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Political Thought

Step 1: Case Scenario

Read the following case first; then proceed to the next steps.

You work at a research lab and are 1 of the 6 researchers. Philip, a well-known and highly respected scientist in the lab has offered a theory that the cholesterol in eggs can have serious negative health effects on children. He cites 5 case studies done in different regions of the country over a two-year period and all studies suggest that negative health issues can be linked to egg consumption. His presentation is very compelling and the research lab has been offered significant amounts of government grant money to promote the findings of the cholesterol study.

The lab goes forward with the cholesterol research and assigns the other 5 researchers the task of furthering the study. After one year of research and much economic success for everyone at the research lab, a meeting is convened to assess the progress of the program. At this meeting, Rose, a second scientist with a long history of field research experience offers the theory that while there could be a relational effect of the cholesterol in eggs to children, she argues that there is no causal relationship and these findings should be published. The group is stunned as no one has ever challenged Philips work and his previous studies on other areas have all been accepted by the scientific community. Rose is excoriated by the group and is told by the research lab that Philips reputation speaks for itself and her study is not credible and will not be pursued. Two years later, a rival lab proves Roses theory and Philps research lab loses all government funding.

Step 2: Reflection Part

Ask yourself:

  • How can it be that a group of intelligent, experienced researchers would not explore the possibility of another theory in their study?
  • What is the importance of dissenting opinions?
  • Do I listen to and fully understand the point of view of the person expressing a dissenting opinion, especially if that person is the sole voice in the room.
  • Do I arrive at my opinion without sufficient critical analysis?
  • Am I basing my position on assumptions that I presume to be true, but that perhaps are not sufficiently tested or researched?

After you have thought through your position on this scenario, apply your thinking to this weeks philosophers and complete Step 3 – the writing part of this assignment.

Step 3: Writing Part

In 1-2 pages, explain how Locke and Rousseau might respond to this case of the research lab and groupthink if they were confronted with this situation. How might they explain majority rule and the social contract to illustrate their philosophy in dealing with groupthink? Support your analysis with quotes or paraphrases from the philosophers. Use APA format and citation when writing your assignment.

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