convinced the authorities by reasoning, experimentation andjustification that Einstein’s theory was more accurate than that of Newton.Both, consensus between Arthur Eddington and the relevant authorities as wellas initial disagreement in Einstein’s theory led to the vigorous testing andexperimentation. This helped strengthen the idea of gravity making it far morerobust. However, consensus may not require disagreement in production ofknowledge. Wilson Greatbatch was working on an oscillator to record the heartsounds in the late 1950s and accidentally put a wrong resistor.
This made thedevice give rhythmic electrical pulses which could be used to regulate aheartbeat making a pacemaker. Hence it is not necessary for disagreement tocoexist with consensus to produce robust knowledge. Moreover, severalscientific research like this were conducted based on imagination and suddenthoughts that evoked the will to conduct experiments. To conclude, criticisingtheories in natural science isn’t always needed to produce accurate knowledge. Onthe other hand History as an area of knowledge, depending on interpretationscan include other factors for knowledge production. Does the method of the knowledge s produced affect the robustness? WOKssuch as sense perception, intuition, faith and to an extent act as a majorfactor based on which knowledge is produced. For example, historians identifiedthat whales have evolved from a land mammal.
This was deduced based onintuition since both are mammals, reasoning based on the evidence found etc.However, without consensus, the claim would’ve not been justified and widelyaccepted as it is today. On the opposite side, WOKs may not need consensus.
Ifa theory is held to be very rigid and strong having very less scope forinterpretation, it can lead to robust knowledge as well since this reduces theambiguity that could underlie within the knowledge formed in this AOK. This canbe linked back to the knowledge question by proving that consensus in historyrelies on acceptability of authorities in the presence of sufficient data usedfor reasoning and justification. Hence, consensus is heavily affected by theWOKs that govern this AOK since the only scope of analysis is by variousinterpretations which are derived from the sense perception followed byjustification of the evidence.Toconclude robust knowledge does require both, consensus as well as disagreementin a specific ratio such that they both are proportional and required to takeinto account every aspect of the research before the data has been exponent.However, consensus may not always play a role hand in hand with disagreementsince there are several cases where the way in which knowledge is produced isnot taken much into account the anomalous cases In the Natural sciences.Moreover, producing robust knowledge can be equally affected by the WOKs inboth the areas of knowledge, Natural sciences and History. However, without therelevant reasoning, knowledge produced with the help of various ways of knowingis not advantageous.
Moreover, the knowledge produced highly depends on theacceptability and verifiability of knowledge since the knowledge produced mustbe applicable and be used in various scenarios and not be limited to onereal-life example.References1) Chmarsh,E. C. (n.
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