The Possession Of Knowledge Carries An Ethical Responsibility (Draft #1)

1182 words - 5 pages

Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states everyone has the right to freedom of thought, proclaiming that human beings are entitled to the right of knowing. However, is it our rights to possess all the knowledge that is accessible for us? Does the possession of the knowledge carry an ethical responsibility? Albert Einstein was a renowned scientist who possesses exclusive knowledge of nuclear physics, the products of his research caused the total destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, then would Albert Einstein held responsible or partially responsible? The recent NSA scandals for their excessive spying on people’s info communication under the protection of Patriot Act, sometimes justified for the sake of national security. Should there be a limit for possession of knowledge and if so what/who were to set that limit? Down to everyday life, say if you are in an IB Math test and your friend sitting beside you doesn't know the answers while you do, is it ethical/unethical to share your knowledge with him/her?
Literarily, knowledge is defined as “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject” while ethic is defined as “the principles of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or a social group” Just like mentioned in the definition, there could be different understandings and standards for “ethics”. “Ethic” could be a mere generalization that concludes many common principals and morals we all agree upon, it can vary in other cultures, languages, time or customs. For instance, ancient Chinese believe be in mourning for years after their parents passed away is a highly ethical act(some still do today), while some of us might consider that as waste of time or simply strange. Another case in point might be Christian and Islamic ethics on wives, Bible commands: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord...Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her." However, Quran states: “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go into your tilth when you like.” (tilth stands for field) These two teachings are quite antithetical; one might consider the other utterly unacceptable and morally false. But, what/who were to set the standard for such ethical dispute? Therewithal “ethical responsibility” is quite hard to define and in many cases, could be double sided. For example, Snowden’s escape to HK leaked enormous amount of highly classified info to Wiki leaks, newspapers and as well as many other organizations. There are people condemning Snowden as a traitor, for he abused the knowledge he carried with disloyalty to his country. Meanwhile, there are people justifying Snowden’s actions, honoring him for his truthfulness and honesty. Snowden surely fulfilled ethical responsibility of being honest and truthful, however being treachery and disloyal is definitely not bearing ethical...

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