International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education

Empiricism, Contigency and Evolutionary Metaphors: Getting Beyond the "Math Wars"
  • Article Type: Research Article
  • International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 2007 - Volume 2 Issue 2, pp. 91-105
  • Published Online: 06 Jul 2007
  • Article Views: 629 | Article Download: 624
  • Open Access Full Text (PDF)
AMA 10th edition
In-text citation: (1), (2), (3), etc.
Reference: Stemhagen K. Empiricism, Contigency and Evolutionary Metaphors: Getting Beyond the "Math Wars". Int Elect J Math Ed. 2007;2(2), 91-105.
APA 6th edition
In-text citation: (Stemhagen, 2007)
Reference: Stemhagen, K. (2007). Empiricism, Contigency and Evolutionary Metaphors: Getting Beyond the "Math Wars". International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 2(2), 91-105.
Chicago
In-text citation: (Stemhagen, 2007)
Reference: Stemhagen, Kurt. "Empiricism, Contigency and Evolutionary Metaphors: Getting Beyond the "Math Wars"". International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education 2007 2 no. 2 (2007): 91-105.
Harvard
In-text citation: (Stemhagen, 2007)
Reference: Stemhagen, K. (2007). Empiricism, Contigency and Evolutionary Metaphors: Getting Beyond the "Math Wars". International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 2(2), pp. 91-105.
MLA
In-text citation: (Stemhagen, 2007)
Reference: Stemhagen, Kurt "Empiricism, Contigency and Evolutionary Metaphors: Getting Beyond the "Math Wars"". International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, vol. 2, no. 2, 2007, pp. 91-105.
Vancouver
In-text citation: (1), (2), (3), etc.
Reference: Stemhagen K. Empiricism, Contigency and Evolutionary Metaphors: Getting Beyond the "Math Wars". Int Elect J Math Ed. 2007;2(2):91-105.

Abstract

This article provides a philosophical conceptualization of mathematics given the particular tasks of its teaching and learning. A central claim is that mathematics is a discipline that has been largely untouched by the Darwinian revolution; it is a last bastion of certainty. Consequently, mathematics educators are forced to draw on overly absolutist or constructivist accounts of the discipline. The resulting “math wars” often impede genuine reform. I suggest adopting an evolutionary metaphor to help explain the epistemology/nature of mathematics. In order to use this evolutionary metaphor to its fullest effect in overcoming the polarization of the math wars, mathematical empiricism is presented as a means of constraint on the development of mathematics. This article sketches what an evolutionary philosophy of mathematics might look like and provides a detailed descriptive account of mathematical empiricism and its potential role in this novel way of thinking about mathematical enterprises.

References

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License

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.