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Re: Math And Humans.

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Posted by Benjamin Nelson on February 28, 2001 02:52:40 UTC


To claim that the paramount goal of teaching science is to convey the "nonsubjectivity of mathematics" is to make the same formalistic mistake as to claim that the main goal of reading instruction is to teach "reading strategies." One might just as well argue that because the details of constitutional law can be understood only by legal experts, it's not necessary for laypersons to know anything about the constitution. Yet if we understand broad issues of national law, we can make broad judgments on the basis of that elementary knowledge. With this in mind, we should require that not only ordinary people be mathematically literate, but that mathematicians master the nonscientific literate culture. And to explain the implications of their work to others, experts must be aware of the shared associations in our literate vocabulary and be able to build analogies on those associations.

B. L. Nelson

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