Knowledge Quality Test During Paradigm Shift

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Knowledge can be defined as a belief that is true and justified, or by the awareness gained by an experience. In this essay we will be defining knowledge as the understanding of or information about a subject that you get by experience or study, either known by one person or by people generally . Quality can also be defined as the standard of something measured against something of similar nature. We will also be assuming that by accepting knowledge is to believe that it is true, that it is valid. Knowledge was once all written in a book called the Book of Knowledge, but now can be found everywhere; in books, in media, by speech. Best will also be defined as something to the highest degree, the best way of measuring the quality of knowledge is by the amount of people that accept it. There are many areas of knowledge in the past that people have accepted but have later been proven otherwise. This is a standard, as we are constantly discovering news theories, inventing new machines that prove the old theories otherwise. The quality of knowledge can be very relevant, but sometime knowledge that is less well-known and accepted can be the most valuable type of knowledge. One of those areas of knowledge can be the natural sciences, more specifically the paradigm shift.

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An example of the quality of knowledge being tested in the paradigm shift. A paradigm is a model of something or a pattern, in this case it is a shift in the pattern. Thomas Kuhn, a physicist, philosopher and historian of science became one of the most important scientist and philosopher of the 20th century. He transformed the way many people thought. His book was all about challenging what the wider population perceived ‘normal’ science. 

An example of a paradigm shift in natural sciences was the transition from the Ptolemaic model to the Copernican. This model was developed by Claudius Ptolemaeus, a Heliocentric astronomer in the 2nd century. The theory was a geocentric model and stated that the earth is stationary, at the centre of the universe and that the planets are moving in epicyclic orbits within the surrounding concentric spheres. The expectation of the ancient population was the sun, moon and planets must move around earth in a perfect circle. However, this did not happen, the orbit was not circular. The Ptolemy model could explain this by postulating the irregular movements of the orbit were due to the several regular circular motions seen from earth. For years people believed that this Ptolemy model was correct, never once did someone question its validity, until Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, he put forwards a radical new theory. This was the start of the Copernican Revolution. He suggested that the reason why the stars were orbiting around the earth was because in fact the earth was moving on an axis. Copernican was a very well-respected churchman and his views of the Vatican on the earth position in the universe would be a difficult task. In proposing this theory, not only was he trying to change everyone’s view on the earth but would also be a breakthrough in scientific history. He was challenging the orthodox views of the church and turn into a scientific view. For over 30 years he feared what would happen if he told the church his views on the universe, he kept them secret. There were not many people who knew his theory, not believed his theory, but the quality of this knowledge was immense. It changed the way science works. The quality of this knowledge was not at all affected by the amount of people that believed it.

Contrary to this, Alfred Wegener, a German polar researcher, geophysicist and meteorologist was not believed until many more people backed him. Looking back now Wegener was instrumental in the understanding of how the earth works, but not many people believed that his theories were correct. One of his most memorable discoveries was the continental drift theory. He first thought of this theory we he noticed that the world almost fit together like puzzle pieces. From 1912, he advocated the continental drift arguing that all the continents were once together in a single landmass and have not drifted apart. Whilst there was still a huge amount of observational data supporting his theory, his mathematical calculations were wrong. This made the wider population and scientists apprehensive towards his theory. His early theory was supported by a few scientists, his hypothesis was questionable. In was in the 1950’s when more scientists researched the continental drift was when the wider population started accepting this theory as the truth. In this case the more scientists believed in this theory, the more it is accepted and more the quality increased.        

There are many areas of knowledge in the past that people have accepted but have later been proven otherwise. This is a standard, as we are constantly discovering news theories, inventing new machines that prove the old theories otherwise. The quality of knowledge can be very relevant, but sometime knowledge that is less well-known and accepted can be the most valuable type of knowledge. One of those areas of knowledge can be the natural sciences, more specifically the paradigm shift.

07 July 2022

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