Ib Theory Of Knowledge: Consider The Extent To Which Knowledge Issues In Ethics Are Similar To Those In At Least One Other Area Of Knowledge.

1674 words - 7 pages

Session Number: 000793003 Session Number: 000793003

Julia Wuestefeld

TOK Essay

Topic One - Consider the extent to which knowledge issues in ethics are similar to those in at least one other area of knowledge.

Word Count: 1595

Topic One - Consider the extent to which knowledge issues in ethics are similar to those in at least one other area of knowledge.It seems natural to assume that knowledge cannot be treated similarly in different areas of knowledge (AOK): Natural science and mathematics are more reliable areas of knowledge than ethics, for example, because a claim's line of thought can be more objectively tracked. We place great value on the kinds of methods used to collect data in the area of science, for the quantitative numeric representation is universal and objective. It seems to be the case that the natural sciences are free of uncertainty and error. However, this is not necessarily true. An individual knowledge claim or a full-blown theory proposed in the area of natural sciences may be wrong or incomplete despite the use of quantifiable data. Many think that science only uses the way of knowing (WOK) of reason to reach clear-cut conclusions, but unlike common belief, knowledge claims in the area of natural science are not free from the implications of language and emotion. Similar to the area of ethics, the natural sciences are also, to some extent, prone to knowledge issues (KI) that derive from the previously mentioned WOK's, language and emotion.Language is a possible pit-fall when dealing with the acquisition of knowledge in the area of ethics (Appiah 44). When two people have a disagreement in the area of ethics, it may be because that they hold different definitions of the subject they are discussing. For example, if two people have dissimilar opinions concerning the morality of murder, it may be due to a distinction in the definition they hold true. One person may believe murder is immoral, defining murder as the premeditated killing of another person - while another person may believe it is acceptable, defining it as the act of killing another person, even if in self-defence. Here is an example of two people that disagree on the morality of murder, but this issue occurs because each has their own interpretation of the word. Therefore, one may notice how language, or more precisely the definition of the word "murder", may cause knowledge issues in ethics.Despite popular belief, language to some extent also shapes the way knowledge is acquired in the sciences. For example, the word "mass" can cause confusion when dealing with different branches of physics. It is taught in Newtonian mechanics that in a system there is a conservation of mass, such that there is no creation or deletion of mass (i.e. Law of Conservation of Mass). In this case, Newton defined "mass" as matter. However this claim was disproved by Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, in which mass was found to convert into energy. Hence, the word "mass"...

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