The Possession Of Knowledge Case Study

1358 Words 6 Pages
Most people believe that those who know most about a situation should be the one making decisions about it. The prescribed title, “The possession of knowledge carries an ethical responsibility” specifically addresses the moral implication of having that knowledge. To thoroughly discuss this prescribed title, four knowledge questions must be answered, the chief amongst them being “Do those in power hold an ethical responsibility to those they can impact?” And, its answer is that yes, based on a utilitarianist viewpoint one in power has a moral obligation to generate the most happiness amongst those impacted by his/her power. Three related knowledge questions are: “How is knowledge related to power”, “To what extent should trends in human behavior …show more content…
A postmodernist approach which is often characterized by a skeptical and cynical approach to knowledge, to this statement comes from Michael Foucault. Foucault argues that knowledge is simply used as power to influence others thus; people only gain knowledge for the sole purpose of gaining power. He says that “the goals of power and the goals of knowledge cannot be separated: in knowing we control and in controlling we know”. This concept can be illustrated in the biological sciences through the controversial topic of DNA databases, which I wrote a persuasive paper on for a practice SAT test. This DNA database would be a database the government would be in control of which would hold the DNA of everyone in the nation. The DNA of someone could tell you what diseases run in their family, what they prefer to eat, and essentially any intimate detail about them. I argued that this knowledge gives the government too much power over its citizens. Power, here, is defined as the ability to influence others. With this knowledge, governments could potentially manipulate their citizens in whatever way they pleased because the government would possess the knowledge (and its accompanying power) that the DNA database provides. This example from the natural sciences proves the notion that knowledge does equate to power as knowing things gives the knower the ability to influence others. That power …show more content…
The ethical responsibility of possessing knowledge does not always have to manifest itself in a logical response or reaction, but can also manifest itself emotional feelings such as guilt, sadness, and empathy. My first example will demonstrate the former way ethical responsibility can be manifested. Earlier in the year, my lab partner, Patrick, and I were completing a laboratory experiment in chemistry. When we began, I noticed that he was not wearing his safety goggles. This was a hazard in the lab as we were working with chemicals that I knew were dangerous if they came into direct contact with us. As someone who follows a utilitarianist viewpoint of ethics, I saw the potential danger in Patrick, who was unaware of the danger of the chemicals, not wearing his goggles and was morally obligated to tell him to put his goggles on because inaction could lead to a negative outcome. This example illustrates a time where ethical responsibility resulting from knowledge can be shown by a reasoned response. On the other hand, ethical responsibility can be seen through emotion. Currently, there is a large problem of human trafficking in nations such as China, Russia, and Uzbekistan. From a utilitarianist viewpoint, human trafficking generally produces a net negative outcome for those involved and is thus an immoral act. My possession of this knowledge of human trafficking rampant in

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