This article provides a philosophical conceptualization of mathematics given the particular tasks of its teaching and learning. A central claim is that mathematics is a discipline that has been largely untouched by the Darwinian revolution; it is a last bastion of certainty. Consequently, mathematics educators are forced to draw on overly absolutist or constructivist accounts of the discipline. The resulting “math wars” often impede genuine reform. I suggest adopting an evolutionary metaphor to help explain the epistemology/nature of mathematics. In order to use this evolutionary metaphor to its fullest effect in overcoming the polarization of the math wars, mathematical empiricism is presented as a means of constraint on the development of mathematics. This article sketches what an evolutionary philosophy of mathematics might look like and provides a detailed descriptive account of mathematical empiricism and its potential role in this novel way of thinking about mathematical enterprises.
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Article Type: Research Article
INT ELECT J MATH ED, 2007, Volume 2, Issue 2, 91-105
Publication date: 06 Jul 2007
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