• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent is truth different in mathematics, ethics and natural sciences?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent is truth different in mathematics, ethics and natural sciences? Knowledge is often defined as being a justified true belief but it is hard to find the moment when we can consider our beliefs to have enough justification to be true. The evidence which we use to justify our beliefs in ethics, mathematics and natural sciences, are all different. Therefore the knowledge we claim to be true in each of the areas is a different kind of knowledge and has different certainty. In mathematics all truth is based on certain laws and for as long as we can guarantee that these laws are right, everything we know is right. For example, we know that the corners of a right-angled triangle add up to 180 degrees and because of that we can say that a rectangle's corners add up to 360 degrees. Knowing that, we can build houses, planes and other machines. We can say that most of our knowledge in maths is true because it all coheres with our fundamental beliefs about maths and with what we know about real life. On the other hand, we keep discovering new things, which require new and improved mathematical theories. ...read more.

Middle

For example, usually when inflation is high, unemployment is low because people have more reason to invest in employing new people. However, this is not always the case although the probability of that happening is big. There are areas in social sciences which can't be summarized by certain laws of behaviour. For example, we can't say that we know that most people will pick cherry-flavoured ice-cream instead of a chocolate one because we don't have enough justification to think that. If we made a survey amongst thousands of people and all of them would prefer cherry ice-cream, we would have reason to believe that there is a reason behind the preferences of all people, but we can't make that a universal law until we know what the justification behind the tendency is. One could say that truth in ethics could also be found by analysing the behaviour of large groups of people. It would be sensible to think that if something would be ethically right, it is considered to be ethically right with a large group of people because all these people can't be wrong. ...read more.

Conclusion

Still, time has shown that over time, people do agree on certain beliefs. We have other ideas now than we had a century ago because we know about other areas of knowledge. We all agree that we have made some kind of development because if we would know better, we wouldn't act the way we do now. The truth in different areas of knowledge is very different. In maths, all what we know is based on our observation about the world. The reliability of that source is very limited because we know that the area which we are able to explore is very little compared to the complete area to be discovered.. We can be fairly sure that we all perceive the same things in the world but we cannot be certain of the way people think because we have no insight into that matter. Although we can make some very accurate predictions about human behaviour, we do not have a lot of evidence to claim anything about the whole society. Ethical truths can be found by using reason but we can't be certain that all those truths apply to the whole world because our way of thinking is limited and every person has a different way of thinking. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. To what extent is truth different in mathematics, the arts, and ethics?

    And the square root of 9 equals 3. This shows how the truth in mathematics is 'absolute' and that it is reliable because the answer found in the equation ??�+??�=??� was the only answer that could have worked for the proving formula; ??�-??�=??�. Accordingly, one can say that because of this, mathematics refers to the correspondent theory of truth.

  2. What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that make ...

    For example, the law of demand in economics suggests that when the price of a good increases, the demand for that good decreases. Generally, this law holds true with the exception of a Giffen good where demand increases as price increases in the case of the poverty-stricken individuals.

  1. TOK Mathematics and Sciences Essay

    Hence, even if this proof is valid, it might not be certain because the axioms used have not been proven as completely certain. Another example is how the Pythagoreans were disproved about their belief that only rational numbers existed. They always believed that only rational numbers existed but then when

  2. To what extent is truth different in mathematics, the arts and ethics?

    By understanding the concepts behind the facts, I am easily able to recognize and accept these universal truths. Behind every concept and every equation in the field of mathematics, there is a proof or an explanation for why something works.

  1. Knowledge gives us a sense of who we are. To what extent is this ...

    as dozens just watched her succumbing to her injuries without offering any help [6]. Many other startling revelations from the world of Social Psychology demonstrate ?how we behave? in society but does this knowledge really give us a sense of who we are as individuals?

  2. In the natural sciences progress can be made, but in the arts this is ...

    art medium installation extremely compelling than acrylic paintings experimenting on color contrast on geometric shapes. Therefore modernism does not necessarily equate to progression because people have their own definition of progress in art, each moving at its own momentum. However, creating art forms to explain human emotions uses the inventions

  1. TOK. Consider the extent to which complete certainty might be achievable in mathematics and ...

    Ask yourself, how certain are you that all your knowledge is just based on proof, and not proof by reasoning, or vice versa? Based on past experience, I ask myself sometimes, how do I prove to myself that God really exists?

  2. What is it about theories in human sciences and natural science that makes them ...

    For example if I tell my friend an uncertain statement and then he states the same thing to another one of his friends, who tells it to his other friends. So at one point of time the statement will be known by everyone because and would be considered a fact by everyone.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work