What’s the purpose of gaining knowledge?

What’s the purpose of gaining knowledge?

I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any subject.’ That was the founder’s motto for Cornell University, and it seems an apt characterization of the different university, also in the USA, where I currently teach philosophy. A student can prepare for a career in resort management, engineering, interior design, accounting, music, law enforcement, you name it. But what would the founders of these two institutions have thought of a course called ‘Arson for Profit’? I kid you not: we have it on the books. Any undergraduates who have met the academic requirements can sign up for the course in our program in ‘fire science’.

我会创办一家机构,让所有人都能在此获得任一学科的指导。这是康奈尔大学创始人的座右铭、而且它似乎也很适合描述另一所大学,这所大学同样在美国,而我目前在这里教授哲学学生可以在这里为将来的职业做好准备,包括旅游管理、工程学、室内设计会计音乐执法等,但是这两所学校的创始人对于一门叫做。纵火谋利。的课程会怎么看?我并非开玩笑:这门课程确实存在任何一名达到学术要求的本科生都能在”火灾科学”专业中选修这门课程。

Naturally, the course is intended for prospective arson investigators, who can learn all the tricks of the trade for detecting whether a fire was deliberately set, discovering who did it, and establishing a chain of evidence for effective prosecution in a court of law. But wouldn’t this also be the perfect course for prospective arsonists to sign up for? My point is not to criticize academic programs in fire science: they are highly welcome as part of the increasing professionalization of this and many other occupations. However, it’s not unknown for a firefighter to torch a building. This example suggests how dishonest and illegal behavior, with the help of higher education, can creep into every aspect of public and business life.

当然,这门课程是为那些未来参与纵火调查的人员设计的,他们可以学会这一行的所有把戏,以判断一场火灾是否是蓄意而为,找出纵火者,建立一条证据链以在法庭上实施有效的起诉但这不也是一门供潜在的纵火犯注册的最佳课程吗?我并不是想批 判火灾科学中的学术课程:随着火灾和其他一些行业不断职业化,这些课程广受欢迎。然而,消防员纵火烧毁一桩建筑物的事情也并非异闻这一例子说明了欺诈和非法行为是如何借助高等教育悄然潜入公众和商业领域的。

I realized this anew when I was invited to speak before a class in marketing, which is another of our degree programs. The regular instructor is a colleague who appreciates the kind of ethical perspective I can bring as a philosopher. There are endless ways I could have approached this assignment, but I took my cue from the title of the course: ‘Principles of Marketing’. It made me think to ask the students, ‘Is marketing principled?’ After all, a subject matter can have principles in the sense of being codified, having rules, as with football or chess, without being principled in the sense of being ethical. Many of the students immediately assumed that the answer to my question about marketing principles was obvious: no. Just look at the ways in which everything under the sun has been marketed; obviously it need not be done in a principled (=ethical) fashion.

当我受邀在市场营销课(这是我们的另一门学位课程)上讲课时,我重新认识到了这点这门课的授课教授是我的一位同事,他很欣赏我作为一名哲学家所能带来的伦理视角我可以用无数种方式完成这段讲解,但我选择从这门₩程的名称”市场营销原理。中寻找切入点这使得我想问学生一个问题:“市场营销是有原则的吗?”毕竟,一个学科对琢肜被学科化到形成理论,它是可以有原理的,正如足球或国际象棋那样;而从伦理角逐而言、又是没有原则的很多学生很快认为我关于市场营销原则这一问题的答案非常明显:“没有”。只需要看一下世上存在的一切营销方式;显然,营销不需要以一种“有原则的”(即伦理的)方式进行。

Is that obvious? I made the suggestion, which may sound downright crazy in light of the evidence, that perhaps marketing is by definition principled. My inspiration for this judgement is the philosopher Immanuel Kant, who argued that any body of knowledge consists of an end (or purpose) and a means.

答案有那么明显吗?我提出了我的想法——或许在证据面前听上去十足的疯狂或许市场营销。理应。存在原则我做出这个判断的灵感来自哲学家伊曼努尔·康德,他认为任何种类的知识都包含结果(或目的)和手段.

Let us apply both the terms ‘means’ and ‘end’ to marketing. The students have signed up for a course in order to learn how to market effectively. But to what end? There seem to be two main attitudes toward that question. One is that the answer is obvious: the purpose of marketing is to sell things and to make money. The other attitude is that the purpose of marketing is irrelevant: each person comes to the program and course with his or her own plans, and these need not even concern the acquisition of marketing expertise as such. My proposal, which I believe would also be Kant’s, is that neither of these attitudes captures the significance of the end to the means for marketing. A field of knowledge or a professional endeavor is defined by both the means and the end; hence both deserve scrutiny. Students need to study both how to achieve X, and also what X is.

让我们把”手段”和”结果”应用到市场营销中去学生选修了这门课程是为了学习如何有效地进行市场营销,但”结果”是什么呢?对于这个问题似乎存在两种态度一种认为答案非常明显:市场营销的目的就是为了卖东西和赚钱另一种认为营销的“目的”是不相干的:选修这门课程的人有着自己的规划,这些规划至不需要获得营销专业知识我认为这两种态度”都无法。抓住结果对于营销手段的重要性,我相信康德也会这么认为一个知识领域或一项专业技能应当结合”手段”以及”结果”:因此两者“都”值得仔细审视学生需要学习如何获取某项知识,并且也得知道它是什么

It is at this point that ‘Arson for Profit’ becomes supremely relevant. That course is presumably all about means: how to detect and prosecute criminal activity. It is therefore assumed that the end is good in an ethical sense. When I ask fire science students to articulate the end, or purpose, of their field, they eventually generalize to something like, ‘The safety and welfare of society,’ which seems right. As we have seen, someone could use the very same knowledge of means to achieve a much less noble end, such as personal profit via destructive, dangerous, reckless activity. But we would not call that firefighting. We have a separate word for it: arson. Similarly, if you employed the ‘principles of marketing’ in an unprincipled way, you would not be doing marketing. We have another term for it: fraud. Kant gives the example of a doctor and a poisoner, who use the identical knowledge to achieve their divergent ends. We would say that one is practicing medicine, the other, murder.

因此,“纵火谋利”显得十分相关这项课程大概只跟“手段相关”:如何发现和起诉犯罪行为。因此人月J假设伦理意义上的。目的。是好的当我要求火灾科学学生说清楚他们所学学科的结果或目的时,他们最终笼统地归纳为。社会安全与福利。这样看似正确的说法,正如我们看到的,一个人可以使用相同的”手段。上的知识去达成一个见不得人的目的,比如通过破坏性的、危险的、鲁莽的行为去谋利,但“我们不会将其称之为消防行为”。我们对其有一个另外的说法叫“纵火”。同样,如果你以一种无原则的方式使用。市场营销原理。,。你在做的就不是市场营销。我们对其有另一种说法叫“欺诈”。康德给出了关于医生和投毒者的例子,他们使用相同的知识去获得完全不同的结果。我们会说一个人在行医,另一个人则是谋杀。

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