The NCTM Standards and the Philosophy of Mathematics

Studies in Philosophy and Education 16 (3):317-330 (1997)
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It is argued that the philosophical and epistemological beliefs about the nature of mathematics have a significant influence on the way mathematics is taught at school. In this paper, the philosophy of mathematics of the NCTM's Standards is investigated by examining is explicit assumptions regarding the teaching and learning of school mathematics. The main conceptual tool used for this purpose is the model of two dichotomous philosophies of mathematics-absolutist versus- fallibilist and their relation to mathematics pedagogy. The main conclusion is that a fallibilist view of mathematics is assumed in the Standards and that most of its pedagogical assumptions and approaches are based on this philosophy



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