Mathematizing as a virtuous practice: different narratives and their consequences for mathematics education and society

Synthese 199 (1-2):3405-3429 (2020)

Abstract

There are different narratives on mathematics as part of our world, some of which are more appropriate than others. Such narratives might be of the form ‘Mathematics is useful’, ‘Mathematics is beautiful’, or ‘Mathematicians aim at theorem-credit’. These narratives play a crucial role in mathematics education and in society as they are influencing people’s willingness to engage with the subject or the way they interpret mathematical results in relation to real-world questions; the latter yielding important normative considerations. Our strategy is to frame current narratives of mathematics from a virtue-theoretic perspective. We identify the practice of mathematizing, put forward by Freudenthal’s ‘Realistic mathematics education’, as virtuous and use it to evaluate different narratives. We show that this can help to render the narratives more adequately, and to provide implications for societal organization.

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Author Profiles

Deborah Kant
Universität Konstanz
Deniz Sarikaya
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

References found in this work

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Three Kinds of Idealization.Michael Weisberg - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (12):639-659.
Galilean Idealization.Ernan McMullin - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247.
Saving the Phenomena.James Bogen & James Woodward - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (3):303-352.

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