Discuss the claim that some Areas of Knowledge are discovered and others are invented.

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Harsh Patel

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PT 4: Discuss the claim that some Areas of Knowledge are discovered and others are invented.

In society, it is impossible to reach a definite conclusion on whether knowledge itself has been present from the beginning of time or it is subject to human creation. Areas of Knowledge which are “discovered” may be best defined as pre-existing knowledge in the universe that has been unrevealed by humans. Respectively, an “invented” AOK is created by the human conscience to provide an understanding of our world. However, it is important to acknowledge that regardless of these polar perspectives on how knowledge is derived, they are interconnected in many aspects. It is vital to question before reaching conclusions that, how can we justify that certain Areas of Knowledge are created by human interpretation and others through discovery? From one perspective, knowledge in mathematics is pre-existent in nature and discovered by humans whereas the arts are subject to human invention. Mathematical concepts have been present prior to the existence of human and now we are merely discovering them. However, the arts are created by humans as a median of expressing emotions and feelings meaning arts are invented. Therefore, through the use of reasoning we are able to distinguish mathematics as a discovered area of knowledge and the arts as invented.

The earth has been present before the human race, therefore mathematical concepts associated with nature are deemed to be discovered. To expand, the mathematical knowledge in relation with nature help us determine that mathematics pre-exist within the universe but, it is up to humans to discover it. Back in grade 7, I created this project that explored the relationship between the mathematical Fibonacci series and nature. Fibonacci series starts with: 1, 1, 3,5,8,13,21… (Following the formula; xn = xn-1 + xn-2). Ultimately, I discovered that the corresponding pattern is present from the core of a flower, to the spiral of a sea shell, and even the spiral of a galaxy! When we reason that, these mathematical concepts and patterns have ceased to exist in nature prior to human interpretation, we realize that we are merely uncovering mathematical knowledge. We think logically that since humans were not even present when these patterns were created, it is not possible that we could have invented the mathematical knowledge since it has always been there. Implications such case is that any type knowledge known before the human race could possibly be identified as discovered knowledge. Similarly to my exploration of the Fibonacci series, we learned in TOK class about Fractal geometry which was discovered by Benoit Mandelbrot. I believe that fractals are best explained as self-similarity or a pattern that is reoccurring within itself. We learned that Fractal Geometry is present in all forms of nature such as plants, weather and trees. Even in the nature of human biology for instance the shape of lungs, kidneys and blood vessels. From this information we are able to alter our reasoning skills that if the mathematical patterns have been present in environment and human nature, then it must have been pre-existing. Thus, on this basis that mathematical knowledge is associated within nature, we can conclude that mathematics is a discovered AOK.

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I claim that math is in fact discovered due to its pre-existing relation in nature; buy some people would argue that many mathematical calculations such as the Fibonacci pattern and Pollok’s Fractals successfully provides a framework of the universe. Therefore mathematicians actually invent these patterns to explain our surroundings. Admittedly, the Fibonacci pattern does indeed portray many aspects within nature; however I would still argue that since patterns existed within nature even prior to human intervention. Then the claim remains valid that mathematical knowledge is discovered and not invented.

On the other hand, art is an invented AOK as ...

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