Victoria Park Collegiate Institute: International Baccalaureate Program
Topic 4: “That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow.” Consider knowledge issues raised by this statement in two areas of knowledge.
Name: Rosie Chen
Course: HZT4U7 PM
Due Date: Thursday May 15, 2014
Date Submitted: Tuesday May 20, 2014
Page count (word count): 5 pages + citations (1489 words)
Thursday, May 15, 2014
“That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow.” Consider knowledge issues raised by this statement in two areas of knowledge.
Knowledge is a social construct, and thereby this statement is true due to human nature, but to what extent is our knowledge a product of society (and thus is always in transition) because of the drive and curiosity of humans? The revision process is simply a way of keeping ourselves in control over what we know in a systematic way. Knowledge is in a constant state of change because our ideas and thoughts change as we grow, influenced by our education and our experiences. While this statement holds true, there are a number of knowledge issues that arise due to its ambiguity, and the conditions and methods of stimulating a change in accepted knowledge must be considered.
What we constitute as “knowledge” is fundamental in trying to understand this quote. Though “knowledge” is often associated with objectivity, our ways of knowing give rise to subjectivity that directly influences how humans deal with knowledge. Is practical knowledge more important than theoretical knowledge? If I learn how to solve a specific physics problem in a hands-on situation that uses my personal ways of knowing, I understand it better because I have practiced it and worked it out for myself. If Ms. Torrie were to tweak the problem by changing a step or adding variables, however, I may not be able to solve it. Learning the theories and concepts behind it allows me to apply it to a variety of problems. Evidently, knowledge and how it is acquired is multidimensional. It is difficult to generalize knowledge and prioritize it; all knowledge must work in conjunction to achieve a greater understanding of our reality. Why, then, do we see that certain areas of knowledge undergo revision much more often? We seem to search for more “concrete” and “systematic” knowledge in an area of knowledge such as the natural sciences, where the knowledge often provides “certainty” in our perceived realities, but we should focus just as much on history, where there is not only knowledge of the past, but of the present and future as well.
Sometimes, knowledge is revised out of necessity because new evidence does not fit a current theory. The natural sciences are very much paradigmatic in nature. As outlined by Thomas Kuhn, the natural sciences are revolutionary as opposed to “normal”; Kuhn argues that in “normal science”, scientific progress is limited...