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In what ways may disagreement aid the pursuit of knowledge in natural and human sciences?

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Introduction

´╗┐TOK Essay Title: In what ways may disagreement aid the pursuit of knowledge in natural and human sciences? Disagreement is the lack of consensus or general approval amongst two or more individuals or parties. It transpires when two or more individuals have contradicting or opposing opinions. Every Individual has personal opinions and, thus, disagreement is eventually inevitable. Although most see disagreement as a negative thing and a hindrance to furthering knowledge, disagreement may actually stimulate the pursuit of knowledge. Unless disagreement occurs, people will have blind faith in every knowledge claim without testing them. Knowledge is defined as a justified true belief; however, if people have blind faith in everything they hear knowledge will simply become a belief. In my essay I will use examples from the natural and human sciences to prove that eventually disagreement will lead individuals to pursue knowledge rather than cause a hindrance to their learning. Empedocles, a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher, came up with a theory of spontaneous generation whereby life, and thus cells, are spontaneously generated and do not require pre-existing life to generate. This theory was universally accepted because nobody disagreed with it until very recently, when the French chemist and microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, decided that life can?t simply generate out of nothing and, thus, he disagreed with Empedocles? theory. ...read more.

Middle

And it has to be substantiated empirically. Today we know that the core of the earth is made of molten lava, and that its liquid state makes the tectonic plates to shift or collide with one another, thereby causing earthquakes. And anyone who disagrees to this fact is shooting arrows in the thin air purposelessly. Disagreement will prevail on most issues until some answer that is empirically substantiated is proposed in its support. In the words of Locke ?we can achieve genuine knowledge only when we have clear ideas and can trace the connection between them enough to perceive their agreement or disagreement.? In the absence of anything concrete and substantial one has to resort to epistemological expectations. But do the conventional ways of knowing are decisive always? Are they not subject to disagreement given the fact that there are so many languages and that man?s perception, emotion and reason vary individually from one person to the other. In the area of knowledge human sciences, The great philosopher Nietzsche once said,? ?that reality is absurd and unknowable, and that it is language that imparts meaning to reality. ? but I disagree with Nietzsche and think that instead of giving meaning to reality it creates bias and prejudice, and that reality is not absurd. ...read more.

Conclusion

Just disagreeing with something will not always be fruitful as we live in a world of binary opposites. If there exist sciences we have pseudo sciences as well. Every science has its corresponding pseudoscience. For example: astronomy and astrology; medicine and homeopathy; psychology and parapsychology. Seeing is not always believing. We don?t see electricity, microwaves and infrared yet we believe in them, and cannot disagree with their existence. So is the case with the god. In this essay I have elaborated on the function of disagreement with the prevailing concepts and notions. And to deal with the question if disagreement can aid the pursuit of our knowledge I answer in the affirmative. Disagreement is essential whether it is Descartes (who suggested that we doubt everything) or I. It is the prerogative of every human being to judge the things for himself and look at the things from the point of view of a scientific enquirer. However, I must say that disagreement will not always serve to out interest for everything in this universe does not bring in its train empiric evidence. Disagreement is conducive to our knowledge but to a certain extent and it is necessary that it should come equipped with the other conventional ways of knowing, as it may not always amount to something substantial standing on its own. ...read more.

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