Mathematics & Natural Sciences with absolute certainty (TOK)

Topics: Science, Mathematics, Scientific method Pages: 4 (1352 words) Published: October 6, 2013
Write an essay outlining your personal response to this topic. “Mathematicians have the concept of rigorous proof, which leads to knowing something with complete certainty. Consider the extent to which complete certainty might be achievable in mathematics and the natural sciences.” To what extent can man use mathematics and the natural sciences to embrace the concept of achieving absolute certainty?

It is not possible for humans to achieve absolute certainty in knowledge using mathematics and the natural sciences. This is because mathematics is a creation of man to organize and communicate highly complex concepts and theories to others through a kind of language which goes beyond the spoken or written word. Many people believe the written word to be more true that the spoken word, the same can be applied to mathematics. Just because something can be written in the numbered format by a credible source, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. The same can be said about the level of certainty to be achieved using proofs from natural sciences, with additional external variables. This can be explained through evolution. The natural sciences were discovered, observed and recorded to be studied further by man. The small level of certainty which can be obtained is from the inability to change nature without physically disturbing it and that human observations themselves are a big problem in the natural sciences. Conversely, absolute certainty can only be found in a few instances in nature.

Math and the Natural Sciences are the two areas of knowledge which have the highest impact on our ability to achieve absolute certainty in knowing. The world revolves around proving knowledge with scientific claims, however any such claims must originate from the mouths of highly regarded mathematicians and scientists. Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, validity of knowledge is in the mouth of a credible source. If I were to go up to a friend and state that there is a...
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