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TOK Essay”The quality of knowledge produced by an academic discipline is directly proportional to the duration of historical development of that discipline.” Explore this claim with reference to two disciplines.This statement requires a good understanding of exactly how knowledge is assigned a quality as well as specific academic disciplines to discuss and compare. This essay will explore the phrase ‘quality of knowledge’ and use the academic disciplines of computer science and biology as a recent and ‘more historically developed academic discipline in the field of study of the natural sciences.The main argument for this claim would most likely be presented as ‘If something has been known for longer, it must logically produce knowledge of a higher quality and standard as there has been more time for people to develop it’. This can be a valid argument for many situations, however certainly not always.How do we assign knowledge a certain level of quality?This is one of the essential knowledge questions that we must ask in order to start discussing the claim. Quality is a trait of knowledge that is determined by the usefullness Knowledge can not be assigned a quality like most things as the way in which we use it, varies according to circumstance alongside the thing that makes it more important than others. For example, in computer science, the knowledge we have is very stable and unlikely to change. For this reason, we tend to consider facts that have the biggest impact as having a higher quality. In biology however, this might be different as it is more dynamic because of its tendancy to be proven wrong or changed. This causes knowledge that is stable and secure or certain that it will not change more valuable and of a ‘higher quality’. Another justification for this is that knowledge in the disciple of computer science is less ‘natural’ than biology and as such could be said to have been ‘created’ by humans in contrary to biology having been ‘discovered’ from nature. The definition of biology is ‘the study of living organisms’ which means that it revolves around what we discover and new things we learn about nature.This essay will consider the quality of knowledge subjective to its discipline in the sense that the feature that defines its quality can change going to another discipline. However, knowledge and its quality can be subject to comparison and this is only possible with a joint common set lf features that are used to classify it into a certain level of quality. In this essay, the set of features will be the impact it has (its use), and its stability as a fact, also explained as how likely it is to change or be labelled as disproven.How does knowledge become ‘fixed’?For knowledge to be assigned a quality, it must obviously become static. Knowledge that is not known to be certain and proven in some way, will must likely be labeled with a low quality as it is prone to change. The question that rises here is, does knowledge just become ‘fixed’ after years it has stood the test of time, or does it need to go through a long and thorough process of discussion and critique? If it came down to only the time that it has been known, the accuracy of knowledge could be debated due to the way in which it was conceived. Technology plays a big part in the manufacturing of new knowledge, this is due to the tools that were used to acquire it having a great affect on the results and their accuracy. The technology that we have today has lead to faster and better proven new knowledge being formed through technology. An example of this are the high-tech sensors that are used these days to monitor climate change and weather. These create new knowledge based on our existing and proven facts and are regarded as an extremely accurate source. This data is very easy to analyze for any faults as predictions and probabilities can be calculated using past figures on how likely this knowledge is to be true.The above method for determining the stability of knowledge is mostly predominantly true for academic deisciplines such as the Natural Sciences where data can be collected. However, some knowledge is now quantitative and does not produce numbers and figures. Looking at this knowledge, we might be more inclined to consider the way and amount  that it has been criticized and discussed. This might be more accurate if technology levels at the time of creation had no effect on this type of knowledge. Discussion and critique could be considered as more meaningful on simple knowledge. Academic disciplines however, are much more dependent on scientific data and proven figures in the fields of the Natural Sciences or Computer Science. Others such as History can be discussed in a simpler way as these are also subject to personal opinions and are harder to analyze technologically through data processing.An important example of the ranking of knowledge, is the IB academic system. Here students can choose their 6 subjects and this is done by choosing the ones most important for the individual. This is another issue as the quality of knowledge can change with personal opinions. There is no general formula to determine it, in each case it is a little different and as humans think in a very similar way most of the time, we usually reach the same conclusion and treat certain knowledge with the same assumption regarding its quality.Each IB student that thoroughly analyses which subjects to choose, decides their academic discipline choices thinking about their future and their communities. For example, a student that lives in a family of doctors and wishes to live in a community that values becoming a doctor to be a good career choice for a steady income, will most likely choose the knowledge learned in the Natural sciences to be more important than others. This placing them in a higher tier of quality.

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