Justification individuals often respond with is skepticism. Though the

Justification

When
presented with new information the natural reaction individuals often respond
with is skepticism. Though the source of this skepticism is unclear, most
attribute it to natural evolution or conditioning by academic institutions.

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Pinpointing this behavior to one specific origin is impossible, various factors motivate
people to question new information, whether it be the level of understanding of
the individual, their perception of the available facts, and the level of
evidence available to support the information people are skeptical of new
information. This situation is, in the end, acceptable since it allows one to
explore the knowledge available more critically.

 

How knowledge
is defined varies across cultures and contexts but what it boils down to is
information acquired through experiences that enables individuals to form
understandings. A critical exploration of information
enables one to test or even validate unclear aspects in certain knowledge. The
result is the development of robust knowledge, which can be defined as
knowledge that can survive criticism and is effective in solving some of the
arising issues. The process of critical exploration involves agreements and
disagreements. These facts lead to the knowledge question, how can consensus
and disagreement affect the quality of knowledge? This essay will draw examples
from history and human science as two areas of knowledge and emotion and reason
as ways of knowing relevant to the two respective areas of knowledge and the
topic of this essay.

 

History

Agreements
and disagreements play a significant role in the development of the quality of
knowledge in history. Even when presented with the same piece of evidence there
may still be perspectives and ideas that can be explored, this ambiguity of
perspectives results in disagreements. When there are disagreements among
historians, new ideas come to life improving upon the topic being discussed. A
valid example to support this claim is the method used to record or write
history known as historiography. Norman Gash, a British historian, authored a
comprehensive empirical research, written in a more traditional style of
historiography. Despite the fact that Norman Gash is a modern historian, he
tends to defy the conventions of modern historiography as he did with his
empirical research. Other historians have also shown disagreements in the way
modern history is written. To what extent have these disagreements resulted in
improved knowledge? The historians who use the traditional historical writing
approaches think that the modern history writers do not accord to the evidence
they use. On the other hand, modern historians think that traditional
historians pay too much attention to the narrative of the past events. However,
this nature of disagreements has resulted in a group of historians who try to
merge the traits from the two research extremes to develop a more dynamic
writing approach. Driven by a varying degree of enthusiasm, this class of
historians has tried to incorporate some new perspectives into their work. A
good example is the methods used by Keith Jenkins. His approach takes into
account both methods of historiography which results in the development of
knowledge that is easier to validate and hence can stand any form of criticism.

This example shows that continued disagreements concerning the best method that
historians should use to write have resulted in the creation of a better
writing approach. Most of the twenty-first century historians have begun to
conform to the new approach of writing history. Hence, both consensus and
disagreements are important in the development of quality knowledge.

 

On the other hand, disagreements and
agreements cannot result in the development of effective knowledge. When
disagreements arise between historians, they serve to weaken the quality of
knowledge available to readers. Instead of making the current knowledge robust,
they serve to make it more useless through the development of controversies. A
valid example to support this claim is the works of Herodotus and Thucydides.

The two historians developed their work on the origins and course of war.

Herodotus sought to explain the nature and factors that caused the great
Greek-Persian war. His interests were vast as he accounted for the customs and
beliefs of the Greeks and Barbarians and their histories and further gives an
account of the floods of the Nile and the border of the world that was known
during the time of war. Thucydides, on the other hand, accounted for the wars
between Athens and Sparta in a more disciplined, methodical and constrained
approach. This historian used better approaches to cover fewer details more
extensively. Regarding evidence, the two historians were at great odds. For
example, Herodotus did not extend his evidence beyond any living memory and
hence fails to establish clear conclusions. Thucydides, on the other hand, uses
recorded information and other facts to support his ideas. This nature of
disagreements in the ways of developing evidence of historical events leads to
confusion about the best method that a scholar should use. The result is
confusion as opposed to the strengthening of historical research approaches.

 

Human
science

In human science, knowledge tends to
depend on the opinion of the scholar and as such is governed by the ways of
knowing sense perception, intuition, and
reason. Opinion is
based on agreements and disagreements about the available facts concerning the
human behavior. How do people perceive the rate and extent of industrial
revolution during the industrial development in Europe? How did their views
contribute to the understanding of the event? Phelps-Brown and Hopkins viewed
the industrial revolution as a period of dramatic economic growth based on the
data involving the salaries of artisans of 1950s and 1960s (David, 2015). Deane
and Cole disagreed with these ideas as they reported a downward development of
the GDP in the region. Other scholars who also held different views were Crafts
and Harley, who undermined the accuracy of the industrial revolution. These
economists proposed a revision on the way through which the impact of
industrial revolution should be explored. However, the ideas received a lot of
opposition from Berg and Hudson who thought that the methods used to collect
the data were not valid. The result was the development of the new research
methods that were effective and accurate. The new approaches also helped to
address all the issues raised. Therefore, the disagreements were very
instrumental in promoting the creation of better knowledge and ideas.

 

On the other hand, disagreements do not
lead to the development of knowledge in human science. Sometimes disagreements
just lead to the desertion of the ideas developed instead of facilitating the
improvement of such concepts. A valid example to support this supposition is
the new paradigm of the economic theory. David Sloan Wilson developed this
paradigm in 2016 with an aim of finding a better means to a way of explaining
the economic trend in the twenty-first century (Keith, 2015, p. 6). However,
his ideas received a great opposition from the modern economists. For instance,
it was claimed that the new paradigm of the economic theory fails to include
the evolutionary thinking into the economics. The facts that the modern
economics evolves from time to time make the modern economists believe that an
effective theory should include evolutionary thinking. The opposition to this
new theory led to its complete rejection. However, this example is not strong
since it ignores the fact that the development of the new paradigm of the
economic theory may have resulted in a revelation of new economic ideas and
hence a better understanding of the modern economics.

 

Conclusion

From the ideas presented in this study,
it is evident that concensus and disagreements lead the development of robust
knowledge. The examples used to support the main claims were effective in
showing the connection between quality of the developed knowledge and consensus
and disagreements. The example of Norman Gash shows that disagreement between
the methods of writing history resulted in the development of effective methods
of researching historical concepts. On the other hand, the examples used to
support the counter-arguments were problematical. They failed to effectively
show that the disagreements and agreements can lead to the development of
effective knowledge. For instance, it was hard for the example of David Sloan
Wilson to show that disagreement that arose never resulted in the development
of knowledge that can be trusted. Therefore, the counter-claims are weaker than
the main claims. This essay, therefore, considers the main claims for the
counterclaims.  

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