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Skepticism: A Good Or Bad Thing?

1635 words - 7 pages

Consider this: a random doctor comes up to you, professing to have a cure for any and all kinds of viruses. He presents a syringe of the “antidote”, he has not provided background nor the results of his experimentation. Would you take the antidote? Within a person's life time, there will be various moments of skepticism. Skepticism can be both beneficial and detrimental, it can also lead to the arising of various knowledge claims. One of the ways by, which a person can gain knowledge is through their level of skepticism. Some knowledge claims that can arise as a result of too much or too little skepticism include; does this approach allow for knowledge to be gained with some degree of certainty? Is this approach to gaining knowledge reliable? Within the various areas of knowledge, the manner in which we absorb the information and knowledge provided can vary. With some areas of knowledge, the information we gain we may take in without questioning. In other areas of knowledge, we might take in the information with a grain of salt; presenting our skepticism. My thesis is that while skepticism can be a beneficial approach to gaining knowledge in the AOKs of the natural sciences and history, it can also be detrimental, based on the impact the AOK has on the person observing it, as well as the perspective of the person. The subsequent knowledge issues that arise as a result, will need to be analyzed in order for me to be able to evaluate the “skeptics” approach in the AOKs of natural science and history.
In the AOK of the natural sciences, having a skeptical approach can be quite beneficial. The natural sciences utilizes extensive methods in which they come to conclusions about the information presented, based on the various experiments done and the data that has been
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analyzed. Consider this knowledge issue: can the approach of a skeptic, be contemplated as a way to gain knowledge in the natural sciences? In my IB Biology class, we had a lab where we were required to test 16 different substances and determine whether or not they were a monosaccharide, polysaccharide, lipid or protein. Each substance was tested four times. A monosaccharide would turn pale purple, a polysaccharide; blackish purple, the protein would turn orange when boiled, and the lipid would create a grease spot on paper. In this experiment, I could not go off of prior knowledge as to what was a polysaccharide, monosaccharide, etc. Also being skeptical was beneficial when it came to exchanging results; I did not merely take the other groups results without question, I made sure that the evidence was adequate and that there was consistency. I did not just accept the results because they seemed to correlate with mine. Some would say that taking a skeptical approach, when collecting results from others, would not be the best approach, but I would disagree. Merely accepting their results, in a sense would be confirmation bias; to some extent their results matches mine and that...

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