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The possession of knowledge carries an ethical responsibility. Evaluate this claim.

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Introduction

?The possession of knowledge carries an ethical responsibility.? Evaluate this claim. The right to study and possess knowledge is a fundamental right for every human which is enshrined in nearly every single country?s constitution. However, the decisions that are made when this knowledge is applied could potentially have repercussions. At this point, ethics becomes involved in the use of knowledge. In order to evaluate the claim that the possession of knowledge carries ethical responsibility, it is important to understand ethics and knowledge in the general sense To put it simply, ethics is moral philosophy, or rationalization of conduct as either right or wrong. Normative ethics is the study of determining a moral course of action. The two most prominent ethical guidelines are Kantianism and Utilitarianism. Immanuel Kant suggested that ethics revolve around duty, rather than emotions. All actions are related to an underlying principle. Kantian thought supports the idea that the actions are justified by a set of rules outlined in Kantianism. Utilitarianism is based on the idea of a greater good. ...read more.

Middle

Experts have the responsibility to not only avoid publishing lies, but also to avoid publishing information which is not backed by research and evidence. This is the ethical responsibility of experts to refrain from misleading the public. There are situations where possessing knowledge causes no harm, but sharing it could. J. Robert Oppenheimer, ?father of the atomic bomb,? is famous for his work leading the Manhattan project. The Manhattan project was the United States nuclear weapons research during WWII and eventually produced the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war. Referring back to utilitarianism, these atomic bombs would be considered ethical because while they did result in the deaths of many innocent Japanese citizens, they saved countless more lives by ending the war quickly after 4 years of bloodshed. Nuclear research is a field where the researchers might be more inclined to withhold information to avoid unethical use. This is the only obvious ethical solution. However, this could also be considered unethical if the research could be used to improve the standard of life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Reserving knowledge can be extremely detrimental and is considered ethically wrong. It is the responsibility of knowledge holders to be a source for other people. This is shown most effectively in school. Last year, I struggled with my Spanish class and eventually decided to get a tutor. Instead of having to search for a tutor who was willing to assist me, numerous classmates approached me and offered to help. This is an example of morally just decisions by my classmates. They were never tempted to withhold information from me, and instead sought me out to share their knowledge and understanding. Ultimately, the possession of knowledge entails a responsibility to share and spread ideas. Modern ethics dictates that the decisions must be made which benefit the most while preventing harm to the rest. The right to knowledge cannot be impeded and we are ethically responsibly to distribute valid information in order to abstain from spreading falsehoods. Knowledge can be extremely powerful and purposefully misleading creates ignorance. Knowledge implies the use of cognitive processes such as perception, communication, association, and reasoning, and to betray these processes causes eternal doubt and skepticism. Therefore, the possession and distribution both carry ethical responsibilities which must be observed. Word Count: 1263 ...read more.

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