The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Topic: Some reasons why people should NOT study math
Replies: 0  

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List  
GS Chandy

Posts: 7,980
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Some reasons why people should NOT study math
Posted: Apr 27, 2014 4:52 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Some of the following may actually be very sound reasons why people SHOULD study math.

According to Morris Kline in "Mathematics for the Nonmathematician" (

St. Augustine had laid down the following commandment for all good Christians:

"The good Christian then should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell".

There were others too who had similar low opinions about mathematics, for instance (as suggested by Kline):
QUOTE (from Morris Kline):
...Roman jurists (had) ruled, under the 'Code of Mathematicians and Evil-Doers' "to learn the art of geometry and to take part in public exercises, an art as damnable as mathematics, are forbidden".

We know that even such a truly great mathematician as Blaise Pascal, in the grip of 'religiosity', often damned mathematics though he always loved its beauty.

The great philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer is said to have utterly despised mathematics and had said many nasty things about it, for instance that arithmetic is 'the lowest activity of the spirit'.

On the other hand, there have been truly deep thinkers like philosopher-scientist Francis Bacon (for instance), who is reported to have said:

"In mathematics I can report no deficience, except it be that men do not sufficiently understand the excellent use of the Pure Mathematics". (This has also been attributed to a much earlier philosopher, Roger Bacon).

And yet, in our own times, we have famous 'educators in math' who have claimed that:

"Children must be PUSHED (or GOADED) to learn math!" (and doubtless everything else).

We conclude that it is not necessarily much easier nowadays than it used to be centuries ago to understand the subtle truth about mathematics and how it should be learned (or taught).

("Still Shoveling! Not PUSHING!! Not GOADING!!!")

Message was edited by: GS Chandy

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2017. All Rights Reserved.