# A categorization of the “whys” and “hows” of using history in mathematics education

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## Abstract

This is a theoretical article proposing a way of organizing and structuring the discussion of why and how to use the history of mathematics in the teaching and learning of mathematics, as well as the interrelations between the arguments for using history and the approaches to doing so. The way of going about this is to propose two sets of categories in which to place the arguments for using history (the “whys”) and the different approaches to doing this (the “hows”). The arguments for using history are divided into two categories; history as a tool and history as a goal. The ways of using history are placed into three categories of approaches: the illumination, the modules, and the history-based approaches. This categorization, along with a discussion of the motivation for using history being one concerned with either the inner issues (in-issues) or the metaperspective issues (meta-issues) of mathematics, provides a means of ordering the discussion of “whys” and “hows.”

## Keywords

Using history in mathematics education Whys and hows History as a tool, history as a goal Indispensability of arguments In-issues and meta-issues Illumination, modules, and history-based approaches Genetic principle## Notes

### Acknowledgements

I would especially like to thank Mogens Niss, who provided me with the basic idea for this article. Also thanks to Tinne Hoff Kjeldsen, Man-Keung Siu, Jan van Maanen, and Abraham Arcavi for fruitful discussions. Thanks as well to the editor and the anonymous ESM reviewers for constructive revision. Thanks to Merete Carlsen and Jørgen Larsen for linguistic and technical assistance respectively, and thanks to Imajean Gray^{†} for proofreading.

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