Object 1: Example of a mathematical axiom from maths class

May 27, 2021


The prompt I’ve selected is “Who owns knowledge” I interpret this question to mean, “Who has control of knowledge and it’s dissemination” and “Who comes up with knowledge”. In this exhibition I will be investigating this prompt and attempting to answer these questions by exploring the ways in which figures of authority are able to determine what people know, how knowledge is derived and what constitutes ‘knowing’.

Axioms are statements or propositions which are regarded as being self- evidently true. Much of maths relies on axioms which are accepted so that mathematical discovery can be furthered. This axiom was taken from an in- class maths question about Integration. The question states that for a given function f(x), when x=0 and x=6 the answer will always be 5.

One way in which this object enriches this exhibition is by illustrating that knowledge is not always derived from understanding as shown by my peers and I who were able to solve the maths question despite not entirely understanding what the axiom required to solve it meant. Whilst my peers and I were able to solve this problem and attain knowledge on how to solve it, we

do not own the knowledge provided by the question as this stems from more than just the methodical knowledge required to solve it. The knowledge of the question also includes the knowledge of how the question was derived which is why the only people who own the knowledge of these questions are mathematicians like Euclid who formulate the questions themselves.

Another way this object adds to my exhibition is by illustrating that there are different types of knowledge, none of which are necessarily better or more valid than the others. Since there are different types of knowledge it means that there can also be different owners of knowledge. Mathematicians may own the theoretical knowledge of the question while students who solve the question can own the methodical knowledge. There doesn’t have to be a single owner of knowledge because each type of knowledge is unique.

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