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Disagreement Aid the Pursuit of Knowledge

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1615 words Published: 10th Jul 2017

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Many people believe that disagreement is simply like a husband and wife arguing with each other about whether the dress makes her look fat. However there is a great deal more to disagreement than just conflict between two people and from understanding the notion of error, truth, mistake and belief and how they cause disagreement to occur or trying to win your claim leads to interesting knowledge. Disagreement can actually aid the way to pursuit the knowledge in the ways of knowing of reason, emotion and sense perception in the areas of knowledge of human and natural science. This essay will show you how disagreement helps to pursue knowledge.

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Is it certain that disagreement aids the pursuit of knowledge? This following example will show that it does. One disagreement in natural science that has aided us humans to know more about our universe than before came from the dispute between scientists in the Theory of Quantum. In 1905 Albert Einstein stated that Max Planck’s theory of the quantum was right and he proved his point by using an experiment with light, which showed that sometimes light acts as a wave. This shocked a lot of scientists because to them it was crazy as saying a rock acts like a wave. Niels Bohr disagrees with this idea because it went against the classical law of physics which applied to every object in that time.

This disagreement made Bohr come up with a methodology proving his idea against Einstein by using hydrogen atoms to show that light isn’t a wave. The disagreement between the two founders of quantum mechanics caused them to think further to discover more of the truth. Later Bohr’s idea of a fix equation for an atom to behavior like particle was disproven by Max Born who building on Einstein’s earlier work said that the quantum mechanics could be found by probability. However Einstein spoke strongly against this idea because he believed “God does not roll a dice” [1] and disagreeing with Born’s idea of probability which held that everything was made up by chance. “Einstein refused to accept quantum indeterminism and sought to demonstrate that the principle of indeterminacy could be violated, suggesting experiments which should permit the accurate determination of incompatible variables.” [2] Then he came up with the two slip experiment to help prove his theory by using reason. All of this back and forward arguing between scientists gave us the further knowledge of quantum mechanics bringing us closer to the real truth. By using the way of knowing reason, they experimentally proved facts to argue each other and showing way of knowing emotion, their pride made them stand for their point of view on which view of quantum was true.

Another example that really shows that disagreement aid the way to pursuit the true knowledge is disagreement between Alice Stewart and other doctor during 1950s in Oxford. Alice Stewart was trying to identify the cause of child cancer which later discovers that it is cause by X-rays during woman is pregnant. From Ted talk by Mergaret Heffernan about this story she stated that, “Alice’s daughter told me that every time Alice went head-to-head with a fellow scientist, they made her think and think and think again.” It show clearly that disagreement between Alice and her fellow scientist help them to understand the true meaning and further information into the research. [3] 

Disagreement aid the way to pursuit the true knowledge because from disagreement over the answer help scientist find more way and perspective to solve the problem. On the other hand this disagreement may not aid the way of pursuit knowledge because of the close mindedness of the people. These people will not find disagreement and aid because from viewing their own result as the real truth which then closed down all possible answer from other people. For example in the past, it is how Catholic Church believing in geocentric and strongly against all other idea of heliocentric, that was claim by Nicolaus Copernicus. From this classic example it shown that Catholic believe in geocentric because they believe that god was born in planet Earth which mean that Earth is definitely the center of the universe. They believe in this theory and even against an idea of heliocentric. Even theory of heliocentric can be proving by an observation of star.

As we have seen emotion also can play an important role in finding the truth because being scared to be proven wrong makes some people close the way to develop their idea or refuse to check their assumption so that the real knowledge of truth can’t be revealed. From the article ‘Separating The Pseudo From Science’ by Michael D.Gordin, we get a good idea on disagreement in science between science and pseudoscience. There is not a demarcation between pseudoscience and science because both areas can add to range of human knowledge. As Gordin said “If scientist uses some criterion such as peer review to demarcate, so will the fringe. The brighter the light of science-that is, the greater its cultural prestige and authority-the sharper the shadow, and the more the fringe flourishes.” [4] The pseudoscience on the fringe will expand the size of the knowledge because pseudoscience views and investigate thing from different perception than normal science. We do have to be careful that it is possible that someone who doesn’t know anything about science can claim something is scientific and true based on non-empirical evidence which can lead them off the track. We need to justify any claim by peer reviews that scientist do before we can add to our theoretical or concrete knowledge bases.

Disagreement in the human science field can be shown in the field of history which country disagreeing with each other to cause the war to happen. For example American civil war was happen from one conflict or one disagreement which is about slavery. Northern of United States claim to free and end the slavery in the country however Southern part wanted to continues with the slavery because it will affect their economic in a bad way if the slavery end. The disagreement led further to cause a war against two sides of United States. From historical point of view we can see that disagreements over time over how a war began help to find the true cause of the war. However the knowledge is not certain because of the perception of the viewer who views one country or bias one more than another. There are no absolute truth behind disagreement in human science because history can be record in hatred which causing the truth to be change. On the other hand it may not help to find the absolute truth but from using disagreement help to increase and change the way to approach which can help to discover some knowledge behind.

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For me the most interesting areas where disagreement aids the pursuit of information are in the areas of knowledge of mathematics and human science. Disagreeing with teacher over either answer was correct or not help to pursuit more knowledge on mathematic than normal because from this I can understand more on how to solve the question by looking at why am I wrong or finding prove to show why I am right. There are a lot of formula and way to solve the question so it is certain by discussing with teacher and sharing our different views, he and I can help each other learn that even though the formula or method isn’t the same but the answer in the end is the same.

In human science there is a lot of disagreement, because human can understand each other behavior more through sense perception and emotion than by scientific evidence. This lack of hard proves easy lead to an argument. From my experience people will start to know each other more and more when they are disagreeing with each other because it is our human nature to control ourselves and present the information in the best possible way. If that isn’t their real behavior, the real behavior will be revealed when they are face with strong rapid change of emotion from arguing with other people. On the other hand in some situation arguing with other people will not lead to knowing each other more but lead into destruction of friendship.

Disagreement in both human science and natural science can aid the pursuit of knowledge like in the way like Einstein and Bohr arguing to discovered quantum mechanics through the argument between themselves and how historian discover the meaning and the purpose of history by learning about disagreement which led to war between country. However this knowledge that came from disagreement may be not the real truth for everything because ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’ are not same, like each scientists and historians view thing in different point of view. So everyone must freely look at both sides. Disagreement can help the pursuit the knowledge if we have the reason and right emotions to be open minded enough to listen to other people ideas and accepts the fact that they also can be saying the ‘truth’ from another perception.


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