Is mathematics independant of culture?

Mathematics is one of the eight areas of knowledge and therefore, it is present in all countries of the world. Even people who have never attended school and are illiterate use maths in their daily lifes; for example when they have to count cows. However, even though everyone uses it, is it really independant of culture or is maths interpreted in different ways depending on the country and culture you belong to?

For example religious knowledge systems which is another area of knowledge is clearly linked to culture but mathematics is completely different; it has nothing to do culture.

An english person, a spanish person, a chinese person and an arab; every type of person would come to the same result of an equation if done correct, without having anything to do with where they are from. It is true that spanish and english people don´t use the same method of doing divisions, but the result is the same in both cultures.

One plus one equals two in all parts of the world. In Arabia Saudi the number one is written like this: وَاحِد and in Spain like this: 1; but in both countries it represents a unit of something.

In conclusion, mathematics is an area of knowledge which is independant of culture bearing in mind some aspects as methods or symbols might differ; however, the meaning and result doesn´t change.

Bibliography:

1O, G. (2017). GRAMATICA 25 – NUMEROS DEL 1 AL 1O. [online] Lenguarabe.blogspot.com.es. Available at: http://lenguarabe.blogspot.com.es/2008/12/gramatica-25-numeros-del-1-al-1o.html [Accessed 13 May 2017].

Can intuition be used as a way of knowing in maths?

Intuition is one of the eight ways of knowing and maths is one of the areas of knowledge. Therefore, bearing this in mind, we can use intuition to gain knowledge in maths. But, is intuition always a liable way of knowing? Let’s have a look at the Monty Hall paradox to answer this question:

Suppose you’re on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, “Do you want to pick door No. 2?” Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

The contestant should switch to the other door in order to have more possibilities of winning. Under the standard assumptions, contestants who switch have a 2/3 chance of winning the car, while contestants who stick to their initial choice have only a 1/3 chance.

The given probabilities depend on specific assumptions about how the host and contestant choose their doors. A key insight is that, under these standard conditions, there is more information about doors 2 and 3 that was not available at the beginning of the game, when the door 1 was chosen by the player: the host’s deliberate action adds value to the door he did not choose to eliminate, but not to the one chosen by the contestant originally. Another insight is that switching doors is a different action than choosing between the two remaining doors at random, as the first action uses the previous information and the latter does not. Other possible behaviors than the one described can reveal different additional information, or none at all, and yield different probabilities.

The problem is a paradox of the veridical type, because the correct result (you should switch doors) is so counterintuitive it can seem absurd, but is nevertheless demonstrably true¹.

In conclusion, intuition is not a liable way of knowing regarding the area of maths as reason can prove it wrong in some cases as the one we have studied. Therefore, we should not use intuition as a way of knowing in maths.

Bibliography:

¹En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Monty Hall problem. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].

Is maths the most certain area of knowledge?

Math is one of the areas of knowledge and the one we are studying at the moment in class, that’s why I have chosen to answer this KQ.

Most things ( I would say all things) in maths can be proven, therefore, uncertainty is limited. Furthermore, mathematics are based on axioms; things that are true.

Other areas of knowledge as the sciences or the arts have changed and are still changing, however, maths stays the same. For instance, let’s take what Eucles said more than two thousand years ago, he has a set of axioms one of which explains how you can calculate the radious of a circle. Even though his axioms were discovered very long ago, they haven’t changed and are still true today.

Nevertheless, this area of knowledge is in constant evolution as are all the rest. What Eucles discovered is still true, regardless, many other axioms have been set since Eucles.

For everything said above, some people may believe that this area of knowledge is the most certain one. Nonetheless, in my point of view I wouldn’t state a range of certainty in the areas of knowledge as there can always be exceptions.

Does math need language to be understood?

Math is one of the areas of knowledge, and because we are studying it at the moment in class, I have decided to write a post on it.

Math is described as the study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols¹. Therefore, as the definition says, maths need numbers and symbols in order to be represented and understood. So, the real question is: are numbers and symbols considered language?

Here are two definitions given by different dictionaries for the word language:

1) The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way².

2) Any set or system of such symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by a number of people, who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another³.

If we only consider the first definition, then we wouldn’t consider symbols and numbers to be part of language. However, if we take the second definition, numbers and symbols are included in language.

Both definitions consider language a method of human communication, and in some way, symbols and numbers are a way of communicating, therefore, we should consider them part of language.

To conclude and in order to anwer this tok question I would say that math needs language to be understood.

Bibliography:

¹TheFreeDictionary.com. (2017). mathematics. [online] Available at: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mathematics [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017].

²Oxford Dictionaries | English. (2017). language – definition of language in English | Oxford Dictionaries. [online] Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/language [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].

³Dictionary.com. (2017). the definition of language. [online] Available at: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/language [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].

How important is it that the artists intention be perceived or understood by the audience?

Art is one of the areas of knowledge and the first one we are studying on our Tok course. Therefore, with the knowledge gained from the lessons I will answer this question.

Artists usually make art with an intention but that intention is not always percived by the audience or in some cases it can be misinterpreted. Depending on the piece of art and the artist,  the importance of the intention will vary.

In some cases the intention is clear and it is very important that it is understood by the audience in order to have the effect desired by the artist. For example Banksy produced in 2004 the piece of art you can see below with the intention of attacking consumerism and capitalism. In this case it is very important that the intention of the piece of art is percived and understood by the audience in order to have the impact it wishes to make.

