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Is Maths Discovered or Invented

  • Date Submitted: 03/22/2010 12:38 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.9 
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TOK TOPIC: Is math discovered or invented?

      I think that before we jump to conclusions or personal thought, we need to know the difference between the meaning of ‘discovered’ and the meaning of ‘invented’.
Discovered: to learn of, find or find out, which means that it already existed.
Invented: to produce or create with some kind of imagination. This means that it did not previously exist and that someone created it.
According to the dictionary math is “the systematic treatment of magnitude, relationships between figures and forms, and relations between quantities expressed symbolically.”

I, personally, am not good in maths and am not a fan of maths, so my answer to this question is: I think it is a little bit of both.

I have been wondering if whether maths was invented and then how to use it was discovered or if it happened the other way around; that maths was invented and how to use it was then invented.
Reading that over and over the again, the second statement makes less sense than the first one. When you think about it, maths never existed before mathematicians, therefore they invented it and later on discovered how it could be used. The confusion however is that maths almost always has a pattern or a regularity, and many formulas or techniques correspond with another, so how could it be invented and have such a close relationship with everything else. Not only does it relate to other equations or systems but maths even relates to colours, shapes, dimensions and so much more. So this makes us wonder how something as such can simply be invented.

On the other point of view: how could maths have been discovered??
For me it is difficult to believe that mathematicians could look at something or think about something and see a whole symbolic or numerical system lying behind everything, and then from that discovery that they invented what such and such formula or system or technique could be used for.

Maths all in all is linked all...


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