In IB TOK, can Maths claim ultimate knowledge of reality?

The relationship between maths and the universe is a fascinating one.  Can mathematicians claim ultimate knowledge of reality?

Professor Max Tegmark  a cosmologist from the Department of Physics, MIT, claims that reality is a mathematical structure in this clip from Horizon: What is Reality? Broadcast on UK TV (BBC2) on January 18th 2011, he gives examples of how Maths can describe what is going on in the universe.

He comments, ‘Maths doesn’t just describe our universe. Our universe is a giant mathematical structure that we are part of.’ The implication of this is that maths is not so much invented by us, but something ‘out there’ to be discovered and that ‘everything in principle is understandable to us and we will only be limited by our imagination.’

You can find out more about Max Tegmark and his knowledge claims at:



A number of knowledge questions arise from this video clip including:

1. Can TOK Maths genuinely claim ultimate knowledge of reality?

2. What implications do these knowledge claims about maths have for other areas of knowledge?

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