NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ882222
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 65
ISSN: ISSN-1062-9017
Why Not Philosophy? Problematizing the Philosophy of Mathematics in a Time of Curriculum Reform
White-Fredette, Kimberly
Mathematics Educator, v19 n2 p21-31 2009-2010
This article argues that, as teachers struggle to implement curriculum reform in mathematics, an explicit discussion of philosophy of mathematics is missing from the conversation. Building on the work of Ernest (1988, 1991, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2004), Lerman (1990, 1998, 1999), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1989, 1991, 2000), Davis and Hersh (1981), Hersh (1997), Lakatos (1945/1976), Kitcher (1984), and others, the author draws parallels between social constructivism and a humanism philosophy of mathematics. While practicing mathematicians may be entrenched in a traditional, Platonic philosophy of mathematics, and mathematics education researchers have embraced the fallibilist, humanist philosophy of mathematics (Sfard, 1998), the teachers of school mathematics are caught somewhere in the middle. Mathematics teachers too often hold true to the traditional view of mathematics as an absolute truth independent of human subjectivity. At the same time, they are pushed to teach mathematics as a social construction, an activity that makes sense only through its usefulness. Given these dichotomous views of mathematics, without an explicit conversation about and exploration of the philosophy of mathematics, reform in the teaching and learning of mathematics may be certain to fail. (Contains 2 endnotes.)
Mathematics Education Student Association, University of Georgia. 105 Aderhold Hall, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-4194; Fax: 706-542-4551; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A