The question asks if there are elements of knowledge that should not be judged based on the standards of the time period. As there are varying degrees of fluidity in regards to different areas of knowledge, there must be different ways to judge historically developed knowledge and in some respects judging based on standards of the time period is important. Therefore, the answer to the question is that in some aspects, the time period should be included in judgement while in some areas of knowing, it should not. The area of art should be judged based on standards of the time while religious standards should not.

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Historical Development of Areas of Knowledge

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The arts is one specific area of knowledge which should be judged in regards to the standards of the time. Art movements advance when new artists begin using new techniques and concepts previously unseen in the art world, or due to the use of new media to create art and express their concepts. Artists also produce art to reflect society at the time, changes occurring and themes of the time. Dunn notes “This means we can learn a lot about the outlook of different societies – be they different societies from historical eras, or different societies by virtue of geography – examining their artistic achievements” (Dunn). Art movements are based on how people are viewing the world at the time and common themes are often seen during the time. Art that is in line with the movement of the time can be judged against the standard (Lamp).

Conversely, art critics feel that judgement of art should be based on many more aspects of the art than simply the historical elements. Art as an area of knowledge should include analysis of the artistic elements, identification of descriptions, interpretation and overall judgement. It is much more than what art movement that a piece of art falls into, but elements such as artistic skill, and identification of themes that are needed to judge a piece of art in terms of knowledge. A painting is much more than the time frame that it was painted in (Malloy). Religion, another area of knowledge, should not be judged based on historical standards.

The concepts of religion and religious doctrines do not change dramatically over time and culture. While specific changes may occur within a specific religion, the overall teachings and ideas that a religion supports will always be the same with or without historical context. Upon the writing of the New Testament in Christian religions, the stories that were included in it will always remain the same. The morals and ethics that are taught are continuous and will remain that same regardless of the specific time (Wilkins).

Conversely, a lack of continuity of religious teachings can be considered in regards to relativism. Baghramian and Carter define “Relativism, roughly put, is the view that truth and falsity, right and wrong, standards of reasoning, and procedures of justification are products of differing conventions and frameworks of assessment and that their authority is confined to the context giving rise to them.” In other words, variations in religious teachings are relative to the situation. Cultural perception helps describe why certain knowledge or events are considered in a specific way.

Relativism allows modern thinking to include an objective viewpoint about the history and therefore viewing religion in terms of historical standards. People are varying points of view and different experiences which lead to slightly different meanings to the way they communicate, their ways of reasoning and their view of reality. This idea across all humans leads to relativism. As humans analyze areas of knowledge, there is the possibility of their own ideas and feelings from change the way their view other cultures and histories. Viewing people of the past could create inaccurate ideas because the analyzer is flawed by their own modern perceptions. Therefore, relativism describes that modern society cannot judge historical events because modern standards make things relative (Baghramian and Carter).

Historical events should be considered in different manners depending on the area of knowledge and the ways of knowledge that are used. Arts should be viewed in a historical context because movements of art indicate standards of the time. Art that falls into a specific movement show themes, ideas and concepts that are taking place during the time. Those that do not, also show an artist utilizing different areas of knowledge that go against the historical era. Other professionals feel that art should be judged on much more than just the historical standard. Religion should not be judged on the historical aspect because the ideas and doctrines that are taught through religion overall do not change.

Others feel that relativism prevents religion from being judged in the context of historical standards because having a modern perspective reduces the ability to thinking fairly about historical times. When answering that Should key events in the historical development of areas of knowledge always be judged by the standards of their time one must take into consideration the area of knowledge being judged and what elements of the ways of knowledge are involved in it.