• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


?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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. persuasive speech on nuclear weapons

    A cell can repair certain levels of damage in its chromosomal DNA, especially in low levels of damage. It may cause proliferation of abnormal cells, which then form a cancer. Such cancers will generally take many cell generations to develop and it may be several decades before the cancer is detected.

  2. How important are the opinions of experts in the search for knowledge?

    Through simple calculations of the theorem, we can instantly know that a right-angled triangle of adjacent sides of length 7 and 5 respectively will always and for sure have a hypotenuse of length units length. This piece of knowledge was obtained from a general theorem, which was originally deducted from

  1. Examine the Claim That It Is Possible to Attain Knowledge Despite Problems of Bias ...

    and if they think they know what they want already, they will look for evidence that can confirm their assumed hypothesis. This is called the confirmation bias. So evidently, facts in natural sciences are usually the biased and selected results of a could-be-false hypothesis.

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

    Knowledge can be acquired in many different ways. But the knowledge that a person knows may not always be right. Sometimes experience can be blurred by memory, the senses can be distorted by perception, and knowledge from others may not always be the correct knowledge. So this then becomes an issue of how to know which knowledge is credible and which is not.

  1. Does the possession of knowledge carry an ethical responsibility?

    America was in a state of war during the development of the atomic bomb. Pearl Harbor had been bombed to shreds by the Japanese, with total casualties numbering up to thousands. As a means of justice, a concept of moral rightness, the idea of fair and equal treatment, the development of the atomic bomb can arguably be considered ethical.

  2. The Possession of Knowledge Carries an Ethical Responsibility (TOK essay)

    Upon their arrival, tens of thousands of natives suffered disease, death, and slavery due to the arrival of the foreigners. The merging of the cultures caused social clashes, wars, overthrown empires and the spread of small pox and other harmful diseases. This conflict was caused by a lack of knowledge.

  1. TOK speech - Knowledge Issue: To what extent is the use of a dead ...

    believe that there is an afterlife with the Gods, so they reasoned that a person would need his body with him. They therefore developed a method of preserving, or embalming, bodies to make mummies. The dead person?s brains and the rest of his body organs were sealed in separate jars

  2. We want to investigate on whether the development of computer technology brings more positive ...

    When the Internet user requests for a banned website that contains content that the Chinese government disapproves of, a false ?time-out? error indication without any explanation appears on the screen and further prevents the user from going to other banned websites.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work