From philosophical to mathematical inquiry in the classroom

Childhood and Philosophy 3 (6):289-311 (2007)

This paper discusses some major similarities and differences between community of philosophical inquiry and community of mathematical inquiry , and offers a few examples of the implementation of CMI in the context of a school mathematics classroom. Three modes of CMI are suggested. The first mode facilitates inquiry into mathematical problems - that is, it provides a medium for “doing and talking mathematics.” In this case, CMI is primarily an avenue for problem solving—defining problems, interpreting them, working with different methods to solve them, reflecting on suggested alternative methods, verifying solutions, and drawing conclusions. The second mode leads us to “talk about mathematics” through collaborative inquiry into mathematical concepts such as axioms, theorems, algorithms, infinity, and the posing of philosophical questions that concern mathematics as a system--particular structures and rules and their relation to human experience. The third mode makes use of CMI for meta-inquiry into our collective experience in “doing and talking mathematics” and “talking about mathematics,” and may be characterized as “talking about doing mathematics.”
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