# To what extent is truth different in mathematics, arts, and ethics?

TOK Paper: To what extent is truth different in mathematics, arts, and ethics?

What is meant by truth? Is it simply a synonym for reality, or a concept much more profound? Generally a dictionary would denote truth as something approximating to an established fact that corroborates with actuality. But does this definition interpret differently with context? Does “truth” refer to the same thing in a mathematical perspective as it does in arts or ethics?

When attempting to answer, or at least approach, this question, an important issue to consider is the idea of subjectivity; while truth should correspond with reality, does that reality itself hold regardless of individual outlook? And if it does not, are the facts that are held to be true really so?

In that regard, the areas of mathematics, arts, and ethics are of particular interest. This is due to the variety in the methods (or “ways of knowing”) applied to acquire knowledge in them. The way of knowing most commonly associated with mathematics is reason, which makes sense since knowledge in mathematics is acquired through calculation and deliberate thought, where given facts are juxtaposed to reveal more implied realities. For arts, on the other hand, an individual uses their sense perceptions to absorb a given piece of art, and use their emotions to reflect upon and interpret it. The third and last region of study, ethics, is defined as the study of rules and values that determine what is right and what is wrong.

Mathematics is defined as the study of the logic within quantity, shape, and arrangement. As such the knowledge in mathematics is acquired through calculation and deliberate thought, where given facts are juxtaposed to reveal more implied realities. With a given mathematical problem, there exists a definite solution that does not vary with the approach. Due to the very nature of the subject, every arithmetic approach to a problem would amount to the same thing as logic dictates it to be so when it comes to concrete numbers and values. Hence, the solutions to one such problem cannot vary between the individuals who pursue it, regardless of the difference in their respective train of thought. This means that different people with vastly different experiences or ideas will all attain an identical conclusion, given of course that they all accurately carry out the corresponding calculations. Knowing this, it can be said that the reality of mathematics is therefore constant for each equation or statement. And since the reality does not vary with individual perspective, it is also not subjective. This being established, it can then also be said that the truth within mathematics is, itself, objective and concrete, and cannot be shaped or held from any angle to convey a given picture.