Knowledge is important to the world and how we understand it. Knowledge leads to groundbreaking discoveries and can affect the future of the world we live in. With the possession of knowledge you have a choice of how you will handle the knowledge. There is the choice to use it for good or for bad, but it is more than that. There are ethical decisions that have to be made with the possession of knowledge like what to do with the knowledge, who do you share the knowledge with, and how do you want to affect the world with this knowledge.
Knowledge holders are responsible for what they do with the knowledge that they have or gain. The possession of knowledge is the same in human sciences. Human sciences include sociology, anthropology, psychology,etc. Psychologists possess knowledge about people's lives and personality. Do they sell it for their own personal gain or do they respect their clients privacy and keep their information to themselves? This is the ethical responsibility that psychologist have. Another area of knowledge that ethical responsibility applies to is natural sciences, which include biology, chemistry, physics, etc. Whenever scientist make a discovery about something, they have an ethical choice of what to do with the knowledge. They have to decide whether to keep the knowledge to themselves, give it to others for free, or to sell it for profit. In natural science an example of this would be health studies. Most health knowledge has to be paid for or most knowledge about health is put into some product that claims to solve a health problem. The ethical dilemma here is the profit gained off of people’s health problems.
Who I share the knowledge with is also an ethical responsibility that comes with the possession of knowledge. There is the choice of sharing the knowledge with someone I trust that is going to use it for good and to help people or to keep it to myself. For example, in the human sciences, psychologists have found in a experiment that teacher’s expectations affected how well a student did. The psychologists experiment showed this by labeling one group of children “bright” and another group of children “less bright”. The two groups of children are not different academically. The children in the group labeled “bright” had a greater academic process than the children in the group labeled “less bright”. Psychologists have a sort of ethical responsibility to give this new knowledge to teachers so that it can be applied to the education of children. In natural science an example of this would be the discovery of pesticides in the romaine lettuce supply. Even though profits would lower, there is an ethical responsibility to share the knowledge about the pesticides to the consumers.
The effect that my knowledge will have on the world and how it will impact it is another ethical factor with the possession of knowledge. How will this knowledge impact society? Is it good or bad? In human sciences, the experimentation on human is an ethical factor that human scientist have to consider. The experiment conducted could hurt or traumatize the test subjects. An example of this is a well known study named The Milgram Experiment. This experiment made the test subjects think that they were shocking a person, but the person was actually an actor who was not really being shocked. The test subject, whom knew nothing about it being fake, left the experiment traumatized. This shows the ethical consequences that come with the experimentation to prove the knowledge of something. In natural sciences an example of this is the prolonged ethical controversy over stem cells being derived from embryos. Scientist knowledge of knowing that the destruction of embryos is morally wrong effects the research of stem cells derived from embryos. If scientist decide to release the information about how stem cells are derived, then people can decide if they want to use this kind of medical treatment or not. As an alternative, scientist could choose to keep the information about where the stem cells are derived to themselves to increase the use of the medical treatment. It would be there ethical responsibility to choose. The knowledge of stem cells also carry the ethical responsibility with the experimentation on embryos. This is, because you must consider human life and if the embryo has the same status as a person.
The possession of knowledge carries an ethical consideration when life is used for experimentation. It also has an ethical responsibility when it will affect the world around you or someone other than yourself. Ethical responsibility is within human science and natural science. The ethical responsibility in each are very similar. They both have an ethical responsibility in what you do with the knowledge, who to share it with, and how it will affect people.