However, it is not crucially important for the audience to understand other pieces of art which intentions are less clear. For instance, imagine a toddler piece of art. The artist; the toddler, may have no specific intentions but rather he or she just makes art for the fun of it. In this case, for the audience which in this case will probably be a member of his or hers family or someone from school to understand the intention will not be important.

In conclusion, the importance of the artists intention to be understood or perceived by the audience can vary depending on the piece of art or the type of artist. Sometimes to understand the artists intention is crucial but in other cases is not that important.

Should art be beautiful?

Art is one of the areas of knowledge and the first one we are studying in our Tok course; that is the reason why I have decided to answer this knowledge question.

Art is defined by the dictionary as the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. In this definition we can see that art doesn´t necessary have to be beautiful but something that catches our attention.

In my point of view, some people can believe something is art while others don´t agree. For instance, think of a sunset, I personally believe it is art but some people won´t ever consider it a piece of art; they may argue that is something that happens everyday and without importance. Therefore, people can consider something horrible but shocking a piece of art; in other words, art doesn´t have to be beautiful.

The truth is, that in most cases art is beautiful, speacially in ancient times because otherwise that piece wouldn´t be accepted by the population as people related the beautiful with the good.

However, modern art is sometimes very abstract and can be found horrible by some people. Furthermore, toddler art, which can sometimes be confused with modern art can also be not beautiful for some.

In conclusion, as we have seen in many examples, art doesn´t always have to be beautiful although in the mayority of cases it is.

Bibliography:

Anon, (2017). [online] Available at: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/artA [Accessed 19 Feb. 2017].

Should living wills be legalized? To what extent are the ethical?

The living will is a written document that allows people to give instructions in order to be killed when they are terminally ill or permanently unconcious. At the moment, this document is ilegal in the vast mayority of countries; however, it is legal in Belgium, Luxemburg and The Netherlands.

The living will preserves personal control and eases the decisión-making of a family. Nevertheless, who takes the decision of killing the patient when he or she reaches such conditions? It can be very controversial for a family member to take the decision of killing that loved member even if those are his or her wishes.

Furthermore, what do religious people think on this aspect? Most religious people believe life is a present and destroying that present because someone cannot enjoy it might not be the best solution.

On the other hand, people are free and if legalized, nobody would be forced to sign it. In case of legalization, each person will be able to decide whether or not be killed when reaching unwanted conditions.

In my point of view, I think living wills are not ethical and shoudn´t be legalized.

Bibliography:

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Living+Will

To what extent are we influenced by the place we live in?

In the city of Santiago there are more bars than in the whole Norway. Why is this? Is the different type of people the reason for this? Definitely, the people are the reason, in Spain we are more sociable than people in Norway and this is influenced by characteristics of the different places. In Norway the number of hours of light a day during autumn and winter are significantly less than in Spain and this fact makes people stay at home and not socialise with others. Added to this, the weather is also influencial. In Norway it is much colder than in Spain which also makes people stay warmer at home.

If you travel to a country or city in central america or near central america as for example Cuba, Costa Rica or The Dominican Republic, you will easily find out how sociable people in those countries are. In mi point of view, the place they life is a huge factor that determines their personality. In those countries there is no winter or summer, it is hot all year around and such good weather encourages their population to go outside and socialise. Also, the number of hours of daylight is larger compared to countries at the very top of the Northern Hemisphere or at the very south of the Southern Hemisphere.

In conclusion, I believe that people who live in places with good weather and large amounts of daylight are more sociable than those who live in places where the weather is not that good, and which have little hours of daylight in some parts of the year.

Is it ethical to kill someone who has killed?

It has recently  been publushied on the news that the italian police has killed the suspicious from the Berlin attack. 12 people were killed and numerous people were found injured from the attack.

It is true that the person killed was dangerous and could have cause a lot of damage in number of deaths to the population. However, instead of killing him they could have caught him and put him into jail for a long period of time. He has done a horrible crime but in my point of view; no one diserves to be killed.

In conclusión, I don´t think it´s ethical to kill someone who has killed, no matter how many people were killed or if it was a terrible crime. Of course I think those people should go to jail for a long time to learn from their mistakes but nobody in the whole world diserves death.

To what extent are we influenced by our environment?

We live in a world where everything influences the way we act. Adverts are all around us and take part of our evey day life even if you don´t want them to; they are there when you take the bus in the morning, or when you search something on the internet, when you go for a walk or when you watch television. We tend to think they are not influencial but the reality is they do take part on our decision making. For example, when you see a model and how good she looks, instinctly you want to look like her. Another example might be when you are hungry and you see an advert of Burger King, since then you desire that hamburger!

However, not only adverts influence us; people we love and also those we don´t like as much also influence the way we act. You can hate how someone is dressed, but, if the boy or girl you like starts wearing some of those clothes you are going to start liking them or at least you wont hate them any more. Or if your best friend told you to change because she didn´t like what you were wearing, you would change even if you thought you looked georgeous.

In the past people weren´t as influenced by their environment as we are today and in my point of view this is a consequence of social media. Nowadays, we all wear similar clothes and like similar things, we  don´t take as much decisions by ourselves as people did in the past.