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There are many definitions of what Robust knowledge can be. I will refer to robust knowledge as knowledge which is the most accurate at any one point. I will assess whether robust knowledge in the areas of ethics and the natural sciences can occur without both consensus and disagreement. Consensus is not necessarily the greatest determinant in robust knowledge, this is because when consensus occurs around an event which has been affected by a confirmation bias the knowledge generated can be incorrect. This can be seen most prominently in London recently in Oxford Street where there was a consensus among thousands shopping that there was a gun shot and it led to mass panic. In reality there was no gun shot but as a result of increased number of terrorist attacks on western cities people are more susceptible to believe in the attack adding to the element of confirmation bias. This shows that consensus doesn’t always lead to robust knowledge. This justifies why there needs to be some levels of disagreement when determining whether knowledge can be deemed as robust or not. I will determine with regard to the natural sciences, if there is both consensus and is agreement within peer review and whether this makes the knowledge more robust and then assessing similarly ethics with regard to the knowledge created by the disagreement between the two main branches of ethics : utilitarianism and deontology. Firstly I will address whether scientific knowledge requires both consensus and disagreement through the process of peer review. This is a multi-stepped approach to producing the most robust knowledge possible. This comes about as a result of one scientist disagreeing with a certain aspect or the whole theory and then developing new ideas and theories which are more robust. This new knowledge will again be peer reviewed and if as a result of this a consensus can result then it would be true that as a result of disagreement and consensus can then be formed and the new knowledge generated is robust. In this method the two process appear to be happening separately of one another however it is when they occur simultaneously when the most knowledge is produced. This can be seen in the Thompson theory of the atom  , he stated that the electrons and protons were occupying the same space within the atom floating around each other. However after disagreement to the theory, it was later discovered to be wrong. The disagreement with his knowledge claim allowed for new concepts to be discovered meaning that the new model created was more robust as a result of the fact that based upon the work of Thompson the model was able to be changed to a more precise version.This shows that the disagreement following on from the consensus which had taken place for many years led to much more robust knowledge. However this also underlines the issue that just because there is consensus does not mean that the knowledge is robust. This can also be seen in the discovery of the real cause behind peptic ulcers, in the 20th century many doctors believed that they formed as a result of stress. There was much consensus within the scientific community and as a result doctors prescribed people with antacids and told to remove stress from their lives. However in the 1980s Barry Marshal disagreed with this long believed claim and after some clinical research he discovered that the bacterium H. Pylori  was responsible . It is clear from this case that consensus and  disagreement especially within the natural sciences can lead to the production of more robust knowledge. Now I will address whether ethical knowledge requires both consensus and disagreement. I will examine the areas within ethics of deontology and utilitarianism. Deontology is the approach to ethics which focuses on the goodness of the action not the goodness of the consequence. Utilitarianism is the approach to ethics which focuses on the holistic goodness of the result not necessarily the goodness of the action. Here the are two opposing views in which there will never be consensus between the two main ethical groups due to the fact that they are direct opposites. As a result of this robust knowledge within ethics is hard to come by as there is not one definitive right ethical set of rules. The Trolley problem which was popularised by Philippa Foot  , is an experiment which compares two situations the first where a person is riding a train on one track there are 5 people tied down on the other track 1 person.Compared to a situation where a doctor can kill one patient to save five others who need organ transplants. Deontologists will choose to kill the one person on the train track and let the 5 patients die instead of killing them to save the others, because the action of killing creates sadness. Where as Utilitarians will agree on killing the 1 person on the train tracks however they will say kill the one person and save the other 5 patients because the greatest amount of happiness will be produced.  Now looking more specifically into whether robust knowledge can be generated within a single branch of ethics as within the branch that is Utilitarianism there are 2 main sub groups which is rule Utilitarianism and act Utilitarianism. The main difference between them is that rule Utilitarians live by a set of rules to which all situations will be able to fit and act Utilitarianism works on a case by case basis with a general set of rules however they are able to make exceptions rule Utilitarianism is not. Rule Utilitarians will say leave the 5 patients to die and kill the one man on the train tracks as this will result in the most happiness in the long run. The trains kills the fewest and the doctor follows the rules which are in place meaning that people feel safe going to the doctors. However act Utilitarians may dispute the doctors decision and agree with the decision of the train passenger. They will claim that in this specific case killing the one patient to save the others will result in the most happiness as although the doctor should not kill any of his patients more happiness will result from saving the five. This similarly shows levels of disagreement between the two camps within Utilitarianism however there is the possibility for high levels of consensus to occur as many ethical outcomes will have the same result when comparing the two groups. Therefore it can be argued that the knowledge which is generated from the two types of Utilitarianism could in theory be considered as robust as there has been both disagreement and consensus between them. Although the extent to which it can be called knowledge is disputed because of the constant conflict of the two main ethical view points. So far I have looked at shared knowledge investigating into what it takes to be deemed robust, now I will go on to investigate personal private knowledge, this now poses the question; Can private knowledge therefore be seen as robust if consensus and disagreement cannot take place?. Private knowledge is knowledge which we can gather ourselves where as shared knowledge tends to be knowledge which is not able to be ascertain from individual experiences but the knowledge of others as the foundation. Taking sense perception as an example, what a person sees and feels does not go through consensus and disagreement but is still arguably robust knowledge. If you were to place 2 people into a room one of whom is colour blind the other who is not, no amount of disagreement will result in robust knowledge. This is because sense perception is unmediated. This means that there is no specific filter which the information is taken through it is just taken directly. This idea can also be translated into ethics with the Ring of Gyges   as a prime example. This argument first put forward by Plato discuss whether people do good actions to receive the reward of being deemed good or whether they do good because they believe it is the correct thing to do. As a result of this it can never be known robust the motivations behind someone’s actions as it seems that personal knowledge is publicly inaccessible therefore not subject to the same scrutiny as shared knowledge. This shows us that personal although we may believe it to be robust, according to the claim in the title it cannot be. However is disagree I believe that personal knowledge does not require the same amount of scrutiny as shared knowledge.  As discussed consensus and disagreement can both lead to the production of robust knowledge, it can also lead to a halt in progress where not much occurs at all. Therefore the only way that the production of robust knowledge can occur is if any levels of disagreement leads to higher levels of consensus then the knowledge produced has the potential to be more robust. However just because there is consensus it does not ensue that the knowledge is robust. This means that in the natural sciences the knowledge which is produced can be revised so that as time goes on and there are periods of disagreement even more robust knowledge can be produced as a result. However within ethics this idea of revision is not as prominent therefore as is shown disagreement does not lead to the robust knowledge being formed.

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