Mathematical Inquiry

28 July - 10 August 2018

In LTs 1–4, Reading A explored several tools of inquiry: observing, introspecting, reporting the outcomes of observing or introspecting, classifying and generalizing our observations. In LT 5, Reading A adds another tool of inquiry to our kit, namely, defining (Reading A). Combinations of these tools are needed across different forms of inquiry.

In all these LTs, Reading B explores modes of inquiry. Thus, while Reading B supplements Reading A in some sense, it should also be seen as a stand-alone introduction to a mode of inquiry. Reading B in LTs 2 and 3 introduce Observational Inquiry, including Correlation and Causation. In LT 4, it introduces us briefly to some differences between Mathematical and Scientific Inquiries.

Reading B in LT 5 delves a bit deeper into Mathematical Inquiry. While it talks about axioms, definitions, conjectures, and proofs, its focus is on defining, and unearthing the logical consequences of definitions, thus not only supplementing but also going beyond Reading A.

We will continue with Mathematical Inquiry in LT 6 (Reading B), and then proceed to Theoretical Scientific Inquiry.

Part 1 [on LT5-Reading A]

The LT5-Reading A: “Defining”  is Chapters 5 of the book Introduction to Rational Inquiry.

Read the chapter. Reflect on what it says about defining and the place of definitions in academic inquiry. In engaging with the reading, keep in mind the following questions:

  • How are the ideas of defining and of definitions related to the tools of inquiry we have seen so far?
  • Are there parts that you think we need to clarify further?

Make a note of your thoughts and questions.

Part II [Video-6 (set of 4 parts), and LT5-Reading B]

Read  LT5-Reading B: “Mathematical Inquiry: Part 1

Watch Parts 1, 2A, 2B, and 3A of the set of 8 videos ( series) on Mathematical Inquiry here, which supplement Reading B.


Reflect on the following question, and discuss your thoughts with others:

How are the videos and readings related to what we covered in LT 1-4?


At the end of the week, on August 4, you will receive Quiz 5.

The Quiz is to be completed online by August 6.

Further details for submission will be given as part of the Quiz.