In the process of seeking knowledge,various methods are used, including through consensus and disagreement.
Theyare two important elements that should be taken into account when consideringwhether certain knowledge is robust or not. However, are they really needed inproducing knowledge, particularly robust knowledge? What I classified as arobust knowledge is the knowledge that can be proven true and can stand on itsown against falsifications as well as criticisms. This knowledge is accepted bythe whole researchers in a particular field and has not been falsified anymore.While consensus conceptually defined asagreement achieved by the researcher community at the same conclusion. Incontrast, disagreement in my perspectiveis when the researchers have different opinions from one another and do notaccept the knowledge that is opposed to his or her. In this essay, I will discussabout whether or not these two elementsare needed in requiring robust knowledge in the two areas of knowledge,Natural Science and Arts.
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Inthe process of developing robust knowledge in the Natural Sciences field, both consensus and disagreement are needed.In order to increase the quality of knowledge, there is a must to haveconsensus because within the intellectuals, every each of them may havedifferent point of views. This is where the researchers find any lacks orunacceptable results in their research and will improve on it, hence leading tofurther research regarding certain science issues. In natural science, reasoningis very important.
That is why every theory proposed must go through times ofexperiments and if the results are constant with the previous experiments, thenit is considered as a truth. In the case of robust knowledge, it must survive againstfalsification and criticism throughout its production. An example on thismatter is Plogiston Theory, whichwas proposed by Johan Joachim Becher in 1667. Itexplained about the plogiston element that released from any combustibleobjects when they are burned. The theory has become the basis of chemistry formost of the 18th century, only until 1772 when Antoine Lavoisier found that the mass of burnedmetal was actually increasing, instead of decreasing as the plogiston wasreleased. The finding then falsified plogiston theory with Lavoisier’s theorynamed as oxidation. Plogiston’s theories that do not survive againstfalsification are then eliminated from being a robust knowledge as well as anacceptable theory.
As for the oxidation theory, it is still being used nowadaysafter going through a lot of consensus among chemists from now and then. It isclear that in the Natural Science field, robust knowledge is produced whenthere are disagreements that will lead to falsification and consensuses arealso present throughout its development.However, it is not compulsory for all robustknowledge to be developed from consensuses and disagreements. Without disagreement itself, robustknowledge can also be produced by consensus alone. It refers to theknowledge that was produced by many researches over a certain time periodwithout any disagreements between them, instead using the previous knowledge todiscover more. Quantum Theory took 62 years to be developed completely, withhaving 7 most dominant intellectuals producing it, involving two disciplines ofnatural science which are chemistry and physics. Started in 1990, Max Planckwas the pioneer researcher who suggested that radiation is quantized, or simplycomes in discrete amounts. Followed by Albert Einstein five years after that,he proposed a quantum of light specifically photon, which behaves like aparticle.
The other five main researchers in the process of developing thisrobust knowledge are Niels Bohr, WernerHeisenberg, ErwinSchroedinger, Max Born and Paul Dirac. There are many other researchers involved but whatI am highlighting is that all of them having this one similarity where they donot falsify each other instead proceed to extend the research. I believe thatnot every new founding need to be argued because is not it will only causecomplexity in developing new knowledge? Therefore, it is said to be a robustknowledge because they do not face disagreements and falsifications from anotherscientist, as well as criticism, hence proving it to be parallel to thedefinition of robust knowledge itself. In the perspective of Arts, robust knowledge can be identified if the application of the arts itself is beneficial and at the same time it is physically beautiful. They still need consensus and disagreement to increase its quality and appearance value.
This refers to the architecture discipline, where architects need to take into account not only the design, but also its function and how it will benefit its users. As an instance, in building a house, the very first thing will happen is the interaction between the architecture and his or her customers. They need to come out with the plan together, before selecting the most preference design to be used. This phase will include consensus and disagreements like when the customers are really into design, without considering the safety and proper house structure, the architecture need to refuse preceding the idea while briefly explain its drawback. The way of knowing – reason – plays a vital role here as the architect need to ensure the customers can logically deduce the relevance of rejection of the idea. Thus, it is considered as robust knowledge in the area of arts because of its reliance on consensus and disagreement as well as the fact that the arts are beneficial and beautiful.
Different from the Arts in the form of architecture, robust knowledge in visual arts do not even rely on consensus and disagreement in any condition. It is an abstract and cannot be judged fairly as everyone would have different ways of looking and interpreting visual arts. The artists’ intentions in doing arts are to share his experience and emotions, to appreciate beauty as well as to educate and moralize people.
They are the only ones who know deeply what they want to deliver, yet other individuals may appreciate the arts only for the value of beauty, but not for the message that come along with it. Banksy, an anonymous famous England-based graffiti artist who his identity just revealed a few years ago, he used arts for communication. Instead of, people know him just because of his mysterious identity and the talent itself. Only some people who managed to receive what he try to deliver, which one of them is to utilize kindness through a piece of art showing a protester throwing a bouquet of flower, not a grenade or harmful device. Do we need a discussion on this art? Of course not, according to ethics, it is individual rights to interpret it the way they want it to. Disagreement is also invalid because it only happens due to the different individual perspectives. Hence, consensus and disagreement are not relevant in the context of robust knowledge in visual arts.
Consensus and disagreement also present in developing robust knowledge related to both Natural Science and Arts, specifically music. Music is not only for the purpose of enjoyment, but it is also useful for medical purposes and even is widely used in Anglophone countries as a type of therapy. As we listen to music, are not we feel more peaceful? That is one of the usages of music. Its functions have been discussed for decades and arguments arise throughout that whole period.
Musicians discovered that music benefits people by giving tranquility and even help in treating neurological disorders in children as well as old folks since it is closely related emotions and sense perception. What happened in America was musicians went to the Veterans hospital to play music for the patient who suffered from the World War II. Artists may assume its benefits, but in order to prove it, they must go through sets of experiments and the results came out to be undeniably true.
Since the use of music in therapy purposes is no longer be denied nowadays, as well as the fact that they went through consensuses and disagreements, it is agreed that this knowledge is robust. Emotion is one element that existseverywhere, and involve in any areas of knowledge. In Natural Science, it is theemotion which triggers curiosity that leads to founding, at the same time it isthe one which interfere with the motivation and loss of hope.
While in Arts, emotioncreates arts and also judges the art piece. This leads to a knowledge question,is emotion actually a good element in the process of developing knowledge orvice versa? In my opinion, emotions can be both good and bad, depends on howthe person manages the emotion and not be controlled by it. Emotion must worktogether with reasoning as it will produce the best knowledge. To summarize everything, robustknowledge in both areas of knowledge, Natural Science and Arts, rely onconsensus and disagreement to an extent, which only applies to falsifiedknowledge and architecture. Some robust knowledge in Natural Science,specifically revolutionary theories such as Quantum Theory, needs consensussolely, with no disagreement involved. Contradictory, visual arts need none ofthem because it is an individual preference and rights in interpreting thepiece of work.
Last but not least, robust knowledge of music therapy, whichinvolves in both areas of knowledge, depends also on both consensus anddisagreement. These aspects are important elements to be taken into account inconsidering certain knowledge, whether or not it is robust, according to theirclasses of area of knowledge.