**ERIC Number:**EJ882222

**Record Type:**Journal

**Publication Date:**2010

**Pages:**11

**Abstractor:**As Provided

**Reference Count:**65

**ISBN:**N/A

**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.)

Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education, Mathematics Education, Role of Education, Constructivism (Learning), Curriculum Development, Educational Philosophy, Educational Change, Mathematics Teachers

Mathematics Education Student Association, University of Georgia. 105 Aderhold Hall, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-4194; Fax: 706-542-4551; e-mail: mesaprez@gmail.com; Web site: http://math.coe.uga.edu/Mesa/MESA.html

**Publication Type:**Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative

**Education Level:**Elementary Secondary Education

**Audience:**N/A

**Language:**English

**Sponsor:**N/A

**Authoring Institution:**N/A