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Rejecting Platonism: Recovering Humanity in Mathematics Education

Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020043
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 25 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dispelling Myths about Mathematics)
In this paper, I consider a pervasive myth in mathematics education, that of Plato-formalism. I show that this myth is ahistorical, acultural, and harmful, both for mathematics and for society. I argue that, as teachers, we should reject the myth of Plato-formalism and instead understand mathematics as a human activity. This philosophy humanizes mathematics and implies that math education should be active, cultural, historical, social, and critical—helping students learn formal mathematics, while also learning that mathematics shapes their lives, that this shaping is a result of human work and choices, and that students are empowered to shape those choices. View Full-Text
Keywords: Platonism; formalism; philosophy of mathematics; sociocultural; critical theory Platonism; formalism; philosophy of mathematics; sociocultural; critical theory
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Peck, F.A. Rejecting Platonism: Recovering Humanity in Mathematics Education. Educ. Sci. 2018, 8, 43.

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