TOK Reflection: Math Scope

We have now moved on from looking at the arts in TOK to looking at how TOK can be applied to the area of knowledge of mathematics. In our first math TOK lesson, we looked at how we could define math in a way that would work in the realm of theory of knowledge, as well as looking at math in general and comparing our TOK approach to math with how we approached the are of knowledge of the arts. For this reflection, we have been provided with several prompts, many of which are based on a TEDx video about intuition and creativity in math.

The first prompt is to distinguish the differences between a conjecture and theorem. A conjecture would be defined as an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information, and therefore could be considered similar to taking an educated guess.A theorem is a statement that has been proved based on previously established statements. An example of a commonly known and used theorem would be the Pythagorean theorem of right angle triangles.

The second prompt for this reflection is to distinguish what the speaker in the ted talk provided means when he states that maths dominates intuition and tames creativity. I believe that by this he means that math relies heavily on one’s intuition in the solving of problems in this AOK. “Taming creativity” could mean that creativity is applied in mathematics in a carefully measured sense. Mathematics is a discipline that has many rules that must be followed and therefore one’s curiosity cannot roam free when solving mathematical problems and must be tamed in a sense that you are following the rules set. The next prompt related to the TED talk video is related to the claim made in the TED talk that “maths is eternal” and whether this gives maths a privileged position in TOK. I believe that this does not give maths a privileged position in TOK as many of the AOKs such as art and natural sciences are eternal as well, and as long as there is human existence these areas of knowledge will exist.

 

 

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