# Rejecting Platonism: Recovering Humanity in Mathematics Education

## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

[W]hen two dinosaurs met two dinosaurs there were four dinosaurs. In this prehistoric tableau “2 + 2 = 4” was accurately modeled by the beasts, even though they were too stupid to know it and even though no humans were there to observe it.

## 2. The Plato-Formalist Philosophy

## 3. Plato-Formalism Is a Myth

## 4. The Consequences of Plato-Formalism on Mathematics Education and Society

Each standard and each category valorizes some point of view and silences another. This is not inherently a bad thing—indeed it is inescapable. But it is an ethical choice, and as such it is dangerous—not bad, but dangerous.[21] (pp. 5–6)

## 5. Mathematics Is a Human Activity

## 6. Significance for Math Educators

#### 6.1. Active

#### 6.2. Cultural

If we ascribe to individual minds in isolation the properties of systems that are actually composed of individuals manipulating systems of cultural artifacts, then we have attributed to individual minds a process that they do not necessarily have.[78]

#### 6.3. Historical

#### 6.4. Critical

#### 6.5. Social

What is important in teaching–learning mathematics is not really to become a good problem solver. Although knowing how to solve problems in a technical sense may be an important goal, more important, I think, is the range of possibilities that mathematics offers to our students to live it as a social, historical, cultural, and esthetic experience. But to be truly meaningful, this experience has to occur in the public space of words, deeds and actions—in the polis, that is to say, the organized space of the people “as it arises out of acting and speaking together”.(Arendt, 1958b, p. 198) [79] (p. 111)

## 7. Conclusions

Most of the population perceive mathematics as a fixed body of knowledge long set into final form. Its subject matter is the manipulation of numbers and the proving of geometrical deductions. It is a cold and austere discipline which provides no scope for judgment or creativity.(quoted in [96], p. 432)

## Acknowledgments

## Conflicts of Interest

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Peck, F.A.
Rejecting Platonism: Recovering Humanity in Mathematics Education. *Educ. Sci.* **2018**, *8*, 43.
https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020043

**AMA Style**

Peck FA.
Rejecting Platonism: Recovering Humanity in Mathematics Education. *Education Sciences*. 2018; 8(2):43.
https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020043

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Peck, Frederick A.
2018. "Rejecting Platonism: Recovering Humanity in Mathematics Education" *Education Sciences* 8, no. 2: 43.
https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020043