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“The possession of knowledge carries an ethical responsibility.” Evaluate this claim.
1. What is the prompt asking?
- What do you do with the knowledge you have? Are there are moral duties attached to having knowledge about anything? To what extent does EVERY piece of knowledge carry an ethical responsibility *this may be knowledge that many people know, or knowledge that few people/nobody else knows -“With great power comes great responsibility”
-What kind of ethical repercussions come with more knowledge (scientific advancements, new discoveries, etc.) -Does the possessor of knowledge have to act on their knowledge in an ethical way? (i.e. if you know something, are you obligated to act upon it—like crime investigations) -Whose responsibility is it? (to use knowledge)
-Evaluate: give the pros and cons
Strengths and limitations (AGREE)
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – who has the right/responsibility to have knowledge; how do they decide what to do with it? Who will benefit from having knowledge? Is there such a thing as TOO much knowledge? Mrs. Rosen notes: you could address these questions as implications but they are not specifically what the claim is asking Does knowledge carry an ethical responsibility?
What is the responsibility of knowing things?
2. What pitfalls must you watch out for?
- What TYPE of knowledge
- Staying on the surface and just talking about immoral vs. moral, or going into the different pillars and making the essay just sound like a list of all of the approaches to answering an ethical issue. agree agree - Going into other areas of knowledge would be difficult, because the question forces us to focus on ETHICS (choosing two or three AoK first, then evaluate ethical responsibility THROUGH those AoK’s) Mrs. Rosen definitely agrees! - The word “evaluate” is tricky, what does it really mean? Strengths and weaknesses? What else should you say? - generalizing on the word knowledge, is it ANY random type of knowledge or knowledge specifically dealing with ?? -Make sure to evaluate BOTH sides of the argument (so as not to favour one side or another) agree Don’t let the “ethics” get you down. But although there are many pitfalls, this is a relatively easy concept to grasp. But there is a lot to write about, so the biggest difficulty is having to narrow it down.
Make sure to not only just evaluate but include implications as well Don't limit yourself to ethics as a AOK. (Don’t make it an ethical debate) Avoid simply listing examples and not analyzing them
Mrs. Rosen adds: Don’t turn into an either-or essay. Consider ‘to what extent’. Ensure your examples are unique and not just clichés. THE BIGGEST PITFALL IS THE TEMPTATION TO USE HYPOTHETICALS (if a man sees someone commit a murder, he should …) DON’T!
3. What would you have to define?
- ethical responsibility Mrs. Rosen says, you might need to separate the two! - evaluate Mrs. Rosen says, only so you know what to do, but not in order to include a definition in the essay itself - defining what the statement means (possession of many person’s knowledge or the knowledge of a few people) -WHAT COUNTS AS KNOWLEDGE?
Knowledge, truth, ethical responsibility, biases, possession, carries, Mrs. Rosen reminds you, not all definitions call for actual ‘definitions’! With ‘carries’, for instance, it’s more being clear on how you will use it, rather than including a definition. Note especially for ‘ethical’ to go beyond a dictionary definition – consider a definition from the field (and, as your essay progresses, and once you choose your AofKs, what do experts in EACH field think about ethical responsibilities?)
4. What real-life examples / AofK / WoK come to mind to use with this question? - Natural Sciences, example: genetic screening of one’s DNA for probability of diseases - Possessing knowledge of location/existence of population that...