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Drawing Conclusions: Ethics And Mathematics Essay

1289 words - 5 pages

When I was in my 1st year of high school, I decided to join the Debate Team of my school because it was one of the extra-curricular activities that really intrigued me. Being a new member, a lot of the methods the veterans of the team used in their speeches surprised me. Before, I thought that debate mostly involved insulting one’s opponent and making him seem stupid. However, I was proven very wrong as that not only fail to provide any substantial argument that would prove any point, but was also banned and could lead to a loss. Most of the topics, which were called motions, were ethical in nature, and through the use of rational premises and arguments, each team should support a side to prove their point. It resembled how we proved certain propositions in Math class when we used postulates and theories. The similarity led me to wonder if the step-by-step method we use to reach a conclusion in math can be used in the topics we discuss in the Debate Team. This leads me to my thesis statement: the nature of Ethics and Mathematics must be changed for both to be compatible.
Reason is used most, if not all the time to formulate valid arguments and to prove points using logic. It allows people to understand and form judgments about certain topics. In mathematics, this is used extensively as all math propositions are proven using theorems and postulates as the arguments until a conclusion is formulated. The other ways of knowing don’t feature as prominently in this area of knowledge.
Ethics also involves reason substantially. When two sides in an ethical argument debate a topic, their reasons frequently try to appeal to reason by including ethical issues, concepts, consequences, and implications in their arguments.
However, when deciding on ethical issues, rational arguments are sometimes not convincing enough for people to change their moral stances because some people already have certain dispositions or biases arising from their culture, beliefs, principles or religion. Of course, they would also have rational counter-claims of their own, but one of the biggest factors that attracts people to a stance is their emotion, which includes their ability to empathize with people affected by a certain issue, typical feelings such as disgust, and their faiths, beliefs and religion. For example, in the issue regarding gay marriage, some Christians groups are assert that marriage must only be between a man and a woman, citing Bible verses that supposedly say so. This claim is not only emotionally-motivated, but it is also a fallacious argument.
In mathematics, on the other hand, emotion’s involvement can be questioned. To what extent is it really involved in mathematics? After all, reason is the way of knowing that proves or disproves propositions and theories. When a person makes a claim in mathematics, its acceptance would depend on whether it’s well-proven rationally or not, not on how one feels.
However, an important element of Mathematics –...

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