Peirce’s Philosophy of Mathematical Education: Fostering Reasoning Abilities for Mathematical Inquiry

Studies in Philosophy and Education 29 (5):421-439 (2010)
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Abstract

I articulate Charles S. Peirce’s philosophy of mathematical education as related to his conception of mathematics, the nature of its method of inquiry, and especially, the reasoning abilities required for mathematical inquiry. The main thesis is that Peirce’s philosophy of mathematical education primarily aims at fostering the development of the students’ semeiotic abilities of imagination, concentration, and generalization required for conducting mathematical inquiry by way of experimentation upon diagrams. This involves an emphasis on the relation between theory and practice and between mathematics and other fields including the arts and sciences. For achieving its goals, the article is divided in three sections. First, I expound Peirce’s philosophical account of mathematical reasoning. Second, I illustrate this account by way of a geometrical example, placing special emphasis on its relation to mathematical education. Finally, I put forth some Peircean philosophical principles for mathematical education.

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Daniel G. Campos
Brooklyn College

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