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Topic: What Is Mathematics For?
Replies: 33   Last Post: May 4, 2010 9:31 AM

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Haim

Posts: 8,381
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Posted: Apr 25, 2010 8:42 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Domenico Rosa Posted: Apr 25, 2010 9:35 AM

>The truly superb article, "What Is Mathematics For?," by
>Underwood Duddley has been published in the May 2010
>issue of the AMS Notices.
>
>http://www.ams.org/notices/201005/rtx100500608p.pdf


It is always gratifying when an author cites truth, but this article is, on the whole, preposterous. Sad to say.

At first, I was thrilled to read Dudley's comments about the real, practical need for mathematics: quite minimal. But then, he goes on and on about how the learning of algebra trains the mind. This is the excuse made for every discipline that has few practical uses.

For example, for many years after Latin ceased being the lingua franca of scholarship and international relations, students were made to study latin because,

http://books.google.com/books?id=kblgelIEWc0C&pg=PA189&lpg=PA189&dq=latin+trains+mind&source=bl&ots=fthfvsV7je&sig=2c8NW-NyTSUFwLArMp7tb62V1iQ&hl=en&ei=p9zUS7arO8WqlAez0oHtDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=latin%20trains%20mind&f=false
"Latin trains the mind to think in an orderly fashion"

and

http://www.memoriapress.com/articles/apology-latin-math.html
"Latin and math develop the mind in ways other subjects do not."

One has only to spend a little time in a debate forum frequented by mathematicians and math educators to see the obvious inanity of this notion.

Dudley is at his most absurd when he asserts,

>The public wants more mathematics taught, to more
>students. The requirements keep going up, never down.
>
>The reason for this, I am convinced, is that the public
>knows, or senses, that mathematics develops the power to
>reason.


Well, it may be perfectly true that (a) the public wants more mathematics taught, and (b) the public senses that mathematics develops the power to reason. But, "the public" believes all sorts of things that "ain't so".

Furthermore, I remain skeptical that "the public" really does want more mathematics taught. It is well known that people tend to give politically correct answers to poll takers, and the self-serving propaganda for the teaching of ever more mathematics has been relentless for decades.

Haim
Keep The Change


Date Subject Author
4/25/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Haim
4/27/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Jonathan Groves
4/27/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Haim
4/27/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
kirby urner
4/27/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
kirby urner
4/27/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Domenico Rosa
4/27/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Haim
4/28/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Jonathan Groves
4/28/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Haim
4/28/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Jonathan Groves
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Pam
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Domenico Rosa
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Robert Hansen
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Robert Hansen
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Jonathan Groves
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Pam
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Haim
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Robert Hansen
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Jonathan Groves
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Robert Hansen
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Paul A. Tanner III
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Haim
4/30/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Joe Niederberger
4/29/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Haim
4/30/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Pam
4/30/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Robert Hansen
4/30/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Jonathan Groves
4/30/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Jonathan Groves
4/30/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Robert Hansen
4/30/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Haim
5/1/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Paul A. Tanner III
5/1/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
Haim
5/4/10
Read Re: What Is Mathematics For?
GS Chandy

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