?The existence and continuation of knowledge is

?The existence and continuation of knowledge is what facilitates the highly civilized society in which we reside. We inherently covet the possession of knowledge to its fullest possible extent. Overtime, we are subjected to new experiences which leave us susceptible to a multitude of unanswered questions, leading to inquiry. We can consider inquiry to be one of the processes necessary in the pursuit of knowledge. Our surroundings are comprised of complex, multidimensional frameworks that require knowledge and understanding derived from the combination of claims and counterclaims. That being said, we might wonder, what is knowledge? The most widely recognized definition of knowledge is a “justified true belief” proposed by Classical Greek philosopher, Plato. If humans are in pursuit of the most extensive form of knowledge, how could that be determined? We can classify extensive knowledge as robust knowledge. The term robust, according the Oxford dictionary, signifies “able to withstand or overcome adverse conditions”. Thus, we can interpret the meaning of robust knowledge as information that has been tested against disagreement and sustained criticism. It has been previously declared that “robust knowledge requires both consensus and disagreement.” In order to regard this statement as true, we must further dissect the meaning of consensus and disagreement respectively. Consensus refers to agreement within a group of people, i.e. a society. This can be construed as a majority belief, i.e. truth. There is yet to be a concrete definition of truth accepted on a universal level, however we can interpret its meaning with respect to the different areas of knowledge, where its significance will unquestionably vary. Logic and consistency justify coherence, which can be considered a factor of consensus. The rational approach towards testing for compatibility is known as the coherence truth test. This test links hypothetical models to pertinent channels of previously accepted observations. When a dispute is proposed, lack of consensus regarding the verification of information determines the information not knowledge, and therefore untenable, thus not robust. In order to incite the use of the coherence truth test, disagreement must be present. To disagree is to “have or express a different opinion”. Difference in this case signifies a lack of correspondence i.e. inconsistency. To achieve robust knowledge, one must dispute, or “question whether (a statement or alleged fact) is true or valid”, in search of correspondence. The correspondence truth test does this by way of associating empirical knowledge with propositions, in which a statement must parallel to reality to determine truth. Criticism is a powerful tool that can arguably be a determinant of robust knowledge. By analyzing and judging the merits and faults of a disputed statement one can reach a point of consensus. Logical deduction guides this form of examination, which can result in a solid and systematically constructed argument, or consensus. Criticism stems from the concept of a Socratic elenchus, “the method of eliciting truth by question and answer”, most commonly used in the refutation of an argument. If this method does in fact elicit truth, then we can deduce that questions generated by disagreement lead to the pursuit of more knowledge and verification of coherence, reaching consensus. Given Plato’s definition of knowledge, this process produces incontrovertible truths which can be deemed as robust knowledge. We look to the different areas of knowledge, particularly the natural sciences and ethics, to reveal how disagreement and consensus lead to robust knowledge. The natural sciences is the area of knowledge that aims to explain and justify natural causation and phenomenon. It is important to question “how do we determine scientific truth (knowledge)?.” Theories proposed within the natural sciences often prove to be extremely controversial, and require a general consensus within the scientific community. Numerous observations, experiments, and investigations are conducted in hopes of finding proof of consistency replicability and agreement regarding a proposed theory. The evolution of science reveals that multiple times scientific revolutions have shown manifest from the ideas incorrectly proposed in previously rejected theories.  In the Structure of Revolution of Science, philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn proposed a theory that the periods between the collapse of one theory and the establishment of another are always marked by the proposal of competing hypotheses. This entails the employment of both census and disagreement used to rectify the errors detected in the preceding theory. The deliberative process exercised when confirming disputed information/theories as verifiable establishes what Is considered robust knowledge. When there is only census, the lack of disagreement not only provides a risk for falsely acknowledged information but impedes upon discovery and the further investigation. The scientific method was devised in such a way that disagreement and unanswered questions are assessed and tested to produce certainty or consensus. The evolution of the structure of an atom serves as a prime example of consensus and disagreement working together to produce robust knowledge. Initially, Greek philosopher, Democritus, presented the belief that all matter was composed of microscopic, solid, indivisible particles. However, Democritus lacked experimental evidence, which brought about skepticism and disagreement. From the skeptics emerged John Dalton, who presented his very own Atomic theory. Dalton’s model depicted the atom as tiny, solid spheres in various stages of motion. Naturally, Dalton’s theory was closely scrutinized and disputed, leading to even more research and discovery, yielding breakthrough that is the atomic structure accepted today. The current model of the atom is known as Quantum Mechanical Model. According to this model, the atom is not the smallest particle of matter, and is, in fact, made up of smaller particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. As the Quantum Mechanical Model is the most widely agreed upon structure of an atom, it can be considered robust knowledge. Within the area of knowledge known as ethics, we investigate, ethical truths, or comprehensive determinants of right and wrong, pertaining to different situations. The interpretation of these ethical truths commonly varies from culture to culture and person to person. Consequentially, we are forced to consider whether ethics can be accepted on a large enough scale to be deemed robust. Moral relativism, or the differences present in moral judgment, provides us with an answer to such a query. In most situations, what one person considers to be moral may not necessarily be compatible with another person’s perspective, leading to disagreement. This form of disagreement exists primarily on a cultural scale. Due to the lack of a universal moral code, we evaluate ethical truths on a societal scale. Throughout history, we see the manifestation of morals and how they evolve over time in different parts of the world. One of the most significant ethical debacles in history is the issue of slavery. For centuries, the concept of enslavement went undisputed and normalized throughout various societies (countries). It wasn’t until people began to evaluate their moral beliefs and find that they disagree with the purchasing of another human being for labor. Famously, Abraham Lincoln advocated against slavery in America. Most Southern politicians disagreed with Lincoln’s beliefs and ridiculed him. Over a long process of dispute and debate, in 1863 Lincoln released the Emancipation Proclamation which “transformed the Civil War from a war against secession into a war for “a new birth of freedom,”. Due to this ideological change presented by Lincoln, more people began to question their own moral beliefs. It wasn’t until 1865 that enough of the states within America reached a consensus, allowing for the implementation of the thirteenth amendment and the abolition of slavery. As society changes and develops, ethical truths are constantly contested. The moral discrepancies in reference to the issue of slavery were uncovered and questioned, leading to majority belief which provides us with the current status of a slave-free country, a robust fact of knowledge. The area of knowledge called the arts deals mainly with subjective truths. The personal nature and influence of feelings, tastes and individual opinion makes truths within the arts very abstract. There will more often than not prove to be a lack of consensus in art. With that in mind artistic knowledge cannot be considered robust. Disagreement within the arts is certain and unavoidable as and interpretations vary from one person to the next. By a far stretch, we can attempt to compare the artists intentions with the audience’s interpretation of the artistic piece to discern coherence that represents truth. However, it is likely that there will be more disagreement within the arts, rather than consensus, therefore rendering artistic knowledge untenable (not robust). This provides an example of the presence of disagreement and consensus that does not in fact render robust knowledge. In conclusion, robust knowledge stems from a justified true belief, and is built upon through both consensus and disagreement. The fundamental aspects of both natural science and ethics are evident of the fact that robust knowledge is information that must be tested against disagreement and sustained criticism. This represents the human desire to gain the most supported and extensive form of knowledge. Word Count: 1488